512 Words


M. Stanley Bubien

It wasn't supposed to end this way!

Sure, I'd gone a little crazy---okay, more than a little. It's just, well, my girlfriend ditching me and everything. No job. And the meds---I'm so sick of those damn things!

It was easy to hop that fence. You'd think they'd be electrified at an armory. But no. I mean, who the hell ever stole a tank?

The fence buckled under the treads with a snap. I cranked left, down the street. A joyride---a helluva lot more fun than anything I did those six years in the service.

I hollered as I bowled over the first car. Hit it at twenty. Flattened like a pancake! They got bigger after that. Honda, Pinto (hey, I did them a favor!), Jeep, Bronco. A motor home too! Cut that sucker right in half---swear to God, right in half!

You know, they trained me for this. Kind of. I mean, if it was Vietnam or Iraq or something. Training. Maybe that's why I reacted so quick. My mind screamed "KID!" and I yanked back on the steering-arms. The tank skidded stop. He just stared at me. Couldn't see me, but I stared back alright. Had to wipe my forehead too.

I was moving again as the cops showed. Nothing they could do, though. C'mon! It's a tank! Bulletproof!

Still, I bailed on the car-crushing thing. Too many cops.

I'll tell you what, hitting the freeway---now that was weird! Here I was, one big-assed tank---and cars whizzing by like it happened everyday! Only in California.

But those cops kept doggin' me. To lose them, you know, I decided to flip a tit, cross the divider. But those damn things are cement. Designed to stand up to a semi. Thought I was in a tank. Well, I mean, I was in a tank, but that was kinda the problem.

I hit the divider hard, sideways, got bumped into the air, then back down. I gunned the engine, but spun in place. I cranked the controls. No response. That's when I heard the grinding. The tread---ripped right off.

Next thing I knew, someone was climbing the turret. Think I got frantic, searching for a gun or whatever---didn't have nothing to defend myself! Well, except the tank---but gimme a break, like I'd go shooting that big damn thing off anyway---this was a joyride, not a war.

I could hear the squeak of the port opening, same as when I climbed in, so I let go of the controls. You know that half-sunk, half-excited feeling in your stomach---the kind you get when you're busted for sure? That's me.

I turned to face the cop, but all I saw was an arm and a gun. Then the loud "POP!" Felt like I'd been hit by brick. Right in the shoulder. Blood everywhere. It was gross, man. But I didn't think that. Nope. Couldn't. I just fell outta the seat and bled to death on the floor. I mean, it wasn't supposed to end this way!

Based on a true story.

Copyright ©1997 M. Stanley Bubien. All Rights Reserved.

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Story Bytes


March, 1997
Issue #11

512 Words