The Rapper at the Window

Submitted into Contest #97 in response to: Start your story with an unexpected knock on a window.... view prompt

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Friendship High School Middle School

Rap, rap, rap, rap.

Victoria jumped in her chair. She pulled her earbuds off and turned toward the window. 

Rap, rap, rap, rap.

She froze. Who could that be? How in the world are they rapping on her second story window? It certainly wouldn’t be any of her friends. They would have texted her before coming. 

Rap, rap, rap, rap.

Could it be a bird pecking a seedpod?

Victoria crept over to the window pressing her back against the wall next to the window.

A muffled male voice called out, “Vickie, are you in there?”

She knew that voice, but wasn’t immediately placing it.

“Vickie, it’s me, Marcus.”

Victoria frowned, but relaxed. At least it was someone she knew. Marcus was her sister’s old boyfriend. He was a tenth grader, but was seventeen because his late birthday kept him out of kindergarten until he was nearly six. She was a ninth grader, still attending Riverview Junior High because the high school was small and too crowded to have ninth grade there. Only one school year separated them, but age wise and psychologically the gap seemed bigger because of the circumstances.

“Vickie, I need your help.”

Her parents weren’t home. She couldn’t possibly let an older boy into the house, let alone her bedroom without them being home. She didn’t even want to open the window. “What are you doing outside my window? Playing Romeo?”

“I knocked on your door, but you didn’t hear me. I could see the light in your bedroom, so I climbed the trellis.”

“Jackie isn’t home. She’s with Terry.”

“I know. She told me on Friday that they were going to a movie. Do you think you could open the window?”

Victoria, once again rehearsed in her mind the consequences of doing so. “You need to give me a reason. You know I can’t let you in without my parents being here.”

“I know. Can’t you at least open the window so I can talk to you?”

Victoria had always thought Marcus was cute in a nerdy way. He had a shock of brown hair always falling into his eyes. She had secretly admired him while he was dating Jackie. She knew that eventually they would split up. He was more studious than Jackie. She was more socially inclined. They were in several classes together. He helped her with geometry and world history. Victoria, on the other hand, was also studious. Would it hurt to open the window to see why he was here? “Can’t you at least tell me why you are here, first?”

“It’s a complicated story. I don’t want to shout it out for the whole neighborhood to hear.”

Creak.

“Vickie! The trellis is breaking, do you want me to fall?”

“Let me think. Is it better to be killed by my dad for letting you into my bedroom, or let you break a leg falling. It’s a touch choice, if you know what I mean.” She grinned.

Creak.

“Look at it this way. If I break my leg, aren’t your parents, and all of your friends going to think you were cruel for not helping me?”

“Cruella is my middle name. Didn’t you know that?” She giggled.

He sighed. “You know, we have a lot in common. I have always admired how seriously you take your school work, unlike your sister, but a promising friendship could be ruined by a broken leg, if you know what I mean.”

Wow! Was he seriously interested in her? He certainly wasn’t the type to flatter her to take advantage of her. He was way to shy and introverted. But why was he here?

Creak!

“I don’t think I’m going to last much longer out here.”

“Did you use the trellis to get into Jackie’s room?”

His voice rose. “No, she let me in the door!”

Victoria giggled. “I guess it wouldn’t hurt to open the window, but don’t try anything you wouldn’t do in front of my dad!”

“Agreed.”

Victoria unlatched the old style window and lifted it up.

Crack. Snap.

Marcus grabbed onto the window sill.

Victoria gasped. She leaned out and could see the trellis falling away from the house and Marcus dangling from the sill. “You weren’t kidding about the trellis!”

Marcus swung back and forth trying to get a better grip on the sill. He grunted, “No, and I’m not going to last long if you don’t help me!”

Victoria really didn’t want him to drop and hurt himself, but that lingering thought of her father killing her for letting a boy into the house without them there haunted her as she reached out to find a spot she could grab on him.

“Can you reach my belt, and pull me up?”

Victoria leaned out the window reaching for the belt. She was a good four inches from it as she flopped onto his head and back.

“Oomph,” was all he could say.

“That’s not working.” She lifted herself off him and desperately grabbed the tail of his shirt and pulled. As it pulled up his torso, it pulled against his arms.

“That’s helping. Keep pulling,” he said as he panted. 

Rip. 

The shirt pulled over his head, but was still around his arms.

“Try grabbing me by my armpits,” he said between gasps.

“Ew! How gross!”

“Just do it!”

In spite of the fact that Marcus was sweating up a storm, she grabbed his arms and pulled. He wiggled his body back and forth and pulled himself up inch by inch. They both were panting when he finally fell over the sill knocking her down. They sprawled across the carpet catching their breath.

Marcus, always the positive thinker, said, “Thanks, I knew you could do it.”

Victoria screwed up her flush face as she smelled her hands covered with sweat and deodorant wax.

