Lemon (Fiction)

It’s time to go work, a job he keeps out of necessity. The girls, his niece’s are gathered around a fifteen year old car that belongs to the oldest.

“Hey kids” He yells in a stupid character voice – shit like that used to amuse them, but now the three are young adults.  They all respond one after the other sounding annoyed but still with a hint love “hi” “hey” “hi.”

Sad that his nieces don’t have much to do with him now he tries anyway “I’m off to work, what you girls up to? Something wrong with the car?” They stop talking and turn to look at their aging uncle. The oldest answers “just talking, the car is fine.” The youngest says softly “he probably wants a ride.” The middle aged girl reacts with a gesture and body posture; she’s annoyed. He realizes he interrupted something important to them so he adjusts his back pack and continues down the driveway.

Just before getting to the sidewalk he hears what could be a jet only it’s on the ground and getting closer. He stops, turns around and sees a strange car pull up. It resembles and ancient formula one race car only this thing seats four, each passeneger in their own cockpit.

Two of his nieces are sisters, the person driving is their father.  Rodrigo doesn’t think much of him, he cheated on their mother, his sister, and more than once. He left her after his last girlfriend got pregnant with his son.  Did his sister a favor, he wasn’t worth the heartache. Not so bright this guy and a total mama’s boy.  After greeting the girls he revs the engine a few times before letting it idle.  It sounds good, and with the sound still humming in his head Rodrigo remembers when and why he started to lose respect for his ex brother in-law.

When the girls were toddlers Rodrigo and their father were playing a video game on the console.  The girls were all laughs happy in the company of their father and at that time their favorite uncle.  They got to chasing each other in and out of the room and between the television and Rodrigo.

It was their father’s turn and he was losing the round. Frustrated, he yells at them to settle down. They stop for about a minute then continue with the game of tag, this time running between their father and the tv. His game character gets taken out and causes his team to lose the match. Round two begins. He’s off to a good start, has five kills and no deaths.  Here come the girls laughing and now with screams of joy. They run across blocking their father’s view just as he was about to get another kill, he misses, the other gamer fires, their dad is down. His character respawns. He charges forward and again the girls interupt and his character dies. There is still time left in the match, his character is back and just as he controls him into position the girls run across. He shouts at them “SHUT THE FUCK UP! CAN’T YOU SEE I’M PLAYING A GAME!” They stop running, their little faces now frowning holding back tears. “Go down stairs, and chase each other all you want, tell your mom to get you a snack.” Rodrigo says to them with a smile.  With the sadness still in their eyes they both grin as the youngest closes the door behind her.  Rodrigo can still here their little hand rail guided steps down the stair case.

“Hey girls!” he the cheat yells over the engine. In unison his daughters reply “hey dad.” His once, niece a simple “hey.”

He offers them all a ride.  They agree and jump in, each in their on own compartment.  Rodrigo watches as the cheat revs the engine then looks down at the dashboard and from the way he moves his arm it looks like he hit a switch and pushed and pulled on a couple of levers.

The car starts to change form.  All three girls giggle as the shape shifting bounces them around. From a low to the ground wide racing style the car turns tall and narrow looking like an old locomotive from 2001 or so.  They take off, loud and fast. He makes a right at the end of the street and again the engine roars on the other side ot the block.

He pulls up in front of the house and tells the girls on the passenger side row to stay seated and still.  After a number of pushes and pulls of a few levers and buttons the vehicle begins to rumble. A line shows up down the entire center of the car and it splits in half. Now it’s two. Two separate vehicles. Not motorcycles but two two-wheeled cars. Each kept upright by the wide tires and certainly some sort of balancing mechanism.  The cousin wide eyed and a little freaked out looks over at Rodrigo and lets out a “oh shit!” The oldest yells at her father “what do we do!?” He replies “just wait!”

Now the father and his youngest are in the first half and the oldest daughter and her cousin are in the second half. He revs the engine to the first half. The second car seems to react: its idle getting louder but not as potent as the first half.  The father rebuilt it but failed to realize that the second half has a drone feature that should have been disabled. He probably didn’t read the entire manual, skipped the pages that didnt have illustrations.  He burns rubber, the front end lifts off the ground and they take off. Zero to sixty in 4 seconds, easy. They get to the end of the street and the second car starts to rev louder. It starts to move, reving louder and louder. The girls are freaking out. The oldest in the front cockpit looking down at the dash board begins to mess with the buttons and levers. She hits a button and the thing roars and burns rubber. She yells “shit!” Her cousin screams “what the fuck!” The rear diappears into a cloud of smoke. Both of them screaming! Rodrigo drops his back pack to try to help but just as he starts after them the front end leaves the ground and it takes off! With only the rear wheel on the ground it starts to sway side to side as it rolls, no one is steering! Suddenly it makes a sharp left, bounces onto the sidewalk then makes another sharp left and breaks through a wall that divides two neighbors. It gets stuck. The engine is still running and the rear wheel is still going but the wall under it is keeping it off the ground. 

Rodrigo gets to them “girls okay?!” The cousin yells “Im good!” The sister half crying half pissed off “piece of shit almost killed us, lets get out!” Rodrigo holds the front end down so the rear doesn’t grab ground as they jump out. The sisters’s dad pulls up, leaves his youngest in the half car and runs to the wreck. He yells “what the hell did you do!? I spent months rebuilding it! Months!” The oldest stares her father down and says “Im staying here today. Jerk.” Rodrigo runs up to them “sure you girls are okay?” Both answer yes. “Okay, I’m taking off.” They say “bye.”

The cheat turns the half car off and gets on his cell phone. He speaks to someone about getting the car off the wall. His youngest walks up to him “can’t believe you care more about your stupid car than my sister and cousin, I’m staying home.” Rodrigo already heading to his job crosses paths with her, hugs her and says goodbye. Looking back towards the wreck he shakes his head and says out loud “just like his car, a lemon.”