Christmas_coverDeep was weaving from side to side across the road, trying to prevent the Mercedes from pulling up alongside them, and dodging bullets while the gangsters fired at them. Thank heaven, so far they seemed to be remarkably poor shots.

“Mr. Pennypocket!” Sarah yelled. “Call 911! Right now!

The pawnbroker scrabbled for his phone as Sarah unbuckled her seat belt and pried off the lid of the cooler.

“Miss Bibi! Please! Buckle up!” Deep said, not even glancing at her.

“In a minute!” She rummaged through the cooler, grabbing what she wanted.

“This is not the time for snacks!” shrieked Mr. Pennypocket, flinching as a bullet ricocheted against the cab.

“Just call!” She broke apart the six-pack of fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt and ripped off the foil lid. Then she cranked down the cab window, and leaning out, threw the open yogurt container with as much force as she could at the Mercedes’s windshield.

With a surge of triumph she saw the yogurt splat across the windshield. The Mercedes took a wild swing into the oncoming lane, nearly hitting a pickup, then overcorrected. The car’s wipers came on, smearing the heavy yogurt across the windshield.

“Oh, excellent throw, Miss Bibi!”

“Hello? Hello!” yelled Mr. Pennypocket into his phone. “Somebody’s shooting at us! You have to help!”

The Mercedes had been hit but was far from disabled. Sarah saw that the car maneuvered back into the lane and roared after them, even though the yogurt was still smeared across the windshield. The car’s washers and wipers didn’t seem to budge it. The yogurt must have frozen on, she noted with satisfaction. Sarah peeled off another lid just as she heard that popping noise again. The rear window shattered, scattering glass all over the back seat, and simultaneously, Sarah saw a spiderweb of cracks appear in the bulletproof safety shield installed between the front and back seats of the cab.

Without that shield, Deep would have been shot, perhaps killed. If the bullet had been just a few inches to the right, she herself would have been shot. Sarah felt like throwing up. How could they get out of this?

Deep had swerved into traffic and now was skidding back into the right lane.

“Is anybody hurt?” For the first time since they’d started, Deep didn’t sound at all calm. “Miss Bibi? Answer!”

“I’m good, Deep! What about you?”

“No worries!” Deep clung to the steering wheel, leaning forward, and Sarah felt the taxi gain speed again.

No worries!” Pennypocket roared. “Speak for yourself! That was too close!” The pawnbroker turned back to the phone. “Did you hear that? Shooting! They hit us! Not me! The cab! They’re gonna kill me, I tell you! Get the cops out here! Somebody! It’s a dark Mercedes! No, I can’t see the plate!”

With the back window shot out, the cab was freezing, and Sarah’s hands were soon stiff with cold. Shivering, she ripped off the lid of the cherry flavor—her favorite—and leaned out to throw it, when she saw Deep slump over the wheel. Panic ripped through her. What had happened to Deep?

Deep! Talk to me! Are you all right?”

“As rain, Miss Bibi!” Deep sat up to Sarah’s intense relief, just as the taxi’s trunk lid flew up. He’d released the trunk! Sarah heard popping sounds, louder this time, as the bullets ricocheted off the open trunk lid, which now protected their back window.

The shooters behind them had accelerated their attack, and Sarah thought that the popping sounds against the trunk lid sounded like her microwave popcorn popper at maximum pop. The trunk lid bobbed up and down as the taxi hit bumpy bits in the pavement, but so far it was working very well as a shield. She hoped the trunk lid would hold up under the assault and that the shooters would not think to fire at something else, like their tires. In the meantime, they were flying down the freeway, Deep muttering to himself as he searched the surroundings. Mr. Pennypocket cowered in the front footwell, still speaking urgently into the phone.

Sarah looked at the open yogurt container she still held. Well, might as well eat it now. It was cherry, after all.

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