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The Saint's Volvo Saves The Day

Chief Inspector Claud Eustace Teal's Incident Report
March 12th 1997

A satire by Dan Bodenheimer

The breaking glass shattered the stillness of the evening's quiet unrest. I ran towards the sound, charging back down the very alley I had just spent the last twenty minutes painstakingly searching. My footsteps were heavy, and my breathing hard--perhaps I was a little out of shape, but I could still get my 250 pounds up to a pretty good gallop. My heart thundered in my chest as I turned the corner; something was finally happening, and I was glad that the interminable waiting was over.

The anonymous caller had said that the Saint would be up to his old tricks, and I had waited years to catch him in the act. Perhaps tonight was the night, the long awaited hour of reckoning, but after a few hours of waiting in the dank cold of the industrial sector I was getting a little anxious. Perhaps this tip wouldn't pan out, but I was still hoping for some sort of action to break the tension in my stomach. I chewed at a piece of tasteless gum. It only partially got my nerves back in check, and did little to mask the smell of rot and mildew around me. The warehouse that the tipster had targeted was locked up tight, and all the windows had been painted over or boarded up years ago. The whole setting seemed right for crime, but not really of the sort that Templar was usually interested in. This was a place for seedy drug deals, ditching dead bodies, or large-scale counterfeiting operations. The eerie silence was the thing that bothered me the most; normally, there would at least be the sound of a stray cat, freight train, or birds, but tonight I felt like I had been buried alive in some deep catacomb, far away from everyday life.

"What on Earth has Templar got himself into this time," I mused fondly; then, "what have I got myself into..."

I came around the corner, expecting to see Templar as the source of the breaking glass. Instead, I was confronted by the roaring inferno of my patrol car, complete with broken windshield, windows, and flat tires. The fiery tower lighted up the darkness and I spotted two shadows running away from the flaming wreck. I gasped a deep breath, pulled out my trusty 1945 service revolver and took off after them. I got about halfway down the street when I heard a motorcycle start up ahead of me. A second roared to life, and I was suddenly staring at two bright halogen head lamps. I was blinded for a second as they jumped forward, rushing at me with a roar of accelerating fury. Looking around frantically, I spotted a rusting white dumpster and made a break for it. I reached it quickly, and with a pleasant change of luck I had time to spare. The dumpster was heavy, but it had rollers that still worked, and I pushed it out into the street and jumped behind it. The two motorcycles rushed past my cumbersome shield, and skided into a turn for another pass.

I spun the dumpster around to face them, breathing in the stench from it's decaying contents with heavy gasps. I wasn't made for this, and I started to wish that I made more time for regular workouts in the gym. The lead bike headed for me again, but veered at the last minute. I relaxed slightly, so I was completely unprepared for the hard kick that pushed the dumpster into me with a huge impact. The blow folded me over at the waist, knocking the wind out of me. I lay on top of the dumpster as it rolled down the street, my feet dragging on the pavement. The second cyclist took his cue from the first, and his kick sent the dumpster into a dizzying spin.

Volvo C70 Another throaty growl gradually was heard above the harsh sound the motorcycles, and I looked up in time to see a sporty red blur rush past me. The car stoped quickly without the expected skidding brought on by locking up the brakes, and the tires bit as it reversed back towards me. The passenger door opened, and the driver yelled out, "Teal, you bumbling oaf, get in here before someone besides me gets the pleasure of doing you in."

It was the Saint. My first reaction to his needling orders was to tell him that I don't need any help, but that passed quickly as I heard the motorcycles coming back. I jumped into his latest sports coupe, and the door shut behind me with a reassuring seal. Simon Templar slamed down the throttle, and the traction control system applied the acceleration solidly, pushing me back into luxurious leather seats. The car leapt ahead, and the buildings rushed past with ever-quickening flashes. I closed my eyes, and my head droped back against the soft headrest. The smell of the fine leather comforted me, and the reassuring silence was only broken by the soothing sounds of a Clementi piano sonata.

My eyes opened quickly, and I looked around expecting to be in my den. Instead, I realized that we were in a race for our lives. I looked at the speedometer, and had to double-check to comprehend that we are doing 140mph--Simon's car was as sophisticated as himself, and from the inside it seemed as if we were doing about half that speed. The 2.4 liter 5-cylinder turbocharged engine used all 230 horsepower to effortlessly move us away the rough part of town, and onto the coast road.

I took another look around, and saw that the Clementi was washing over us from an Alpine three CD, 12-speaker, Dolby Surround ProLogic stereo system. I then looked at the walnut burl steering wheel, and gasped as I saw the manufacturer's logo.

