The following passage is taken from “Home Ground,” a short story Al Nussbaum published in September 1975 in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, under one of his many writing pseudonyms, A.F. Oreshnik.
The story, like some – but hardly all – of Nussbaum’s fiction, features an explicitly Western New York location.
“Basil slammed the car door, started the engine and pulled away, all in one unbroken motion. He went around the traffic circle and sped out Airport Drive toward the main road. As soon as he had seen the man’s reaction, he’d realized he had made a blunder. Just because no one would be looking for him at the airport terminal didn’t mean no one would see him. He had arrived before his pursuers had an opportunity to reorganize and take up the chase again – and he’d run right into two of them.
The traffic light was with him when he reached the highway. He made a right turn toward Buffalo and shot a quick glance at the road behind him. A yellow Corvette was speeding down the drive, passing the other cars as though they weren’t moving. Basil didn’t need three guesses as to who was in it.
He slammed his foot to the floor and kept it there. Half a mile later he flashed across Union Road and looked back to find the sports car was gaining on him. Some cars were blocking both right-hand lanes, so he crossed the double line and passed them with his horn blaring. There was a turnoff for the Thruway, but he kept going. The quickest way to get fouled up would be to get on a road he didn’t know well. He decided to stick with ones he’d ridden on his bicycle as a boy. .....
At Walden Avenue he found a huge plaza had been built on the swampy marsh where he’d once hunted frogs, but the Corvette had taken up the chase again and was gaining. He was too busy looking for a way to lose his pursuers to think about the changes that had occurred since his youth. The road ahead went over several New York Central Railroad lines and Broadway Avenue, which ran parallel to the tracks. This looked like it might provide a chance to give the Corvette the slip.”
To read more of Al Nussbaum’s writing, visit the websites his daughter, Alison, has put together about her father. An overview website is viewable here: www.albertnussbaum.com. The Kickstarter campaign to fund an anthology of Nussbaum’s work is viewable here: www.kickstarter.com/projects/nuttree/turning-sentences-into-words.
– Charity Vogel