The Eighth Page

Scourge of the Black Death

Men love adrenaline. As a man, I love adrenaline. I am not content to die without having lived on the edge; I want to leave this earth in one final but incredible inferno. At seventeen, I am not allowed to personally own a gun, but I can own a car. I take advantage of this sad flaw in American policy to the utmost. When I affectionately insert my key into the “Black Death,” my aptly named black Dodge Caliber (it would be a .45 Caliber if it were a firearm), pedals pump, wheels turn and volatile fluids and kinetic energy are transferred from chamber to chamber. My little beastie responds with an almost sexual passion to my every touch. The garage barely has time to open wide enough to provide clearance for the car when the gearshift slams into reverse and the pedal touches to the floor. The wheel turns slightly and with a metallic scrape, my rear bumper collides straight into the car parked right behind me. That little gland above my kidneys moves into overdrive. I cannot help but wonder whether somebody moved Hell to my heart or if the burning sensation in my chest is just the searing kiss of my favorite neurotransmitter. I am not without scruples, but it was her fault for parking there. I say “her” because it was probably a woman. A man would have understood the primordial need to accelerate out of a garage backwards at a ludicrous speed without checking his mirrors and never would have parked behind a fellow male’s exit. I can worry about the damage later; my pupils have stopped dilating and are returning to normal. Right now, another primal need is trying to stop that from happening. The gearshift slams upward into drive and my right hand continues upward to the wheel. I hit a ditch and the right tires spin, flinging dirt into the air as I turn the wheel left a fraction of an inch and avert sure bedlam and further carnage. That ambrosial concoction of C9H13NO3 continues to flow steadily through me, and I love it. The devil should take up some other residence besides my chest, or at least turn on the A/C. The pedal continues its descent to the floor as leaves jump like scared rabbits from my path. The deer, however, does not. In one fluid motion my foot removes itself from one pedal, slamming hard on another. Arms locked out, eyes locked open, tires locked in position, I skid with a clamor to a stop inches from the majestic beast, settling in a haze of tire smoke. The “Black Death” has benevolently spared yet another soul from premature damnation. Antlers, it’s a male; he should be thanking me for his daily rush of chemicals. I’m thanking him as I accelerate past, regaining lost speed, momentum, and heart rate. Here comes the incline and the pedal is touching the floor. The overdrive kicks in with an audible roar. All annoying bird sounds of the woods have left my ears; even the Chili Peppers are blocked out by the beautiful din of gasoline being consumed at the rate of a gallon per second. Here it comes, hardest part now, the Appomattox of the road. I might not make it so tell my mother I love her. Tell Eli I’m sorry about the hairball incident in 2nd grade.Tell my brother I know he drinks straight out of the milk carton and that I knew he was doing it so I spit in it and told the rest of my family it was bad so that they shouldn’t drink it, but didn’t tell him and he drank it. I have to concentrate on the task now, no more time for thinking, straight reflex now, spin the wheel right, lean into it, further…further… I’m horizontal now, g-forces peaking, up and out, I’m free! Obeying all traffic rules as a law-abiding citizen, I hit my left blinker and smoothly merge with oncoming traffic.