Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Around the time the North Carolinians stole the honor of "First in Flight" from the Ohioans by stamping it indelibly on their mint and license plates, a young man from the city of Wright sat in his supercharged car. It didn't look fast, but it was—that was the whole point—for it was a getaway car.

The young man's hands were sweating. It wasn't that he hadn't done this before; something else was causing the autonomic response. If one had access to his thoughts at the time they'd go a bit like this: "It's not that. It's just nerves. It's just adrenaline. It's definitely NOT that!" Unfortunately for the young man, it was that, and he realized he couldn't lie to himself about it any longer. What he didn't realize was how pathetic his planned remedy for that was.

He reached into his glove compartment and got the small plastic bottle lying on its side that occupied the aforementioned space. It had the telltale label of having come from a pharmacy. The sweating young man sitting outside the branch office of a major chain bank had the condition known as RLS, or restless leg syndrome.

How many pills he consumed in the few minutes he sat waiting is unknown but the shivering and twitching legs relaxed, and the burning cramps subsided for the time being. He sat and waited.

Why, he wondered, was his partner-in-crime taking so long? This was Dayton, after all, and bank robberies certainly weren't a novelty to the metropolis. Everyone knew their part by now, didn't they? A man with a gun and possibly a mask would walk in, wave the gun, demand money, and everyone else would lie down, go running, or faint. What was taking so long? He turned off the idling motor.

The driver took to reading the up-till-then neglected list of side-effects which kept the bottle company. The list included: Light-headedness (especially when quickly standing up); fainting; drowsiness; auditory, visual, and/or tactile hallucinations; weight gain; its opposite, weight loss; nausea; trouble sleeping; unusual body movements, such as twitching; and general weakness. An ancillary list was found below the dominant one. It warned of compulsive gambling, hypersexuality, and overeating. With nothing left to do but wait the young man began to worry about some of these side-effects hampering his ability to drive.

He had been taking this medication for quite some time, he told himself, and hadn't experienced any of the adverse effects. Not only that, he continued to tell himself, but many of the side-effects seemed counteractive to one another. How could someone be both drowsy and have trouble sleeping or be nauseous and overeat? What's more, how could twitching be a side-effect for a drug that was designed to keep twitching and restless legs at bay? The young man dismissed the fears before being overwhelmed by drowsiness. He kipped, a relaxing breeze blowing in the open, driver-side window, cooling the drool dribbling down his cheek onto his shoulder…

"Go! Go! Go! Go!" The car door slammed shut and woke the napping man. His accomplice had four bags with him, presumably full of money. The gun was still in his hand and the ski mask was turned up, exposing his wide-eyed face.

"Huh?" The getaway driver rubbed his face. "I jus' had thuh weirdest dr~"

"What da fuck d' I care 'bout dat!? Get da fuck outta here!"

The driver's instincts took over. He cranked the ignition and the engine came to life. He threw it into gear and stomped the gas.

1st gear—The tires screamed, throwing dust into the air and leaving a patch the police would later use as evidence. The tires bit and the car jolted as the whole body leaned to one side. The tachometer shot up and the massive engine began begging for mercy, producing a loud, unpleasant throaty sound. He shoved down the clutch but his foot twitched and slipped off as he jammed the shift lever into second. A loud crunch was emitted from the car and the vibrations ran up the driver's arm while the car lurched forward from the lack of acceleration. He disengaged the clutch and slammed it back into second but his foot slipped again.

2nd gear—The tires screamed again and the ass came out as he was making a left on yellow, cutting in front of the oncoming traffic. Smoke began rolling off the tires. The steering wheel felt limp in his hands and he loosened his grip to let the front tires find their path. The rear tires, warming up, bit a second time and the rpms dove down as a mean growl came from the front of the car. The light poles on the side of the road passed with increasing speed and second ran out in a smooth fashion, the car going straight ahead since the turn.

3rd gear—There were no sounds from the tires this time but the ass sagged down and the front of the car tried to stand up, obstructing the horizon. The torque could still be felt twisting the car but it held true. By the time third ran out they were going over a hundred.

4th gear—A low rumble steadily came from the front of the car now. The climb in pitch was much slower than with the previous gears and loose parts of the interior and dashboard began to shudder from the frequency. The driver tapped the brakes three times hard.

2nd gear—The rpms flew back up and the tires let out a steady whine over the long, smooth right-hander. The driver looked in the rear-view mirror while shifting into third.

3rd gear—"Jesus Christ man! Cawm da fuck down!" The passenger was gripping onto what he could. The driver shifted into fifth, the engine rested, and they merged onto the highway.

5th gear—As the car slowed down to blend in with traffic dialogue ensued…

"Awwww sheeit! Man, we's in da loot!" The passenger was holding up one of the bags. "I bet we got's more 'an las' time!"

