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Close Encounters of the Dad Kind

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Somewhere in New Mexico...

Tires squealed, grating on ex-FBI Din Djarin’s ears. “Hold onto something!” He shouted.

“The door’s gone!” Cara Dune gasped, in the front seat.

“What?!”

“The fucking door is gone! What part of that do you not understand?!” She snapped.

Din hazarded a look, and realized she was right. The door to his tiny, ancient Chevy had been torn off by the crash with the armored car just seconds earlier.

Lightning flashed, lighting up the landscape for a split second-the endless desert, punctuated by dried out brush, and military trucks. He caught a glimpse of himself in the rearview mirror for a second as well. Haggard, unshaven, and wild-eyed like a rabbit in a snare, so desperate to flee he was only choking himself.

A man on the run.

Thunder crashed, so loud it made Din’s ears ring, and there was a pitiful cry from the backseat. The kid, dear God. He must be scared to death.

Din pressed down harder on the gas pedal, his foot now flat against the floor. The engine roared, and Din could smell the fumes as the car worked overtime to meet his high standards for speed. The windshield wipers were a joke, far too slow to wipe away the endless torrent of rain that battered the window. He was essentially driving blind.

Gunfire interrupted the sounds of the engine and rain, making Din and Cara duck down. There was no way to tell where it was coming from. It seemed to be all around them. Based on the amount of people chasing them, it probably was.

“LOOK OUT!” Cara screamed.

Out of nowhere, a massive armored car appeared in front of them, prepared to run them down. Din swerved in a panic, slamming the brakes, but the car went into a tailspin, and Din’s side of the car crashed into the armored one, sending them careening over the edge of the road, into a muddy ditch.

When the car started to roll, spiraling uncontrollably, Din decided there was no way this was real. It didn’t feel real, certainly. It was like watching a movie of someone else, someone else who was almost certainly about to die. A very disappointing way to end a movie, if Din had any say in it.

Distantly, as glass flew around him and he heard the kid wailing in pain and fear, he remembered a stupid icebreaker question he had heard once. He didn’t remember where, it didn’t matter.

If you could write a script for the rest of your life, what would it say?

It was a stupid question, and there were stupid answers. How was Din supposed to know how he wanted the rest of his life to play out? Things changed, and they would change no matter what he put on the script now. What he wanted now was almost certainly going to change from day to day, even if it was in small ways.

Okay, Din thought to himself as he heard metal squeal, and something sharp-glass most likely-slash his face, dangerously close to his eye. Okay, if I could write a script for the rest of my life right now, I’d like to survive this, for one, with minimal injuries if possible. Oh no? The director calls for mutilation? Oh, alright, I suppose. I’d like to get away from these guys, and go far, far away somewhere safe, and get the kid home, and maybe the aliens will be so grateful they’ll erase everyone else’s memories so Cara and I can go back to our lives. Oh, the director says that’s not possible? This is a tragedy? Well, let me tell you, I’m fucking sick of writing tragedies.

Din closed his eyes tightly, wondering what death was like.

The car slammed into something hard, and Din’s head jerked roughly to the side, hitting something hard. Stars appeared before his eyes, he heard someone shout and-

Everything was quiet.