Horsepower

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: July 13, 2017

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Submitted: July 13, 2017

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I have always found the sheer power of cars to be overwhelming but severely underestimated by most people. I have to renew my passport every few years just to be a passenger on a plane. But I prove that I can read traffic signs when I’m 16 and for the rest of my life I’m allowed to hurl a two-thousand-pound hunk of metal across the freeway.

This afternoon I drove on a road taking me down the side of a mountain. Switchbacks littered the road and the steering wheel suffocated from the grip of my hands. The rocks that were flung from my rear tires would roll and not stop until they reached the base of the mountain. Every time the road curved right I peered out the window and felt slightly dizzy, a fall down the side a sure death. I had no time to spare, though, I had a dentist appointment at three.

As I rounded the twenty sixth to last bend, I saw an older man in the middle of the road shooting the view with his Nikon DLSXF-6500. His silver Toyota held his silver-haired wife, who in turn held a tangibly annoyed expression on her face, pissed off that her husband spends all his time fingering that fucking camera instead of her.

As a polite gesture, he moved to the left of the road, closer to the cliff and away from his wife, to allow me just enough room to pass. He shot me a close-mouthed smile and a quick wave before gripping the camera again and returning to work.

Passing between the man, his true love, and then the car with his wife was a difficult feat, slowing me down and keeping me that much longer from the verdict of my potential cavity. There was maybe two inches between my left side mirror and the back of this man’s Ralph Lauren sweater. It got me thinking what might happen if I nudged my wheel and made this man a part of the landscape he was so eager to capture.

My compulsion overtakes my body. The rush of adrenaline gives me a jolt of energy and I pick up my speed. I’m slightly worried about how hard I hit the man, but I don’t think cashmere can scratch car paint, can it?

While rounding the next bend as fast as possible without passing out, I catch one last glimpse of the ma mid-air before he disappears beneath the cliff’s horizon. The look on his face is disconcerting, sort of a mixture of confusion and worry. Not quite what I had expected from someone who just received a free skydiving session.

I’ve always wondered what thoughts run through the minds of people unintentionally falling to their death. Are they thinking about their loved ones, yearning to say those three words one more time? Is it a primal, instinctual reaction where they immediately fight for survival? Or are they worried they never wrote down the password for their Wells Fargo account, even though they’ve been telling Karen they would everyday for the past five weeks? I wish I could ask him now. I should have planned this better.

It is at this point that his wife is out of her husband’s her car, trying to see where he fell and yelling something I can barely understand. I bet she is asking for the bank account password.

She is visibly devastated and while I love a good drama, I need to keep my eyes on the road. These switchbacks are quite dangerous. I wish there were a better – a safer way – to drive down mountains. What if I drove off the edge? What if I were killed?

I finally reach the base of the mountain and spot the mangled mess that was once the most successful amateur photographer in the Walden household. His deep red cashmere sweater is no longer the deepest red on his body. His arms and legs are positioned in a way I never thought was humanly possible until watching gymnastics during the Beijing Summer Olympics of 2012. What incredible moves they can do!

Unsure how to react, I shoot him a close-mouthed smile and a quick wave before continuing on the road. I would have spent some more time to say a prayer or something, but it is 2:55 p.m., and I have a dentist appointment at three.

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This afternoon, while driving on a mountainous road, I passed by a man in a deep red sweater. He was busy photographing the beautiful landscape to my left. To make room for me to pass, he moved closer to the road’s edge and continued working with his camera. I was in quite a rush, so I drove by at a speed slightly higher than I would if I were making an effort to be polite. As I passed by, dust and gravel billowed from beneath my tires. “Fuck you!” I heard, as the dust from my car dirtied his beautiful cashmere.


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