Marcus didn’t have time to think of an appropriate comment. The whine of the garage door opener filled the air. Her parents were home.

Victoria panicked. Her eyes grew as big as walnuts. The vision of an angry father flashed in her mind. “Quick, into the closet!”

Marcus still panting, crawled excruciatingly slow across the room pulling the closet door closed behind him.

Victoria pulled herself up into her chair where her geography book had waited her return.

The thump, thump of her parents’ trudging up the stairs reached her before her mom’s voice sang out, “Hi, honey. We’re home.”

Her mom and dad poked their heads into her room. Her dad announced, “The movie was highly over-rated.”

Her mom nodded.

Then her dad frowned as he gazed at the open window. He looked back at Victoria as he took five paces and leaned out the window. He turned back with a bigger frown. “What happened to the trellis? It’s laying on the ground.”

Victoria stared at him, not knowing what to say. Does she lie, or tell the truth? What lie could you make up about a broken trellis and an open window? She didn’t say anything.

Her dad surveyed the room then slowly walked over to the closet and opened it.

“Hi, Mr. Cromwell. You’re probably wondering why I’m in here,” said Marcus with a face as red as a beet, not to mention dirty.

“The thought had crossed my mind, Marcus!” he said.

Marcus unfolded himself from under the hanging garments. He said, “I take full responsibility for this. Victoria didn’t invite me into the house.”

Mr. Cromwell, looked Marcus’s dirty, bruised, sweaty, half naked body up and down before he answered, “Oh?”

“Yeah, my car ran out of gas on Seventeenth Street, you know, right by McDonald’s. I started walking past McDonald’s to get to the gas station, but three guys decided I looked ripe for some action. At first they taunted me, then they started pushing me around. Finally, they grabbed my cell phone and wallet and tossed them around between them.”

Victoria gasped. She wondered if he was giving them the biggest lie of his life, or if it really happened.

Her dad looked skeptical. “So, how did you end up here?”

“Well, sir, after I escaped them, it was useless to go to the gas station, and I couldn’t call anyone for help, so you folks are the closest people I know in the area.”

Mr. Cromwell stroked his chin. “And the reason you scaled the trellis?”

“I knocked on the door. No one answered. I knew Jackie was out with friends, and you quite often go out on Saturday night. I figured Victoria either didn’t hear the knocks, or wasn’t going to answer the door being alone, so I climbed the trellis when I saw the light on in her bedroom.”

Victoria didn’t know whether to be skeptical or sorry for being such a jerk while he clung to the trellis.

Her dad stood silently weighing the veracity of the story.

Marcus attempted to put his torn shirt on. Then said, “Um, could I use your phone to call the police and report the incident? I forgot, they got my keys, too, but I have a spare hidden in the wheel well. They can’t go anywhere in my car, so I’m not worried about that. Do you have a gas can in the garage? Could I borrow a fiver to get some gas. I’ll pay you back tomorrow.”

Mr. Cromwell finally answered, “Ok, I have a can of gas in the garage for the lawn mower. I’ll take you over to your car. We’ll see if your story pans out.”

Victoria jumped up. She wanted to know if this was the tallest tale she had ever heard from a real live person she knew, or not. “I want to go, too!”

As they approached the McDonald’s Marcus pointed to a spot across the side street. “Oh, no! They stole my car, too!”

Victoria glanced at her father’s face to see how he reacted. He pointed at the McDonald’s parking lot. “Isn’t that your car?”

Marcus’ face lit up. “Yeah! And look over there. Those three guys are the one’s who beat me up. They must have gone and got some gas for the car with my money.”

She saw at least ten guys hooping and hollering in a circle by some outdoor tables. Victoria wondered why the three were so dumb to return to the scene of the crime after mugging and robbing Marcus, or maybe they were like gang members who thought they were invincible. They could do anything they wanted. 

Mr. Cromwell pulled his cellphone from his shirt pocket and handed it to Marcus. “Ok, call the police again and tell them you located the car and the guys who robbed you are with it. We can watch them from over here where we are safe.” He pulled into a spot by the curb.

The guys pointed at Marcus’s car and laughed. It wasn’t exactly a prize winning car for thieves; a fifteen year old Toyota Corolla with paint flaking off. 

They looked at each other as one of the guys said, “Come on, let’s take it for a ride, see if it can climb the dirt hills in the oil fields.”

Victoria could see Marcus swallow hard as small tears filled his eyes. For the first time she realized he had bruises on his face. 

Her dad glanced over at him then started the car. He pulled the car around and came to a stop directly behind the stolen car. Her dad swallowed, then stepped out of his car. “Ok, boys, we know this is a stolen car. Before you get yourselves into more trouble, why don’t you hand over the keys, cell phone and wallet you have of his.”

