between Bran and Baldretta’s car seat in the back, holding them in as the Schweezer took off like an old rocket. Mabel went pale.
"What is it now? " Sewey whined at her.
"I forgot my neoplytoplismo," she whispered. "What if there are lepers at the picnic?"
Baldretta offered a chocolate, but Mabel didn’t think it would help. Sewey shoved on the horn to let everyone know he was coming and they had better move. The Schweezer slid around corners, jetting over curb and crosswalk. Bran tried to hold on, but all the movement jostled him back and forth against the seat belt. Luckily, the road ahead of them was clear of cars. However, as Bran distractedly glanced behind them, he saw something.
"Look, Sewey, it’s the black van!" he said. Sewey jerked about.
"WHERE?!" he roared. The car screamed from one side of the road to the other.
"Just drive!" Bran shouted, but he had to laugh at Sewey’s reaction. "Look, it’s only a black van, right there behind us. See?"
Bran pointed. The black van was far, but it was the only other vehicle in sight behind them. Sewey looked at the road, then at the mirror, then the road again, back and forth.
"It’s bloody following me again! " he hissed.
"No, listen," Bran said. "It’s a coincidence. I shouldn’t have pointed it out. Now just drive."
Sewey, however, would not, and instead chose to watch the mirror instead of where they were going. They were coming closer to a railroad crossing, and Sewey gunned the engine further, not even watching the road in front of him, or the flashing lights.
"Sewey," Rosie said. "You had better put on your brakes—"
"Hush!" Sewey said. "That black van is actually gaining on us!"
"But Sewey," Rosie shouted, "you had better put on your brakes! "
"What?" Sewey protested. "Brakes? Great Moby, don’t you know that’ll slow us down?"
"That’s the point!" Bran shouted.
Everyone screamed as the car rocketed up the tracks and the crossing arms came down. Sewey had missed seeing this altogether, and he had even missed the steaming train rapidly approaching around the bend.
"GREAT MOBY!" Sewey shouted, turning the wheel to miss the first guard arm.
"GREAT GOODNESS!" he shouted again, as he swerved and faced the oncoming train.
"GREAT ROT!" he roared, as he slammed on the accelerator and swerved away from the second arm and off the track, just a second before the train crossed. And they were back on the road, as if nothing had happened at all. Baldretta clapped with glee in her eyes and a sucker in her mouth, and they hit a bump.
"Whoopee!" Balder squealed, looking back. "We could have been smashed!"
"Rot," Sewey said, shaking a fist and trying to catch his breath. "I’ll have the law on that van and that reckless locomotive!"
"Well, it’s gone now, Sewey," Bran said, catching his breath. "Look, the black van isn’t behind us anymore, either. The train blocked it off."
"That would be the only good thing that has happened this morning," Sewey growled. Still, he checked the mirrors. As the train cars rumbled by, he could see the black van waiting behind it, as if staring him down. It was menacing and made Sewey nervous, so he punched on the gas and started off on the shortest shortcut he knew.
The rest of the drive was tense and still. Sewey turned on the radio. Unfortunately, he only listened to Radio Dunce, whose music library consisted entirely of dull rock bands like Harmonious Sticky and Glumpius Fiest. It did nothing to alleviate the misery in the air.
"I’m hungry," Balder complained.
"You just ate breakfast, dear," Rosie said. "Now be quiet. Deary daddy is trying to drive."
" Deary daddy… " Sewey mimicked in a low, childish voice. "Bah!"
"Bah!" Balder said, and then straightened up to see better. "Look, look! It’s Givvyng Park!"
Sewey narrowed his eyes as they drove closer.
"No," he gave a dull laugh. "That’s not the park. Our picnic is much more civil than that."
"I do believe that’s it…" Rosie said. The park came
Frances and Richard Lockridge