Hit & Run by Emily O'Rourke  My brother Raymond and I should have left our friends’ house thirty minutes ago, but we can’t leave in the middle of Pitch Perfect. The leather couch and fuzzy blanket are magnetic. Outside, the wind pulls and tugs at the trees, and the sky is pitch black. At around ten o’clock, the first clap of thunder comes booming into the living room. Shortly after that, I get a call from my father, “Hey Em, why don’t you start heading home before it starts raining?” “Yeah, yeah I’ll be home in ten.” I look to my friend, who is also named Emily, and say, “My dad wants me to come home, but you have to record this for me.” Raymond and I slowly get up. Jack, my friend’s brother, asks, “Yeah, that’s smart. It looks pretty intense outside. Are you sure you’ll be okay getting home?” I respond, “Yeah, it’s just wind, right?” As Raymond and I walk outside, there is more thunder, quickly followed by rain, lots of rain. We get in the car, start the engine, and turn on the useless windshield wipers. In thirty seconds a drizzle turns into a downpour. I look out the back window, I can’t see anything. I look to the side view mirrors. Nothing. All I can see is Emily and Jack’s house, their neighbor’s house and their white sedan parked in the back left corner of the driveway. I either have to reverse down the narrow, Y-shaped, sixty-foot driveway or attempt a sixteen-or-more-point turn. I say,“Okay let’s try and reverse down this driveway.” “You have done this before, right?” “Yeah, but only in the daytime, with someone directing me.” “Oh, good. Good.” Okay, the car is in reverse, but I can’t see anything. Here we go. The rain is pounding on the roof. We start moving back. I turn the wheel to the right slightly, but not enough and I run straight over the delicate light purple daisies that Mrs.Shortell spent the spring planting and watering. “Okay, let me try this again.” I go back to my starting position. This time I turn too much to the right and back into their bushes on the other side of the driveway. “Fuck this. I am just going to turn around up there.” “Uh, yeah…okay, whatever you want to do.” Raymond sits at the edge of the seat and stretches his neck to try and see what I will run into next. I pull up to my starting position again. I drive up onto their lawn a little to make my turn. “Their grass is already ruined from the construction on the barn. They won’t care, right?” Raymond reassures me that it’s fine. I cut the wheel all the way to the right and reverse slowly. Raymond reads a text from my father, “Don’t leave the Shortell’s house yet. Wait until the storm is over.” “Well, it’s just too late for that now. I can’t go back in there after ten minutes and tell them I was not able to even get out of their driveway.” I put the car in drive, move forward, and then reverse again. I do this about six more times. The rain falls heavily on my windshield and the wipers only push the water around. I can make out a white blurry car in front of me and wet leaves flying into my rear windshield through the rain. I think I can get out now. I quickly drive forward, I have to get home. Smack! I slam into the back right corner of the white sedan. Both cars shake. “Shit!” I reverse, fast. I hit something else they had sitting in their driveway. It sounds like a house of wooden cards crashes down. I’m too scared to turn around and see what else I hit. “Shit! Shit! Shit! Ah! What do I do? Should I get out and see if I dented the car?” “No, no. It’s fine. Just go. Don’t worry about it.” I follow my brother’s advice and just drive. I have to get home. There are no cars out on the street. Thunder crashes above us. The sky is illuminated for two seconds by lightning and then the streetlights go out. Wind flings the cables and tree branches around. “Raymond, this is the part in the movie when the car battery dies and then the axe murderer finds us and kills us.” “Emily, shut up!” I turn my brights on, but it doesn’t matter because my windshield wipers still don’t work and I only see rain. After driving for five minutes, I begin to comprehend what just happened. “Holy shit, Raymond, I just hit Mr. Shortell’s car. That was a hit and run. I just tore that driveway apart. He’s going to hate me forever.” “No, it’s fine don’t worry about it. It was more like a love tap. Just focus on driving.” “No, Ray Ray. I hit his car. Do you think I left a dent?” “Um, yeah, I mean you hit it pretty hard, but it’s fine.” “What are you serious? Do you really think I dented it? Oh my gosh, what am I going to say to him?” “I don’t know, Emily. Can we just focus on driving and getting home right now?” “Yeah, but do you know what the other thing that I hit was?” “No, and I don’t want to.” Suddenly, there is a loud, but slow cracking sound. It’s not rain or thunder. I slow down. A huge tree collapses on the road ten feet in front of me, louder than thunder. My lights show me green leaves and the snapped bottom of the tree. The branches on the ground are still being hurled back and forth by the wind. I can’t speak. Raymond says, “What the hell is going on? This is the type of shit that happens in movies.” My only reaction is to reverse again because the tree blocks the entire road. Always empathetic, Raymond says, “Oh, great, we are reversing again.” I hit Raymond across his chest in one swift motion—a good smack says a thousand words. “Ugh! Two hands on the wheel Emily!” I take the long way home since the way we planned to take is now barricaded by an old oak tree. It’s only drizzling when we get home. Raymond and I inspect the front and back of my car. There are white marks on the front of the car, but I can wipe them off. “Oh my gosh, Ray Ray does that mean there are black marks on the Shortell’s car?” He replies with a comforting, “I mean, if we’re lucky that is the only mark on the Shortell’s car.” When my brother and I walk into our kitchen, our parents are surprised to see us. My father asks, “Did you just drive through that storm?” “Um, yeah…and, um, we are fine, but I kinda, sorta bumped into Mr. Shortell’s car when I was pulling out of their driveway. I don’t know if I dented it because I didn’t stop. I had to get home and I didn’t know what to do.” “Oh God, okay. I’m sure it’s fine, but show me what part of our car hit Mr .Shortell’s.” I show my father the car— no dents, just white scratches. I tell him how I tried to back up out of the driveway, how I failed, and he just laughs. “Dad, I don’t think this is amusing. It was a legitimate hit and run. I hit Mr. Shortell’s car!” “Don’t worry, I’ll call him in the morning. He is probably asleep right now.” The next morning, I force my father to call Mr. Shortell early before he leaves the house and sees his car. My father makes the call and walks into another room. I can barely make out what they are saying, but I can hear them laughing. My father sarcastically says, “Yeah, I know. Please don’t sue!” and then he laughs at his own humorless joke. The conversation changes direction and my father invites the Shortell family to dinner. He gets off the phone and tells me, “He didn’t notice anything on the car. There are no dents or scratches. You’re off the hook.” The Shortell family came over and the joke of the night was my driving. Emily, my friend, says to me, “Oh my gosh, that story is the funniest thing I have ever heard.” I can only respond, “Yeah… it was hilarious.”