The Adventures of Tracy and James Chapter 1: Open the Glove Box

Zach Lewis

“You want me to get into the car now?” James asks. He’s on the sidewalk looking at the endless parade of vehicles. He commutes to school and to save money and make friends he decides to give carpooling a chance.  

“Yeah, jump in, it’s all good,” Tracy responds. James sees her red Tesla rumbling as much as an electric car can rumble. Tracy and James met last semester and bonded over their mutual disdain for eating meat. James swings his messenger bag in front of him and slides inside and slams the door.  

“Why so slammy?” Tracy asks.  

“I’m sorry, I just, I feel weird getting into a car in the middle of the street,” James says.  

“It’s not against the law officer ‘I know the rules of everything,’” Tracy replies. 

“I guess not but I don’t like it,” James says.  

“Badge number ‘forever a loser,’” Tracy laughs and then asks, “is there anyone behind us?”  

“We’re in the middle of rush hour, Tracy, everyone’s behind us and in front of us.”  

“Just act cool.” Tracy looks James up and down, noticing a coffee stain and crumbs from a sugar cookie on the lapel of his jean jacket. “If you can.”  

“What’s that supposed to mean, I’m cool, not that I care what you think, and yeah I spilt some coffee. A squirrel popped out behind a trashcan in front of the library and I was startled. It looked angry, liked the world had wronged it. They’re bigger than cats those things and,” James stops talking and takes off his aviator sunglasses. “Are you driving on the sidewalk?” James asks.  

“Look behind you, genius,” Tracy responds. James notices 10 large burlap and canvas bags. Each bag overflowing with American currency in denominations of twenties and fifties.  

“Tracy, why do you have giant sacks of money in the back of your car? Can your Prius even handle the weight?” James asks.  

“Calm down,” Tracy says. “It’s not a Prius, it’s a Tesla. Also, I robbed a bank.”  

“I am calm,” James responds. “I’m just wondering why and how you decided to rob what appears to be a bank from the 1850s. And did you draw money signs on the bag?”  

“What I did or didn’t do isn’t important.”  

“You drew dollar bill signs on the bags you weirdo,” James says as the screech of sirens screams toward their direction. “This is why you asked if there was anyone behind us. Watch out for the people!” Tracy swerves onto the grass and back onto the sidewalk.  

“Look both ways people! Both ways! So,” Tracy clears her throat and takes a sip from a straw that’s lounging inside a glass Mexican Coke bottle and asks, “how was chemistry class?”  

“It went well except that one kid in class who always asks 50 questions like, ‘What day did God create the lanthanides?’ Or, ‘I have lye on my skin, why is it burning?’ He kept trying to ‘learn’ so we only got out at the normal time. I noticed you weren’t in class today,” James mentions.  

“It’s that keen observation that almost made me bring you along on the heist. Can you open the glove box for me?” The red Prius, I mean Tesla, is now on Route 4, outside of campus, and heading toward Concord. Six police cruisers are locked in behind them.  

“Is there a gun in the glove box?” James asks.  

“No. Well, yes. But that’s not what I need. Just open it for me please,” Tracy says. Her big gray eyes cause James to blush and he begins to move his arm forward. Tracy steps down on to the brake pedal. The red car stops. Six other police cars are blocking the path of James and Tracy. Muffled megaphone talk crackles underneath the screech of sirens outside. Tracy stops the car. “James, you need to open the glove box right now,” Tracy commands.  

“Who are you, what am I even doing here. Help! Officers! I don’t know this woman and I can very accurately pinpoint her in a line up,” James yells. He reaches down to undo his belt buckle and Tracy grabs his wrist and opens the glove box with James’ hand. “That’s a violation!”  

“Calm down,” Tracy says. Cops in body armor carrying assault weapons surround the car as the fog from a smoke bomb begins to filter in through the car vents. “Don’t fight it.”  

“The smoke, I—” Tracy silences James.  

“Shhh,” Tracy places a finger on her lips. “Relax.” Green, red, blue and yellow lights spring out of the glovebox. “Everlasting Love” by Robert Knight reverberates from the tiny compartment originally intended for gloves. An indeterminate amount of time passes and the lights, and the smoke, and the music slip away. “Open your eyes James.”  

“No.” James shakes his head.  

“Come on James, open your eyes, it’s okay,” Tracy says, and James slightly lifts his left eye lid. He sees Tracy’s silver purple hair and gray eyes. He sees her smile. He smiles. James screams.  

“Why are we in a desert?” Red clay dirt and red clay mountains stretch all around the red electric car.  

“It’s better than being surrounded by the cops, dummy,” Tracy says. Tracy goes on to explain the extraordinary science behind their escape. “So, we beeped and we borped and now we’re on another planet.” James looks out the window, at Tracy, out the window, and then back at Tracy.  

“Are you using really heavy, strange drugs Tracy? Did you give me some of your drugs? Am I a drug addict now Tracy?” James asks.  

“No,” She takes a pull of a joint. “This is just weed, anyways this was one of the features included in the car when I bought it from that Daft Punk looking guy behind Dimond Library last semester.”  

“Weed isn’t an automobile feature,” James says.  

“No, the space boop do-hickey thing. We must wait 48 hours before we can blast off back to Earth. It’s what Daft Punk told me.”  

“Maybe we’re in another dimension?” James asks.  

To be continued…