Short fiction: dancing and driving school

What if someone decides to open a school that specialises in both driving and dancing lessons? Ken Burns explores this intriguing business idea in his entertaining preface to the multi-author serial ‘d.a.d.s’

Ken’s opening:

d.a.d.s = dancing and driving school:  That is my new business idea. I need a job that is not based on someone else’s world view.  Dancing is for girls and driving for boys. Over the last six months it’s succeeded. Word of mouth about my abilities is spreading in this small-town community and I’m earning a living.

Today’s sunny morning shift is in a small, automatic transmission training car.  I have a 16-year-old student, Rory, coming for his first driving lesson.  Boys can be cocky and confident so it will be interesting to see how this goes.

A tap on the window at the driver’s side startles me.

I push the electric button to lower the window and I see a tall, dishevelled schoolgirl in uniform. She pushes her head through the window and as I reach across to lower the window further our foreheads crash together…  Read more

The girl turns out to be Rory’s twin sister Ramona. He’d rather be dancing and she’d rather be driving. Story Mint founder Suraya Dewing continues the story in Chapter 1, followed by talented writers Anna Zhigareva, Ray Stone and Hemali Ajmera. I joined the serial at Chapter 6 which you can read below.

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Chapter 6 by Linda Alley

I reach down for the car keys that Nijinsky, my Russian Blue has knocked from the hall table in one of his gravity-defying leaps.

Lorraine folds her arms. The tip of her ears have gone red. A very bad sign.

“You can’t be serious?”

“How else will she get home?” I risk a glance at Ramona. “You can come and pick up the rattler tomorrow. With your dad,” I finish firmly, then wince slightly.

Nijinsky’s just landed on my head with considerably less elegance than his talented namesake.

Ramona flashes me a demure smile and reaches up to stroke Nijinsky who purrs contently.

“Whatever you say, Mr. Daniels.”

“I’ll come with you then,” Lorraine says firmly.

My heart does a backwards flip. Or at least that’s what it feels like. Surprisingly, it’s Ramona who comes to my rescue.

“I get nervous when I carry passengers and in weather like this I really need to concentrate. Don’t worry. I’ll take good care of your fiancé.”

Lorraine goes rigid. I rush for the door, eliciting a loud yowl from Nijinsky as he tumbles onto the carpet.

“Won’t be long!” I call too enthusiastically as I make a dash for the car, not even noticing whether Ramona does the mandatory mirror check or not before she pulls out.

“We’re not engaged you know,” I say through gritted teeth.

“I know,” Ramona says cheerfully and I bounce an inch in the air as she hurtles over a speed bump. “I saw her fingers.”

“Take it slowly!” I snap.

“Is that what you’re doing? Mum works with Lorraine. She says you’ve been together for three years.”

I close my eyes, head throbbing. The heating’s on full blast, circulating a pungent aroma of wet wool mixed with that sickly sweet deodorant that teenage girls insist on using.

“Left or right?” Ramona asks and my eyes flick open.

“Wherever.”

“You should really make a decision,” she says turning left into the high street. “Why don’t we go to the jewellers now? I can help you pick.”

I slam my foot down on the instructor’s brake pedal. The car skids on the wet tarmac. Ramona shrieks, grabbing the steering wheel just in time to avoid ploughing through the front windows of Maxwell’s Furniture Store.

“What did you do that for?” she demands.

“Go into the carpark,” I tell her, my heart thumping as loudly as the rain drumming on the windscreen.

I’m not sure what scares me the most – our near collision or the thought of spending the rest of my life with Lorraine.

Ramona pulls smoothly into an angle park beside a green Fiat that looks vaguely familiar.

“Hey, isn’t that Miss Stephan…” my voice dies away as the dance teacher leans over and caresses the cheek of her male passenger.

Even though his back is turned to us, I recognise that thick neck with its fatty rolls. I glance at Ramona and from the wicked grin she gives me I know she’s recognised him too.

Mr. Baldwin.

 

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