Episode IV - The Unsuccessful Escape

As I mentioned, there are certain rare moments where one knows exactly – with all certainty, beyond a shadow of a doubt – due to eternal recurrence or déjà vu or whatever you want to call it what is going to happen or what a person was meant to do. Like I said about the Doctor earlier – all of us knew that he would be Doctor no matter what, because he was our once and future Doctor. But even in that moment, when everyone is so certain, there’s always that seed of doubt about that intuition. A butterfly could flap its wings in Brazil; a second could be missed in an odd spot; all of which could change that person’s life irrevocably.

That moment never happened with the Doctor as you can see by his moniker here. But if it had, it was equally clear what his second vocation in life would be. He would be the best getaway driver for any criminal action, second only to one. That person he would be second to would be me, but that’s another story for another day. I place such superlative praise at the Doctor’s feet, because as we were escaping in every literal sense of the word, he was driving in such an innate and fantastic manner to place all other criminal getaway drivers to shame.

You may think at this point that I boast needlessly of his skills. I, however, have my reasons. The first is simple. The Doctor was driving his light pickup with Biscuit, Cracker, and I in the back. We were being pursued most ruthlessly by a pseudo-brute in his own pickup. The reason should therefore be apparent. The Doctor did not kill; nor throw any of us from the bed while we squealed and caromed around surface street corners; we were as safe in the bed of the truck as if we were being operated on; not any easy task, as the laws of physics constantly wanted to maim and destroy our very fickle lives. Second reason: the Doctor did not cause any accidents, nor grossly endanger any other lives in this reckless chase; instead he threaded through intersections and traffic deftly. And these were the reasons that he would have been a great getaway driver, should his life have changed.

The chase is thus described easily. We darted across empty streets; skulked in parking lots; swerved between cars, and short of discharging chaff, took every evasive tactic available within the bounds of reason. We could not lose our pursuer. He was a perverse ogre that tracked our moves through the area uncannily. Every time we seemed to have lost him, he would appear evilly, blowing his horn and waiving his fist. In desperation, the Doctor drove us up a residential neighborhood by my house. From my supine position in the back, arms gripping paint like Atlas grips the earth, the trees whipping by looked familiar.

I dared to raise my head. Unfortunately, I should have looked sooner. I saw the street sign of a known dead end vanishing behind us. I pounded on the cab for the Doctor to turn us around. It was futile. Our intrepid and enraged enemy had followed us yet again, as if we had left a trail of blood. And this is why, despite all of his other abilities; the Doctor would always be the second best getaway driver. With wheels screaming, the ogre turned his car sideways to block our egress. The Doctor had unwittingly trapped us like rats.

There was a slight pause. It seemed that we couldn’t pass our pursuer’s truck, a red truck. At least without ramming it, I mused. This slight pause was soon broken. The ogre in the truck leaped out, slamming the door, and screaming such a hideous flood of oaths that my ears burned. Granted, we had injured him – albeit slightly by hitting his windshield with a water balloon. In retrospect – all five of us – the Doctor, Mr. Hush, Biscuit, Cracker, and I could easily have taken him. It would have been an ugly fight, with limbs and bodies being cast about like leaves, but in the end, we would have won.

It was his raw primal wrath that frightened us as he approached. That and his freakishly keen pursuit of us even though we had barely injured him. As his oaths ceased as he neared the door of the Doctor, I looked at him. He was wearing the uniform of a kid’s little league umpire. He was just an ordinary guy. I began to wonder if we might just be able to smooth things over with a contrite apology. As he saw the Doctor and the rest of us, it became clear that his silence was just him catching his breath.

His anger roiled at us again. I’m not going to repeat what he said, because it was unflattering. It was slanderous. It was some of the worst language I’ve ever heard. Suffice to say, he started with “Goddamn punks!” and went on from there to question our parentage, heritage, and everything else with chest heaving and spittle flying. We were cowed by this display – remember – none of us had ever; and I mean ever been in any sort of trouble. We apologized brokenly over, as if he would leave like a bad dream.

His torrent of fury had just begun, because he began to pace frantically around the car, which none of us had left. Finally, he reached at the Doctor through the car window, as if he would drag him out. The critical mass had been reached. I didn’t know what he would do with the Doctor if he dragged him out, but I knew that it would be bad. I made as if to step out of the bed with Biscuit and Cracker, and he backed off. Then inspiration struck his Neanderthal features. He howled that one of these houses on the dead end must be our residences. We watched stunned as he ran to a door and began accosting people about us. Fortunately, no one had any idea who we were.

It was at this point that we seized our opportunity. We had apologized – and at that point we really were very regretful for our actions. All of us prevailed upon the Doctor to make haste with the automobile, to go up and over the nearest curb, and around the impediments in our path, and leave the distracted ogre while we could. It was brilliant. He watched us, slack-jawed on a lawn as we navigated around his truck. Then the roar erupted as he ran, in a lumbering fashion after us, not menacing in any way, and then, he was gone.

Cheers rang out in the bed between the three of us, until we glanced up and saw the Doctor’s panicked expression, and noticed that we were pulling over mere blocks away from the Ogre. I looked up to see the relentless ticking of police lights behind us. Mechanically, we heard the amplified voice state to us to turn off the truck and exit the car. Woodenly, we all walked over to the curb next to the truck. Minutes passed. Finally, I had the nerve to look and see why the Police hadn’t approached us. The “cruiser” that was attached to the lights was painted all white. The hood had the words “V.P.” stenciled on it. And behind the windshield, two very old men sat staring at us.

“You pulled over for the Volunteer Patrol?” I hissed at the Doctor. He merely shrugged. The others insisted that we leave, since the “VP” were not real cops. The Doctor pointed out in calm, unflinching logic that they now had his plates and further flight was ludicrous to say the least. So we waited. We waited the longest time, on the side of the road, sitting on a curb in a quiet suburban neighborhood on a Sunday morning. We waited for the real Police to come and arrest us. It was ridiculous.

Ridiculous or not, the Police eventually came much later – conservatively, I’d say half an hour later. Before that, the Ogre had found us – we hadn’t exactly made it far from him on our last escape, and was berating the VP with his howls, which had brought some of the citizenry out to watch the situation. The Police arrived, in a real cruiser, and first dispersed the crowd, such as it was. After having a muted conversation with the Senior Citizens, they began to walk toward the five of us. I muttered to the Doctor under my breath that the situation was very bad, the first words any of us had stated for a long time. His reply made any confidence I had left flee like a real fugitive: “Yeah, this is bad. And you know what? I just realized five minutes ago that I don’t have my license on me.”