Small Minds, Ch. 5

Here is chapter five of Small Minds, or the Potentially Fatal Ping Pong Ball. Enjoy!

Small Minds, Ch. 1

Small Minds, Ch. 2

Small Minds, Ch. 3

Small Minds, Ch. 4

“How are we going to make you famous?” asked the girl as she drove her grandfather south through Georgia. The sun hadn’t had any bright ideas yet either.

“I’m not exactly sure,” said Boswick, pursing his lips. “I brought along a newspaper; let’s see what the stories are mostly about.” He opened it and began scanning. “Murder… Suicide bombing… Car crash… Oh, I’m reading the obituaries! No wonder.” He flipped the page. “Murder… Suicide bombing… Car crash… Karen, it looks like the easiest way to get famous is to mess up your life, which is not how I mean to do it.”

“What else is there?”

“A politician lied again.”

“Same deal, right?”

“Oh, wait, here’s something about a rock star. But he’s a musician and songwriter, and I’m really not.”

Karen shook her head. “So far we have two ways to get famous: Do bad stuff or write music.”

“Or play well at sports, but none of them are very sure of success.” Boswick closed the newspaper. When the sun saw the cover, he gave himself a mental high-five. “It looks like we’ll have to think up our own—Wait…” He looked down. The sun shone a brighter ray than usual on the top headline of the paper, catching his eye. He read it, muttering to himself. “This might work, Karen. Look at this.”

“I can’t,” she said. “I’m driving.”

“Good girl. It says—Wait, what’s that?” Boswick folded the newspaper, looking out the window. “Someone has a flat tire… Karen, we don’t need to be in Atlanta for a few more days. Let’s stop and help.”

The sun had seen that very car driving north through Georgia in the past few days, then turn around and start driving south when it reached the northern border. He had wondered, but not too much.

Karen pulled over to the shoulder, the car vibrating over the rumble strips and coming to a stop just behind the crippled car. The owners were two men, one young and one old. The young man was trying to figure out how the jack worked, and the old man looked like he was yelling at the car.

Boswick opened his door and climbed out partially. “Can we help you?”

“What are you, a waiter? No!” yelled the old man. “Do we look like we need help?”


“I’ve really got to stop asking answerable rhetorical questions,” said the man, too soft for Boswick but loud enough for the sun. “We’ve got it under control.”

“Actually, I could use a hand on this jack,” said the young man, looking at Boswick. “Do you know how one of these things works?”

“Sure,” said Boswick, squatting down beside the man with a sigh. As he worked, he asked “What’s your name?”

“Cole. Yours?”


“Wow, you must be the last person alive with that name…” Cole glanced up at the old man. Obviously the name of Boswick meant something to one of them.

Boswick chewed his lip and continued working with the jack. “Now you’re ready to take the wheel off. You need help with that, or…?”

“No, I think I’ve got it. Thanks for your help! Erm, how do you lower it again when you want to?”

“You just do this… Oh, I’m sorry.” In giving Cole an example, Boswick had undone his previous work.

“It’s fine. I know how to do it now. Thank you!” Cole waved and Boswick climbed back into the car.


Cole had kept quiet about Boswick’s identity due to Sam’s influence. The ping pong balls had jostled for position and Sam had come up closest to Cole’s ear, giving him advice. Thus Cole was much more agreeable toward Boswick than he had been toward Gene earlier.

Once they got on the road again, Cole worked up his nerve. “Do you know where we’re going yet?”


“The man back there, his name was Boswick.” Cole heard Sam sigh.

“You’re pulling my leg,” said Gene.

“I’m not. I can’t even reach your leg,” said Cole, attempting a joke. He heard Steve sigh.

“Shut up. Was he really Boswick?”

“I don’t know if he was the Boswick you’ve been looking for, but he was a Boswick.”

“Well, there can’t be more than one Boswick alive in the world, so it’s a safe bet… Where do you think he was headed?”

“He was on this highway, going the same direction as we are.”

“So if we go twice as fast, we might catch up with him. What kind of car did he have?”

“It was white Volkswagen, but I don’t think…”

“Speed up.”

“We’re going at the speed limit n—“

“I don’t care! Speed up!”

Cole sped up.

Only ten minutes later they were sitting on the shoulder again being interrogated by a police officer.

“Would you just leave us alone? We’re trying to catch someone!” yelled Gene, leaning across Cole to look out the window.

“Look, mister, you can’t speed like that. I saw you. You weren’t catching anything but a quick death.”

“I’m still alive, aren’t I?”

“It was only a matter of time…”

“Exactly! So if you would just let us go so we can catch our—“

“If you keep arguing you’ll have to come with me.”

“You have clearance to go faster than the speed limit, don’t you? You can help—“

“I’ll only help you get arrested.”

“You can’t do that! I’m a free Florida citizen!”

“Well, you’re in Georgia, and there are laws here just like down south.”

“Down south? Down south?” Gene spluttered. “Young man, you—“

“Get out. You’re under arrest.”

The officer cuffed Gene but let Cole loose as they drove to the police station in Atlanta, the nearest city.

Leave a comment


  1. I like how this is coming together and how the characters are developing.

  2. I think I’ve had this tab open on my iPod for a few days now. I WILL read through all these posts chronologically, goshdarnit!

  1. Small Minds, Ch. 6 « This Page Intentionally Left Blank

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