From the Inside Flap
"Come on, cabana boy," Po Po said, twisting her upper body to look out the rear window. "Hey! A threesome. Oh, she's a super freak. I like her already."
Raina pulled up next to the curb, thankful she didn't have to deal with parallel parking. She whipped around to see what her grandma was crowing about.
Two Hispanic men with dark sunglasses and full beards--scruffy and definitely not cabana boy caliber--came out of the white van. They opened the SUV driver door and pulled the wife out of the vehicle. She screamed and threw a punch, but one man pinned her arms behind her.
"What's going on?" Po Po said, her voice full of alarm. "We have to do something."
Raina threw off her seatbelt and grabbed the pepper spray from her purse. "Call the police. She's getting kidnapped," she called over her shoulder. She took off toward the van.
One man held the woman against his chest, and the other pressed a rag against her mouth. Within seconds she sagged and went limp. They tossed her effortlessly into the van and slammed the door shut.
The van driver pulled out of the parking lot, nearly plowing into a car pulling into the lot. The car's driver honked and cursed at the white van. The van driver gave him the bird and peeled off the parking lot in a squeal of tires.
Raina pumped her arms and pushed a little harder. Even though she was in decent shape, she couldn't outrun a speeding vehicle. Her lungs burned, and her breath came out in loud puffs.
"Duck!" Po Po hollered from behind.
Raina dropped to the ground.
Air rushed past Raina. She lifted her head to see mini pumpkins smacking into the bumper and splattering onto the road. The white van swayed into oncoming traffic and over-corrected itself, sideswiping the parked vehicles.
The mini pumpkin missed its target, hit the parked green car by the curb, and splattered onto the road. The white van hooked a right and disappeared from view.
Raina got up and jogged back to her grandma. Po Po lowered a small cylindrical tube from her shoulder. Where did her grandma get the homemade pumpkin launcher? And how did she fit it into her bag?
"In the car. Let's go," Raina said, hopping in and turning on the engine. She made an illegal U-turn and chased after the white van, taking the right turn too wide for her comfort.
Po Po held onto the handle above the window, the pumpkin launcher cradled between her knees. With her other hand, she dug out her bird watching binoculars from her purse. "Six. Alpha. Foxtrot. Papa. One.Four. Two," she called out the license plates numbers. "I'll memorize the letters, and you'll memorize the numbers."
Raina nodded. "Okay. One-two-four."
"One-four-two," Po Po corrected, tossing the binoculars back into her bag. She leaned out the window and settled the pumpkin launcher between her shoulder and ear.
"What do you think you're doing?" Raina said, reaching across the center console to hold onto the elastic waistband of her grandma's jeans. "Sit down, Po Po. You'll fall out of the car, and I can't drive with one hand holding onto your behind."
"Just give me one shot." Her grandma aimed and pulled the trigger. A mini pumpkin launched out of the tube and missed the van.
The van driver slammed on the brakes and hooked a left, almost getting into a head-on collision with traffic from the opposite lane.
Raina pulled up to the next intersection to make a legal U-turn. By the time she got to the street where she'd last seen the white van, it was long gone--along with the woman she was paid to tail.