A Procession of Headlights – Under the Hood: TIoJK (7/44)

The Preacherman

Think of this facility as a place to be when there’s nowhere else to go.


A Procession of Headlights

“Get off Cannonball Road, get off Cannonball Road, get off Cannonbal–”

Jonathan jerks the steering wheel with both hands, lifting his smart car up on the left wheels as he bangs a violent left onto the first turn off Cannonball. An eyeless smiley face of skid marks is left in his wake. He shrieks when the right wheels touch back down, then slams on the breaks and comes to a dead stop in the middle of the road. Clinging to the windshield his hot breath becomes fog, then returns to air as the glass releases its hold.

“Okay,” Jonathan says in a gasp as he tears the slimy gloves off his hands. “I’m off Cannonball Road.”

Jonathan Knox has gotten off Cannonball Road. Yes. Now, within just a few fleeting seconds, a procession of headlights capped with flashing red’n’blues will charge down Cannonball headed toward the center of town, but not all the cruisers will make it there. No, there will be one police officer who notices the fresh rubber bonded to the pavement, one officer who looks down the first side street and sees Jonathan’s smart car sitting idly in the middle of the road, loitering there like a school skipper in the parking lot of a supermarket. That one police cruiser will turn and roll slowly towards the mysterious smart car, then another will join in behind it, then another, then all the go-getting police officers who barreled on past this… this Madison Avenue, according to the green street sign basked in the red glow of Jonathan’s taillights, they will all turn around and the entire police force of Wuester, New Jersey will surround Jonathan Knox’s defenseless little smart car in the middle of this sleepy street, all the residents will wake up and trek out to their lawns and stare with wide eyes and gibbering mouths and who else but the local chief of police himself Daniel Maxwell will step out, will trollop over, will knock on Jonathan Knox’s window, will ask for his license and registration and then, just as he’s about to ask Jonathan Knox what he’s doing out here idling in the middle of the street so late at night, he’ll notice the can of gas. And he’ll ask Jonathan what the gasoline is for, because smart cars don’t take gasoline, smart cars are all electric, smart cars have no use for the highly flammable base fluid of the molotov cocktail, and he will ask Jonathan to step out of the car, and Jonathan will because Jonathan doesn’t want to be shot with an audience and as Jonathan is stepping out of his smart car Police Chief Daniel Maxwell, who will have changed into his police blues and out of his red sweater and blue denim pants, The Police Chief of Wuester Daniel Maxwell will hear the rattling of the matches stashed in Jonathan Knox’s pocket, he will grab Jonathan Knox by the back of his sweaty neck and slam him on the grisly pavement, he will put a knee into his back and an elbow on his throat and he’ll get the other officers to step on Jonathan and spit on Jonathan and pummel Jonathan when he’s down, Kick him when he’s down, Fellers; this domestic terrorist slammed the front door of my house, he doesn’t deserve to get back up after the evil he meant to bring unto our good Wuester. Praise Thee, Rock! Praise Thee and fell unto our poisoned town! and then Maxwell will take out his revolver – a five-shooter, with no serial number – and he’ll press the cold barrel into Jonathan’s temple and it’ll feel icy, cold and metal and icy on this blasted March night, and then he’ll ask Jonathan Knox if he has any last words, and just as Jonathan is about to open his mouth to spit out all the blood pooling up in there from being kicked over and over and over when he’s down, Maxwell will pull the trigger. Then, it’ll all go dark, but it won’t be the cold darkness of the night. Not anymore. It’ll be a nice darkness, a warm and tranquil and welcoming darkness. The darkness of Jonathan’s basement, where he should be sitting right now.

But he’s not. Jonathan Knox got himself all worked up, he acted too fast and got himself way too worked up and grabbed a can of gasoline and drove all the way to the bend at the end of Cannonball Road and he was going to burn the chief of police’s house down. So what that the chief of police is going to abduct and sacrifice a child based on the color of that child’s skin? The chief of police isn’t the villain. Jonathan Knox is clearly the villain in this situation, in this life, Jonathan Knox got all worked up, Jonathan Knox went too fast and got ahead of himself and he’s not perfect so he deserves to die. And he will die. In just a few fleeting seconds, Jonathan Knox will finally get what’s been coming to him ever since he was a nosy little dirty little eavesdropper as a kid with the drinking glass on the inside garage door. Jonathan Knox is going to die tonight, and it’ll happen very soon. He just has to wait for the procession of headlights capped in flashing red’n’blues, and then it’ll all be over.

It’ll finally all be over.

And so Jonathan Knox, his face redder than a beet, his cheeks slimy with tears, his entire body trembling like the wimpy little whelp that he’s always been, waits for the unavoidable procession of headlights capped in flashing red’n’blues. And he waits. And he waits.

Finally Jonathan Knox breathes again, realizing he’s not waiting for anything. A fresh batch of tears and sobs escape him then, for Jonathan Knox is having a difficult time tonight, and what’s worse he knows he’s having a difficult time tonight. He knows that things aren’t going according to plan because he had no plan, he got himself all worked up and went too fast and now he’s sitting here in the middle of this side street, in the middle of Madison Avenue in his warm smart car with a can of gasoline and a pocket full of matches and the dirty cops are still going to sacrifice the Earthen child and and an

Jonathan Knox lashes out, striking the center of his steering wheel with a limp fist. The horn does not honk. Jonathan honks instead. The punch hurt his knuckles.

After a few more cycles of… whatever it is that’s going on in Jonathan Knox’s head right now, Jonathan takes a few deep breaths and checks his rearview again. Nothing but the cold darkness of the early spring night and the faint red glow of his taillights. He looks out his window and sees a dark house. Looks out his passenger window and sees another house, just as dark. Up the road there’s a little bit of light spilling into the street.

“Could that be a house too…?” Jonathan asks himself, hands in his lap. He looks around again, sees all the dark houses. “Everyone else is asleep right now, why did those folks leave their lights on?”

It’s none of Jonathan’s business. He already messed up once tonight, he doesn’t need to go and mess up some more… but… but yet he’s so curious. Why did they leave their lights on? It’s so late and all the other houses are so dark, so why does that one have its lights on?

“I could drive up the road,” as he places both hands on the steering wheel. “There’s no harm in that. I have to turn around anyway.”

He does have to turn around anyway; better to go down the road and do it right than make another illegal U-turn. Jonathan Knox is on thin ice with the local law enforcement as it is, best not to test them further. They would forgive him for trying to burn down the chief of police’s house, sure – it’s not like he went through with it – but making another illegal U-turn would be pushing it. Anybody with eyes could see that, even if their glasses had lenses as thick as Jonathan’s.

Slowly, biting his bottom lip gently between his teeth in anticipation, Jonathan Knox lifts his heavy foot from the break pedal. The smart car begins a slow roll down Madison Avenue.


Hello Commons, this has been the first subchapter of the second chapter of Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox, a novel about a man who likes to eavesdrop on his neighbors.

Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox is the second book in the W-2222 series, a series of books which take place in Universe W-2222.

Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.

I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.

If you like Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox and would like to help support my work, click here and buy an autographed copy of the book (or anything else!) from my store. Alternatively, you can snag a cheaper (and unsigned) copy from Amazon by clicking here OR you can buy the ebook for even cheaper here.

If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. Be well Commons~

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