Drive Into Danger by Rosemary Border

 
Mark Miles has many trucks. They drive all over Europe taking different things to different places. 
 
But today, Mark and his son Andy are having a bad morning. One of their drivers, Gary Slater, has a bad arm and cannot drive. And there are important things to do - some tables must go from England to France, and some wine must come from France to England. But Kim Parker can help - she can drive a truck.
 
Gary says, 'At about one o'clock, you need to stop for 15 minutes at this truck stop here.' He puts an X on the map - he is being very helpful.
 
So Kim drives the truck to France, with Mark's son Andy - but it is a drive into danger ...

Rosemary Border


A TRUCK WITHOUT A DRIVER

Mark Miles and his son Andy are having a bad morning. 'Where's Gary?' says Mark. 'He isn't usually late. The truck is ready. Everybody's waiting.' 

Then Gary Slater comes to the office. He is ill. 'I've got a bad arm, Mr Miles,' says Gary. 'I'm very sorry, but I can't drive today.'

Just then Kim Parker arrives. She is a student. Her father is one of Mark's drivers. She is working in Mark's office in her holiday.

'Good morning, Mr Miles,' says Kim. 'What can I do first?'

'Can you drive a truck?' says Mark with a little laugh.

'I've got tables in Faversham and wine in Lyon - and no driver!'

'Yes, I can drive a truck,' says Kim. 'I've got a licence.'

'Wonderful!' says Mark. He is looking happier. 'Have you got a passport?'

'Of course. It's at home.' Suddenly Mark is much happier.

'OK. Can you take a truck to France? Here is some French money and these are all the papers - read them carefully.'

'Can I go too, Dad?' asks Andy. 'I can't drive a truck, but I can drive a car and read a map - and I can speak French. Perhaps I can help Kim.'

'And you want to go to France. I know! OK, you two. Run home and get your passports, your overnight bags and some sandwiches. There are sleeping bags in the truck, and a mobile phone too. When you come back, go and look at the map with Gary. He drives to France every week. He can tell you about it.'

GARY MAKES A PHONE CALL

'Get the tables from the shop at Faversham,' says Gary. 'Then take the ferry from Dover to Calais. At Calais, look for signs to the A26 motorway. It's a good, fast road.'

'Listen - this is very important. All truck drivers must stop for 45 minutes in every 4 hours.'

'I know,' says Kim.

'OK. There are truck stops on every French road. At about one o'clock, you need to stop for 15 minutes at this truck stop here.' He puts an X on the map.

'Don't stay in the truck; get out, walk about and get some coffee. You don't want to go to sleep when you are driving. At about four o'clock you must stop again here, near Dijon.' Again, Gary puts an X on the map.

'The cafe at the truck stop makes wonderful coffee. Good luck, and drive carefully,' says Gary.

Andy and Kim get into the truck and drive away – and Gary makes an important phone call.

'Hullo. Gary here. I can't drive today, but tell Paul it's OK - the truck stop near Reims at one, and Dijon at four. Look for a girl with brown hair and a boy in a yellow shirt.'

THE TRUCK IS LOSING OIL!

Andy and Kim arrive at Faversham. They tell the man about Gary's arm.

'The tables are ready. My men can put them in the truck. We can sit in my office and wait. Would you like some coffee?' the man says.

They leave the truck and go into the office.

Kim and Andy drive to Dover and take the ferry to Calais. They drive off the ferry, and out of Calais. They find the motorway - and a big STOP sign.

'We need a ticket,' says Andy. He puts his hand out of the window to take the ticket; but he is too far away and the ticket goes under the truck. Andy jumps down and goes to get it.

'OK, I've got it now,' Andy calls to Kim. 'But the truck is losing oil. Not much, but we must do something about it soon.'

'OK,' says Kim. 'I can do that at the truck stop. Come on - let's go!'

They arrive at the truck stop near Reims at about one o'clock. Kim gets under the truck.

'You're right,' she tells Andy. 'The truck is losing oil. But it isn't very bad.' Then suddenly she calls to Andy.

'Come and have a look at this.'

There is a box under the truck.

