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Goody's Last Rave

Sarah Hill Wheeler

Goody Pagnell’s name in the old language is Gloria and, like her once famous namesake, she knows she will survive. All she has to do is keep her head down, which is why she left early and is keeping the Transit cruising at a steady 50.


It’s not too hard. She’s a good driver and has never been high-octane, head before heart, always, unlike Eddy. She pictures him now; his eyes soft and brown, the colour of molten chocolate, a beatific smile as he relaxes into the fade. She envies him, briefly, then refocuses on the road. Head down, back before curfew, that’s the deal she’s cut with herself.


They met on the set of Avatar 4. She was a music supervisor, Eddy a nutjob mixer, but they only became a thing after Hollywood closed and the municipality reassigned them to the same production team; Eddy to meat packaging, her to the abattoir, not ideal but she knew not to complain or talk about the old days. Best to forget, though sometimes she couldn’t help silently humming an aria or lip-synching the perfect soundtrack. However, one day the melody must have flowed out of her head because Eddy suddenly kissed her hard and whispered the words that would change everything.


Forget those bastards, I’m getting the band back together.


Overhead, on the flyover, blue lights flash. Despite her resolve, Goody brakes hard and checks the clock. Dammit. The patrol’s early and heading south first. Mentally, she’s already back there, kettled with the others, papers flayed, falling like snow under the spotlights, a percussion of batons raining down on Eddy’s back. She switches tempo, kills her headlights, pulls the steering wheel into full lock.


Her u-ey merits a fanfare, or at least a muted drum roll, but driving contraflow is all-consuming. Eventually she finds her rhythm, calculates she must average 100mph. Hit a pothole or a speed mine and she’s dead meat. Mission Impossible then. She tries to remember the theme tune, but everything’s mixed up. No matter. There’s something better in the glovebox.


She finds it at the back. Not Motown this time. Green Day. Still, a good match. She slots the disc into the player, ups the volume, sings along to Having a Blast, knows Eddy won’t be alone.


Carefully, she puts the empty case back, next to the bolt gun, and continues. Head down, eyes on the road.

Erstwhile lawyer, writer, frazzled mother, and multi-tasker. Prose winner Urban Tree Festival 2021. Sometime Londoner and Francophile, returned to my rural Wiltshire roots. Now often found outside, with a double expresso, talking to hens. Website: 

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