By then Marcus, and Victoria were out of the car on the other side. She decided she had better look mad and tough, or they would eat her for lunch. She stood with her hands on her hips frowning.

The guy at the driver’s door of Marcus’s car turned and laughed. He said to his friends, “Did you hear that. The guy wants us to give him the goods. What has he done to deserve them?”

Mr. Marcus reached out as he said, “Look, stealing a car is grand theft. Do you really want to spend all that time in the slammer for an old clunker like this?”

Victoria wondered what Marcus was thinking when he heard his car being referred to as an old clunker. But then, it was obviously a transportation car at best. She decided it wasn’t his biggest worry.

The guys laughed again. The driver guy said, “Oh, I’m scared; grand theft. I don’t think so, you’d be lucky to get a hundred skins for this pile of crap. Let’s go boys.”

The guy opened the driver’s door.

Mr. Cromwell folded his arms across his chest and took a wide stance as he said, “You’re not going anywhere with my car parked here.”

The ringleader chuckled. “Well, I guess we’ll see how far this pile of crap can push your pile of crap. I’ve always wanted to do destruction derby.”

Victoria felt agonizingly helpless. What could she do to help? There must be something. They only way they were going to beat these monsters with too much testosterone was to outsmart them. 

She looked the leader in the eyes and said, “How would you like to make this into a money making proposition?”

He smirked. “What’s the little girly doing? Wheeling and dealing to save her ol’ man and wimpy brother?”

Victoria stepped forward one step to show confidence. “I’ve heard that insurance companies give rewards to people who recover stolen cars in good condition. You could do that with this car.”

The leader guy pulled the car door open farther. “Don’t shovel that BS at me. You can’t trick me.”

Victoria stepped another foot closer to him. “No, really. You’re like a bounty hunter for stolen cars. I hear that guys make a living doing it, cause the police are too busy to look for cars.”

He stepped back. “Ha, how much would they pay for this pile of manure, fifty bucks?”

Victoria shrugged. “Don’t know, but I would guess five hundred to a thousand would be the lowest an insurance company would pay. After all they have to make it worth it to bounty hunters. That ought to be worth doing since the car is in your possession already. You don’t even have to go hunting for it like a bounty hunter.”

Mr. Cromwell got into the act. “It sure beats sitting in a jail cell rotting away. Why don’t you give us your names and the keys, and we will turn them into the insurance company, and tell the cops you found the car.”

The leader dude glanced at his two friends. “You ever heard of a bounty hunter for cars?”

They shrugged.

He looked at Mr. Cromwell. “How do I know you aint going to tell the cops I stole the car?”

Mr. Cromwell stroked his chin. “Why would we want to hassle all that time in court testifying when we can just fill out a report with the police and insurance company and be done with it?”

The guy glanced at this buddies again.

They shrugged again.

As they all stared at each other Mr. Cromwell walked back to his car, opened the passenger door, and the glove box. He pulled out a pad of paper and a pen from his shirt pocket. “Ok, just hand over the cell phone, wallet, and keys, and we’re in business. He held the pad out to the guy.

The guy took the pad from Mr. Cromwell. “How fast does the insurance pay?”

Mr. Cromwell handed the guy his pen. “I’m sure it goes as fast as the paperwork can get through the system.”

The guy was still hesitant.

A police car slowly pulled into the McDonald’s parking lot behind Mr. Cromwell’s car.

It drew everyone’s attention.

Mr. Cromwell nodded toward the police car. “One last chance. What do we tell the police? You stole the car, or you recovered the car?”

Victoria was so relieved to see the police. They had averted disaster. She quietly walked over to Marcus. “Why didn’t you tell me you had been robbed when you were on the trellis?”

Marcus offered a weak smile. “You didn’t give me a chance!”

“How about if I give you a chance to help me with my geometry? Can you come over tomorrow?”

Marcus gazed into Victoria’s eyes. “Sure, one o’clock?”

“Make it noon and I’ll make you a grilled cheese sandwich.”

He nodded.

She looked around. The two policemen were in a huddle with Mr. Cromwell, and the three dudes. What a night! Sometimes good things come out of bad things. 

Marcus straightened his torn shirt. “I’ve never heard of insurance companies paying a bounty. Do they?”

Victoria smiled. “I haven’t the slightest idea.”

June 09, 2021 01:45

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3 comments

Charlie Murphy
17:05 Jun 12, 2021

Great story, Cliff! I love the dialogue and plot!

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12:33 Jun 12, 2021

This is a great story Cliff. I could imagine the scene every step of the way. The trellis scene was awesome. I wish I could think as fast as that young lady did. Wonderful twist. Keep it up.

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Anne Fifield
05:30 Jun 12, 2021

I loved it. It hooked me at the very beginning, and it didn’t let go. I loved the twist at the end. Victoria definitely outsmarted the thugs! Great story! I hope it wins!

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