'Is it a sandwich box?' asks Andy. 'Perhaps Gary puts his sandwiches in it.'

'Under a hot, dirty, oily truck?' says Kim. 'Nobody does that! Oh well, I need some coffee.' She goes to the cafe.

ON THE ROAD

They get into the truck again and drive along the motorway.

'Our next stop is near Dijon,' said Andy. 'Dijon is in Burgundy. They make wonderful wine there.'

'I don't want any wine,' laughs Kim, 'but I do want some coffee.'

They arrive at the truck stop just before four and sit down in the cafe. Suddenly Andy says, 'Someone's looking under the truck!'

Through the window of the cafe they see a fat man in a green shirt. He takes something out from under the truck and goes to a red car.

'I don't like this,' says Kim quietly. 'Let's go!'

A few minutes later, Kim looks in her mirror.

'Andy,' she says quietly, 'There's a red car behind us. And the man in the green shirt is driving. Why is he following us? He's got his parcel.'

'No, he hasn't,' says Andy with a laugh. 'He's got our sandwiches. And I've got his parcel. Here it is.'

He opens it carefully. In it are about fifty small white paper bags.

'What's this?' says Andy.

'Drugs, I think,' says Kim. 'And the man in the green shirt wants them. He doesn't want your sandwiches, and he's angry. We're in danger, Andy. I must do something.'

The red car is only a few metres behind. Kim stops suddenly. The red car runs into the back of the truck.

Kim drives away again very fast. In her mirror she sees the man in the green shirt standing by his car.

'He can't follow us now,' Andy says with a smile.

But the man is very angry and quickly takes out a small black mobile phone.

THE RUBBISH DUMP

'We must leave the motorway,' says Kim.

They take a quiet country road through small villages. Suddenly Andy sees a big sign on their left. 'Go in there!' he says.

'But it's a rubbish dump. Why do you want to go there?' says Kim.

But she drives through the entrance. Andy opens his window and throws the parcel of drugs into the nearest skip.

'We must phone for help,' says Andy.

But just then two men arrive in a white car. A man in a black suit is driving. The man in the green shirt is with him.

The two men leave their car across the entrance and jump out. The man in the suit has a gun.

'Now we can't drive out of here,' thinks Kim. 'Oh dear ... '

The two men run up to the truck and stand by Kim's door.

'Give me the parcel,' says the man in the black suit very quietly.

'Run, Andy!' says Kim. Quickly Andy opens his door and jumps out of the truck. He runs to the white car. The man in the green shirt follows him, but he is too fat and slow. Andy gets into the car and drives away.

Kim opens her door suddenly. The big mirror hits the man in the suit. He falls down, and loses his gun. Quickly Kim jumps out of the truck and gets the gun.

'Your drugs are in that skip,' she says. 'Go and get them. Take your friend with you.'

The two men go up the ladder and look down into the skip.

'Go on!' says Kim. 'You want them. Go and look for them.'

The two men jump down into the skip. Quickly Kim takes the ladder away. Now the men cannot get out.

THE POLICE ARE COMING

Carefully Kim puts the gun in her overnight bag. Then she goes to the truck and telephones the police. A French policeman answers.

'Hullo, do you speak English?' she asks the policeman on the phone.

But Kim does not speak French, and the French policeman does not understand English.

'Where's Andy?' thinks Kim. 'He speaks French.'

Just then a white car comes through the entrance to the rubbish dump. It stops, and Andy jumps out. He runs up to Kim.

'It's OK, Kim,' he says. 'The police are coming.'

A few minutes later a French police car arrives. Four policemen jump out. Kim gives them the gun.

'Where are the drugs?' asks one of the policemen. 'And where are the men?'

'In that skip,' says Andy with a laugh. The policemen get the ladder.

Later that evening Andy and Kim drive to Lyon with the tables. They have coffee and long French sandwiches in a cafe. Then they go to the wine shop. They arrive very late. A fat, little man is waiting for them. He looks angry.

'Why are you late?' asks the man.

'Well. . . ' begins Kim.

'It's a long story,' says Andy tiredly.

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