"This is a Volvo?" I queried.

"Hah," laughed the Saint, "I used to get the same response with my P1800; I didn't expect the same in my new Volvo C70 turbo coupe, but I suppose it makes sense."

"Hmmm, no wonder I feel so safe," I joked, "for a second there I started to think it was you."

"And I thought you didn't love me anymore," Simon fought back. "How come you never return any of my calls? You know that I get bored without your massive belly around to make jokes about."

"Very funny Templar," I muttered, and then asked, "are they still following us."

The Saint looked around, and then said, "I sure hope so..." He then laughed, and informed me that they were actually in front of us: that it was us who was doing the chasing!

A stop sign managed to slow the Saint down to about 60mph, and he twisted the wheel to the right in a hard turn. The Volvo easily made the turn, and he looked at me as if expecting me to say something about his driving. I didn't have anything to say, I felt completely safe--even when he passed the slow truck around a blind turn. I opened the window a crack, and only then could I hear the slight chirping on the tires as we made our way up some high-consequence turns. This particular road did not leave much room for error, and any miscalculation would have very nasty repercussions.

ST1 "Well, what was all that about Templar", I asked with resolve.

"Oh Teal baby, can't you smell a set-up when one is placed right under your runny little nose?"

I all could manage was a pathetic mumble, so he went on to explain, "we've made some enemies over the years, and someone apparently was trying to get us to fight each other. I know that I would never hurt you, my sweet Teal, but sometimes I wonder about your own motives."

"You won't be wondering for long, Templar, if I ever catch you in the act," I warned him, "please, just let me catch you in the act..."

The Saint laughed heartily, "oh you big softy, you really do love me!"

We came into a small town at the top of the twisting mountain road. The Saint stopped near the local bar, where a number of motorcycles were parked out in front. He got out, telling me to stay put. The central locking system engaged, with the deadbolts sliding home to seal me in from any nefarious elements. I spent a few minutes looking at the owner's manual, reading about the rotating lock cylinders that would simply spin if any attempt was made to open them by force. That was reassuring enough, and the wonderfully comfortable seats cradled me to sleep for a few minutes.

I was awaken with a jolt as the Saint jumped back in the car, grabbed the wheel, and threw a brown paper sack onto the floor in front of me. The Volvo sprung to life easily, and with a quick flick of the wheel the Saint had us speeding back down the way we had come. I looked behind us, and was just in time to see our two friends jump on their motorcycles in an attempt to follow us. I glanced at the Saint, and saw his steely gaze locked on the dangerously windy road ahead of us.

Going up the hill had been pleasant, but the return trip felt like I was in a luxury roller coaster. The turns came fast, and the Saint worked the brakes and gas with complete command as he barreled down the through the turns. The high cliffs above us served only as a complement to the steep drop-offs on the other side of the road. I wasn't sure which would be worse, hitting the side of the cliff or running off the edge into the canyon below, but either way I still felt safe. Sure, the Saint was pushing the C70 hard, but that built-in Volvo safety had a subliminal effect on my nerves. I trusted the Saint driving ability, but I also was comforted by the high-strength steel safety cage, double front side members, the duel front airbags, and the three-point pre-tensioned safety belts.

Val Kilmer We came to a long straight-away, and just at the last minute the Saint slammed on the brakes. Bringing the car quickly to a stop, he pulled into a small turnout on the inside of a hideous turn. Looking back, we saw two head-lamps barreling down upon us. The two bikes thundered past us at a speed far too fast for the tight turn, and I watched in horror as they flew off the road and into the air ahead of us. The Saint put the C70 in gear, and the car jumped forward, stopping inches from the edge where the bike had gone off the road. We looked down into the dark chasm below us, and after a moment saw two faint puffs of flame far down in the deep valley.

We exchanged looks, and I said, "well, I guess they got what they deserved."

Volvo C70 The Saint pulled the car back onto the road, switched the CD player to a Bunny Berigan jazz compendium, and we listened to "Jelly Roll Blues" as we made our way back to the police station. I got out of the car, and the Saint called out, "don't forget your jellyrolls Claud," as he handed me a paper sack. I took it, and the Saint rolled out with subdued superiority.

I sat down at my desk, and opened up the brown sack the Saint had given me. Half expecting a box of donuts or chewing gum, I looked at the contents for a moment before I realized what they were. I then dumped eight motorcycle brake pads onto my desk.



Photograph of the golden (saffron) C70 was taken by Dan Bodenheimer; all other photographs are used courtesy of the Volvo Car Corporation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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