Road Cone Madness

Shannon rolled over onto his side. From the living room couch, the orange road cone was clearly visible. That was a problem. Shannon hauled himself up, and traipsed into the bedroom. He looked the road cone over then threw a white T-shirt over it. Satisfied, he returned to the living room.

Terry White looked up from an auto mechanics magazine.

" It still looks like a road cone, a road cone with bad taste." Terry said casually.

Shannon glared at him disgustedly, " I didn't hear anyone asking your opinion, Terry… Why did we have to steal it anyway? You know we're going to get caught."

" It's a right of passage, Shannon, and we're not going to get caught." Terry replied.

Shannon flopped back down on the couch and let out a long sigh. They had had the road cone since the night before. Twenty-four hours had elapsed. It was eleven-thirty.

Shannon sat up on his elbow and looked into his bedroom. Terry was right. It still looked like a road cone, but it didn't have bad taste.

Just then, the telephone rang. Shannon jumped to his feet and grabbed the phone.

" Hello?"

" Hello." A gruff voice said, " Is this Shannon McFee?"

" Who's asking?" Shannon answered.

" You have my road cone… I want it back." The gruff voice said.

Shannon covered the mouthpiece with his hand and turned toward Terry.

" Who is it?" Terry asked.

" Some guy… He says we have his road cone, and that he wants it back." Shannon replied.

Terry grabbed the receiver out of Shannon's hand.

" This is Terry White. May I ask who's calling?" Terry was looking very unimpressed.

" I want my rode cone, Mr. White… You and Mr. McFee have my road cone." The voice replied.

Terry sighed heavily, " Well, its our road cone now."

" I WANT MY ROAD CONE!!!" growled the voice.

" Midnight tonight. Meet me on the corner of State Street and Knapp Avenue… Bring five hundred dollars, or you'll never see your road cone again!" Terry said quietly into the phone, then the line went dead.

When Terry turned toward Shannon, he was quietly musing over the conversation. Shannon didn't look so entertained. He'd gone pale, and an expression of absolute terror was written all over his face.

" Oh, come on, Shannon?!" Terry said, giving his friend an exasperated look.

" Why?…Why?… Why did you do that?! You could have said, what road cone? I don't know what you're talking about? But no, you had to take it hostage!!!" Shannon raged.

Terry shot him another look, " I pity you, Shannon. I really do."

With that, Terry walked off into Shannon's bedroom and began rummaging around. After a few minutes, the search yielded a large black duffel bag, which Terry threw on the bed.

" What are you going to do with that?" Shannon asked.

Terry ignored him. He picked up the road cone and began stuffing it into the duffel bag. He zipped up the bag and then headed toward the front door.

" Terry, where are you going?!" Shannon asked, panic seeping into his voice.

" To the corner of State and Knapp" Terry replied casually, as he went out the front door.

Shannon hesitated, unsure if he should follow. Finally, he burst out the front door and jogged down the sidewalk after Terry. When he caught up, he fell into step beside Terry.

Terry smiled, " It was nice of you to come, Mr. McFee."

Shannon nodded.

At eleven fifty-five, Shannon and Terry had arrived at the corner of State and Knapp. Shannon paced nervously near the corner of the sidewalk, while Terry casually leaned against a nearby light pole. The duffel bag was at Terry's feet. The street was relatively empty except for the occasional car.

At exactly midnight, a white car pulled up to the street corner. The driver rolled down his window just enough to be heard. The windows were tinted black.

Terry walked up to the car window.

" You Terry White?" a growly man asked.

Terry nodded.

" Do you have my road cone?" the voice asked.

Terry pointed toward Shannon who was now standing beside the duffel bag.

The man in the car jumped out and grabbed Terry by the arm, pushing him against the car. Shannon was frozen by fear as he watched the man handcuff Terry and push him into the back seat of the white car.

Suddenly, Shannon realized that the man was a police officer.

By this time, a marked squad car had pulled up across the street, and that officer was now stalking toward Shannon.

Growly grabbed Shannon by the arm, " Mr. McFee, I'm afraid that we're going to have to take you in for theft of city property."

" I don't know what you're talking about!" Shannon countered.

" We have video of Mr. White and yourself taking the road cone, from Officer Thomas's dash cam. He was driving an unmarked car last night." Growly replied.

" You'll be coming with me." Officer Thomas said, slightly smiling.

Shannon nodded as Officer Thomas took him into custody. Terry banged and thrashed violently around in the back of the unmarked car, protesting his arrest.

Fourteen years later.

Shannon McFee sat behind a small desk, tapping an ink pen on his clipboard. Terry sat across from him.

" Are you ready?" Shannon asked.

Terry nodded. Shannon picked up the telephone and quickly dialed a number.

" Hello… Is this John Patrick?… You have my road cone, I want it back… YOU HAVE MY ROAD CONE!… All right, meet me at the corner of State and Knapp… Midnight." Shannon hung up the phone.

" Are you ready, Officer White?" Shannon asked.

Terry smiled broadly, " I am, Officer McFee."

" Now, aren't you glad we were parked across the street from the Dairy Queen last night? We would have never seen those kids take that road cone if we weren't." Shannon said.

Outside of the Baltimore City Police Department, Shannon climbed into an unmarked, white squad car. Terry entered a blue squad car with Baltimore City Police painted down the side in silver and red.

Terry picked up the radio, " Officers White and McFee are reporting 10-86. We are now 10-76 to the road cone pick up."

Shannon smiled and gave Terry the thumbs up, then both drove away into the night. They had to deal with a hostage situation.