Looking at this amazing car, the only one I had ever seen in person, I suddenly realized that on the other side of that beard was someone I recognized. Someone who had enjoyed a comfortable felonious life until I had unmasked him. Thereby causing him to bear quite a grudge against me.
I turned and said, "Say, aren't you…" and stopped all of a sudden when I saw that he had reached into the car and produced a handgun, of which the business end was pointed right at me. Oops.
"Yeah. During the fire you didn't come down the hill to check on me, did you?" He gave me a grin that showed some teeth.
"You, uh, didn't seem too happy just then," I said. In fact, I had hoped and assumed that this guy had exited my life for all time.
"Lucky I don't use a seat belt," he said. "I rolled free and managed to get under cover. But you really ruined my day. So of course you have to pay." He motioned. "Get in the car, you're driving."
"Mm, I guess I don't have much choice," I said.
That grin again. "Of course you have a choice." A pause for emphasis. "I can kill you now, or you can take a chance on being killed later."
"Your logic is unassailable," I said, shoehorning myself into the driver's position. "Where to?"
"Coastline Drive. I think you know the route." A push on the Engine Start button and we were on our way.
This was really annoying. Chet had unveiled himself as Astro, a former colleague who had earnestly tried to kill me more than once. It's true, I had disrupted his criminal career and consigned him to an uncomfortable probable death. But he seemed ready to visit forty times forty revenges upon me.
So here I was with an armed homicidal maniac in an unfamiliar car. Moreover, an extremely overpowered car, not at all suited to Pacific Coast Highway. With an uncertain but probably unpleasant fate awaiting me at the destination.