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Jaggerbush's Wave Motion Wagon

“Isn’t eleven too old to tug around a little red wagon?” Fantastic Freddie said with his big, fat mouth.

“Isn’t twelve too old for the Altar Boy King to pull his pants down past his knees just to take a whiz?” Jaggerbush sat in his Wave Motion Wagon and drifted down the Red Brick Alley.


“Evel Knievel couldn’t make it across Snake River Canyon, but Jaggerbush made the Marshall Avenue Moon Shot in that wagon,” I said.


“Jaggerbush is a liar and false prophet,” Fantastic Freddie said.


I knew my little brother was the Intergalactic Champion of Liars, but this story was true. I was there. For most of it.


Jaggerbush rode the whole way down Marshall Avenue with the center line between his front wheels. He sat inside and steered with the handle bent backwards. I crouched in the back and jumped out to push on the flat sections. More car horns blew than when the Steelers won the Lombardi Trophy two years ago in 1979. 


Marshall Avenue was a backwards roller coaster with a half-mile, death-defying drop at the end instead of the beginning. The scariest part was the intersection at Brighton Road because we didn’t have brakes. I asked Jaggerbush how we’d survive if we caught the red light.


“We’ll burn that bridge when we cross it,” he said.


We nose-dived down the gigantic final hill. Cars zoomed by. Bumpers and fenders missed us by a hair. We were navigating an asteroid belt. An eighteen-wheeler boomed past, the trucker yelled, “Yeehaw!” out his window.


“It’s too steep!” I said.


Jaggerbush pulled a black ski mask over his head with a white X on the face like Speed Racer’s secret brother, Racer X.


“Let’s bail out!” I said.


“We who are about to die salute you!” he yelled.


I hit the eject button. Jaggerbush stayed in the cockpit. He disappeared around the final bend. Tires screeched.




The sound of metal crunching and grinding across asphalt always made me laugh, but not this time. Mom would kill me if I let my little brother get vehicular manslaughtered.


I gunned it around the bend. Jaggerbush was dragging his Wave Motion Wagon up the sidewalk. The handle was bent in half, the sidewalls were smashed, two wheels were warped and one was gone. 


He pulled off his Racer X mask. His cranium sprung a leak. Blood gushed down his neck. Both his skinny arms were covered with brush burns. He held one like it was in an invisible sling, and he was limping worse than Quasimodo. Besides that, he looked fine.


“What happened?” I said.


“I made it. That’s what happened.”


Jaggerbush smiled. There was blood in the cracks between his teeth. 


I don’t know how he survived the Marshall Avenue Moon Shot, but he did it. And that’s the truth, no matter what Fantastic Freddie says.​

*This Flash Fiction Story is a reimagined excerpt from The Red Brick Alley Collection. The source story, “Double-Strength Demon Dogs,” was originally published in Jersey Devil Press.

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