As compiled by John Mullan
, over at The Guardian
: 10 Of The Best Chases In Literature
A good chase needs suspense, and a very good reason for the chasee to flee the chaser. I like his choices bar two, which I haven't read yet, but which I should find and get to.
Chases, hehe. This reminds me of a real-life chase I participated in back in the late 80's.
I was a junior in college, still a boy, when, after classes ended one September afternoon, I accompanied a friend--whom I will call B. to protect his identity--from Quezon City
. B. and I lived fairly close to each other, and when our schedules allowed, we always rode home together (sometimes we took the air-conditioned Love Bus--the best pic I could find of it is this shirt
with the logo--a relic of public transportation from twenty-plus years ago). B.'s father had asked him to buy some tools and small pieces of construction material--screws, tox, nails, rugby, thinner, and such--from the hardware store, and he didn't want to go alone. Even though the stores were farther away from our homes than others that sold the same items, we always bought from Recto because the prices were much lower there.
All told, things went pretty much as expected. We left school and reached Recto in less than an hour with no incident. We walked into our favorite hardware store, and B. spoke to the sales help as I browsed the shelves. After about ten minutes of discussion and a bit of haggling, B. got and paid for what his father needed, and done was done.
While waiting on the sidewalk for a jeep--B. and I were talking about stopping by Ma Mon Luk
along Quezon Avenue for a snack before heading home--someone tapped B. on the shoulder. B. turned to see a middle-aged, big-boned, tall man in heavy make-up and bedecked in costume jewelry grinning a toothy grin. I noticed at once how red the man's lipstick was, how powder-white his face, how his earrings dangled like large Christmas ornaments from his ear lobes, how each of his fingers were adorned with gaudy rings. I recognized the man at once for his outfit; he had been in the store with us, though since the place was dimly lit I didn't see his face then, but only his clothes. He wore a shiny, velvet shirt with a long, transparent, red shawl or scarf draped over his shoulders. His pants were tight, and white, painful to the eyes (and probably his groin), and he wore the ugliest pair of square-toed white shoes I had ever seen. I can still see the tasteless gold buckles on them in my mind's eye, which matched the equally tasteless gold buckle of his very yellow belt.
" he said, though it really came out as "Haaiiii. Kumustaaaaa?"
, his voice like overly sweet molasses oozing down a tilted surface.
B. didn't respond, but he smiled nervously and took a step back. The man took a step forward. B. took another step back...and fell off the sidewalk, landing on his butt. Thankfully, no jeep was pulling up to the curb, otherwise B. would've become instant roadkill. What that shameless cretin, that walang hiya
(I'm talking about my friend, not Mr. Red Scarf), did afterward I will never forget. That dork, B., got to his feet faster than you can say "Lester the Molester" and took off, right in the middle of the avenue.
My first thoughts were, "Holy sh*t! He's gonna' kill himself!", but my friend expertly dodged every car on the street without skipping a beat, without losing either his knapsack or the plastic bag with his purchases; I'm just thankful that traffic wasn't too heavy. You know how those receivers in American football
can evade all those huge defensive backs going after them with murder on their minds? Well, that's how fast B. was. He zigged. He zagged. He successfully avoided vehicles like there was no tomorrow. It was amazing what a little panic and a heightened sense of survival can do for you...as I was about to find out for myself.
The reason I will never forget how that idiot, B., ran off, is that in a few seconds I realized that he had left me alone with that clown in the funny costume! "Holy sh*t! He left me behind!" Realizing perhaps the same thing almost at the same time, Mr. Make-Up and Bright White Pants turned his smile onto me, whereupon I took flight also, right on the heels of my friend, cars and jeeps be damned.
I'd never have guessed it would happen, but Mr. Red-Lips and Dangling Earrings then took off after us!
You know those old Looney Tunes
cartoons of that love-sick skunk, Pepé Le Pew
? How he would chase the cat which he thought was a female skunk? That cat would run away all frantic and at top speed while Pepé would just hop along nonchalantly after her, but the distance between them never increased, and in fact, diminished. Well, that was us: We were the cat, and Mr. Costume Jewelry and Ugly White Shoes was the skunk. Press the fast-forward button and cue the Benny Hill chase music
, "Yakety Sax
I don't know how many corners we made, how many stores we ran into and ran out of, how many right or wrong turns we took. I don't know how much distance we covered, how many minutes passed, how many times we said, "Put*ngin*! Put*ngin*! Put*ngin*!"
, but like all good and clichéd comedic chase scenes, we ended up right where we started; we had run down a pedestrian overpass and through some stroke of good fortune found ourselves right in front of the hardware store again. And just our extended good luck! A jeep pulled up to the front, right on time, like the cavalry. We hopped on, B. screaming "Andar na!"
to the driver, who thankfully listened. In a cloud of diesel exhaust we escaped in the direction of Quezon City, and home.
The last we saw of Mr. Powder-White and Velvet Shirt, he was on the overpass, watching our jeep drive off, slapping the railings with his hands in frustration. It was a long time before we went back to Recto, let me tell you, cheaper prices or not.
Now, there's a chase for you.