Wash Day

San Francisco

Saturday was wash day. And it wasn’t the laundry.

Clear water flowed over then beaded up on the white racing stripes of Elaine Bennett’s classic 427 Shelby Cobra. A soft chamois absorbed the droplets and restored the sparkle to the vintage car. An appreciative owner stood back and admired the lines, just as many men had when she stepped out of the muscle car. She was never really sure if they were admiring her or her machine, but either way, both had a knack for turning heads.

Noticing a smudge on the chrome roll bar, she lovingly rubbed it out to reflect her patrician features. “Perfect,” she purred, and walked around the car touching up any real and imagined flaws. The ringing of the phone broke her concentration for only a moment while she applied the necessary elbow grease to polish the chrome grill and bumper.

A throwback to days-gone-by, the answering machine beeped and announced the caller to be her twin brother, Lane. He droned on and she wished he would get to the point. Her attention was riveted on her car until he mentioned their parents.

“…Look, when you get this message, call me,” he tersely instructed.

Scrambling to her feet, she tripped over the bucket, spilling some of the contents. “Shit!” she exclaimed, racing toward the phone. She picked up and breathed, “Hello.”

“Screening our calls?” he harassed.

“What’s up with Mom and Dad?” she asked, ignoring his remark.

“Their plane is missing,” he answered with very little trace of feeling.

“What do you mean missing? Someone stole the relic?” she mused.

He didn’t laugh. But then again, he didn’t emote much at all. Elaine could have sworn that he was hatched, even though she knew that could not be possible. Still, a girl could dream.

“The plane went down shortly after takeoff. Somewhere near Juneau,” he informed.

“They’ve crashed?” she clarified.

Read Act 1: Missing »

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