Curbside Fiction: The Consultation


Brian Crawford was savoring the warm evening breeze as he sat out under the oak tree in his front yard.  Sipping on a cool one, he looked around admiring the landscaping he had performed on his property.  With it being mid-July, he knew his time was quickly winding down for addressing the countless number of projects he still had on his mental agenda.  He would be focusing his efforts at the university in less than a month.

At age 36, Brian was very much the non-traditional college student.  However, Brian had had some lucrative jobs in the past which, combined with his reluctance to spend money, meant he had been able to accumulate a fair amount.  While he was still contracting work out, he was doing so judiciously to allow him to focus on bettering himself.  Gaining an education was Brian’s primary focus in life these days.


Gazing around his property, his focus had drifted to his ’85 Riviera.  Brian begrudgingly admitted it didn’t look as sharp as it did when he had purchased it new fifteen years earlier, but it would always be Old Reliable to him.  He was admiring its still elegant lines when the telephone rang.  It was Nathan.

Brian had a checkered history with Nathan; he loathed the guy, but knew it best to separate emotion from business.  Nathan had tossed a decent amount of business his way over the last few years.

As Brian answered the phone, he was given an offer for a quick consulting job.  Nathan assured him it would be three days maximum which included drive time.  The fee for his work was quite handsome and it persuaded Brian to accept the offer.  He said he would leave in the morning.

Hanging up the phone, with daylight starting to wane, Brian walked out to his pole barn and opened the door.  Scanning the interior reflected Brian’s only true allowance of spending money – even then, it was modest.  Brian had a fetish for full-sized General Motors products, seven of which were in the barn.  The Riviera was the only one parked outside.  Brian had always rationalized the purchases by stating he needed them in his business.  This much was true.

Scanning his collection, the newest of which was twelve years old, Brian realized the Riviera hadn’t been truly exercised in a while.  Throwing his gear into the Riviera, he went to bed and arose early the next morning.


At exactly 4:00 am, Brian emerged from the house and got into the Riviera.  Hitting the starter resulted in a very familiar sound followed by the engine springing to life.  Letting it settle into a slow idle, Brian put the car in drive and headed north.

The Riviera was running great.  Brian was happy he had taken it, as none of his other cars was as comfortable.  He knew its 307 cubic inch V8 was no powerhouse, but it had enough power to make cruising comfortable and enjoyable.

Arriving in Minneapolis nine hours later, Brian was full of energy despite his long drive.  This was part of the reason he owned nothing but large, older GM products; he found them supremely comfortable, highly reliable, and they blended into their surroundings.  It was a triple win for him as each of these factors was critical to his mission.


The next two days flew by rapidly for Brian as there were simply so many details to address within his given timeframe.  The Riviera was a huge asset throughout this contractual period.  The thought was crossing Brian’s mind to address some of the various appearance issues on the Riviera upon his return.  The old girl did deserve something for fifteen years of faithful service.

On the third day, Brian resoundingly met his objective.  Brian had the Riviera full of fuel when he set out to return home.


He did not see the white Caprice that was following him from a distance.

Two hours out of Minneapolis, Brian pulled the Riviera into a truck stop.  As he went inside for a quick snack, and to meet his client for final payment, he did not notice the white sedan pull into the parking lot and park next to an identical blue one.  Meeting Nathan inside, Brian sat down across the booth from him.

“There was a success in the Twin Cities,” Brian said dryly to Nathan.  “You have what you owe me?”

“You are very good, Mr. Crawford.  Here is your fee,” Nathan said, passing Brian a thick, white envelope.  “Can we count on your assistance again in the future?”

“Only under the right circumstances; there are other priorities I have at this time,” Brian stated.

Nathan nodded in understanding.


After finishing his snack, Brian walked back outside.  Scanning the parking lot, his senses were immediately heightened upon seeing the two plain Chevrolet Caprices parked next to each other.  Brian calmly unlocked the Riviera, got in, and started the engine.  He carefully eased out of the parking lot and back onto the interstate.  Looking in his rearview mirror, he saw the headlights on both Caprices illuminate and they started moving as he exited the parking lot.

Thinking of various scenarios, Brian was more focused on what was behind him than what was in front of him.  With the cruise control set at 70 mph, the two Caprices were staying behind him about a quarter-mile.  Brian dropped his speed to 60 mph; the Caprices stayed at the same distance behind him.  He didn’t dare go faster than the posted 70 mph speed limit – so what to do?

Staying calm, Brian abruptly took the next exit.  Thinking quickly, Brian turned the Riviera left at the end of the ramp, went across the bridge, and turned left again – back toward Minneapolis.


The white Caprice saw the Riviera’s movements and followed while the blue Caprice continued on the interstate.

As the white Caprice followed the Riviera, the blue Caprice turned around by cutting through the median.

Brian was experiencing a controlled panic.  He saw the white Caprice following him.  At this point he knew he had two options:  He could make a run for it or he could attempt another evasion.  With the Caprice rapidly closing in on him, and knowing the capabilities of his ’85 Riviera versus those of his LT1 powered pursuers, Brian knew his only realistic option was to evade again.


Jamming the accelerator to gain a little distance, Brian’s speedometer climbed to its 85 mph maximum.  When his speed hit 85 mph, Brian turned out his headlights, slammed on the brakes, and turned the wheel to the left, aiming for the median.  His goal was to give himself some space and distance to navigate the median then proceed in the dark for a while to evade the Caprice.

Brian’s plan would have worked flawlessly had he entered the median a mere 10′ on either side of where he did.  He was not aware of the concrete drop inlets sprinkled in the median for drainage.  Brian did not realize this particular one was slightly above ground level and had rutted on either side, exacerbating the height issue.  Brian could not have hit this drop inlet any more square, ripping the oil pan off the Riviera.  The Riviera’s engine seized only a few hundred feet away from where he re-entered the highway.


Both Caprices, along with several others, were upon him nearly instantaneously.  Brian did not resist arrest.

As he sitting in the backseat of the white Caprice, the officer came up to him.  “Mr. Crawford, you are under arrest for the murder of Tony Santino and 29 counts of suspicion of murder.  You do appear to be quite the prolific hit-man, Mr. Crawford.”

“Only 29?  It appears I was doing something right.”

“Mr. Crawford, you and your Riviera have earned quite the reputation.  You must certainly like it as you’ve used it quite often.  It’s what gave you away this time.”

As Brian Crawford was being questioned in the Caprice, his beloved, one owner 1985 Buick Riviera was being loaded onto a rollback for transport to the impound lot.