"How much?"

"Sheeit, I don' know, maybe fifdy thousan'."

"No, no, no. I mean, how much ya wanna bet?"


"How much d' ya wanna bet? We got a lot las' time. I reckon there's 'bout thirty-fi' sittin' in dem bags."

"Dat's still a lot!"

"So, how much ya wanna bet?"

"Man, I don't give no shit 'bout no bettin'! We's splittin', fifdy-fifdy." The passenger was starting to get aggravated.

"Aww, come on. You ain't a pussy, are ya?"

"Man, you best shut da fuck up before I change my mind and make dis here ALL mine."

"Pussy!" The driver said the first syllable low and then quickly rose in pitch for the second syllable, letting it ring out before spitting out a chain of them, "Pussy, pussy, pussy, pussy." He added, "And get yer damned hand off my leg, that shit ain't cool."

"Fool, I ain't got no hand on your fuckin' leg. You smokin' crack? Sheeit." The passenger let out a chuckle, hoping the awkward situation had abated and all this silly talk about betting would cease. He began to look through the bags for any dye packs, though had any been mixed in with the money they'd surely have gone off by now. He simply hadn't had time to look while his getaway driver was driving in a more erratic fashion than usual; he just wanted something to do so his buddy wouldn't talk to him for the time being. He thought about saying something to the driver about his awkward behavior but decided against it.

The driver began to run through the list of side-effects in his head and got worried. He shut up and kept his eyes fixed straight ahead, afraid even to give a furtive glance askance. His hands renewed their efforts at wetting his palms and he clenched the steering wheel. He began to hear the jingle of an ice-cream truck coming from behind. His stomach growled and all he could think about was food. The advertisement billboards that littered the sides of the highway stood above everything else. There were requests for the passing, potential customers to try a variety of services from matchmaking to legal council. All was advertised: gasoline, diesel, doctors' offices, fast food, dieting, local news channels and their Doppler capabilities, banking institutions, mortgage companies, cash advance lending agencies, bankruptcy and credit card debt assistance, educational facilities, churches and character readings, a whole slew of do-it-yourself stores, do-it-yourself self-help TV shows, suicide prevention hotlines, plastic surgery, demolition and construction. What grabbed the attention of the driver most were the food ads—each a seductive siren song urging him to take any exit that promised salvation from the void in his stomach making itself presently felt. The passenger was more interested in the police cars gaining on them and the money at his feet.

"Step on it, man! 5-0! 5-0!"

The driver peeked in the rearview mirror. He saw no police, only an armada of ice-cream trucks quickly gaining on him. Police or not, he wasn't keen on the idea of succumbing to the fleet tailing them and he downshifted and floored the throttle.

3rd gear—The engine gave an aggressive growl that steadily increased in pitch. The cars in front of him appeared flat and 2D, making it difficult for the driver to negotiate traffic. The engine red-lined and the tachometer bounced a few times before he shifted.

4th gear—The ice-cream truck jingle started to fade and before long was unnoticeable over the roaring engine. He swerved left and tried to fit between two cars, splitting the lane, and ended up swapping paint with the one on his right: a large, red SUV. The passenger side mirror was smashed and flayed about in the wind, seemingly ready to abandon the car at any moment. His legs started to shake convulsively.

"We need t' get off thuh highway," he informed his passenger.

3rd gear—The car leaned forward as he held the brakes steady.

"You okay, man?" The passenger had just buckled his seat belt. "You don' look so hot."

"I'm fine." Sweat was pouring down the driver's forehead and he appeared to be all but fine.

2nd gear—A red light greeted them at the end of the off ramp with two lanes packed full of cars. He chose the left shoulder, putting his half of the car in the gravel and dirt while the other half stayed on the pavement. This made braking tricky and he clutched out into neutral because the car was getting wobbly. Once he got past the stopped traffic he spun the wheel to the right and floored it, forgetting he wasn't in gear. He put it back in second and popped the clutch. The tires screeched, the ass wiggled, and the driver got the most solid erection he'd ever had.

3rd gear—Shifting was now a chore, his pants feeling tight and any movement of his legs pulled and tugged callously on him. The thoughts running through the young man's head were ineffable and he started to cry.

The passenger shouted, "Yo man, jus' let me out. I'll take half an' meet up whitch ya lata!" When the passenger saw his driver quickly becoming ashen he repeated his request, adding that the driver could take three bags as long as he let him out.

The driver proceeded to slow down but the deceleration upset his stomach which now wanted anything but food. He threw up—some coated the steering wheel while most of it ended up in his lap. His hands slipped in it and the sweat on his hands didn’t help either; but the warm pool of vomit in his lap produced quite a pleasing sensation on his throbbing crotch. The passenger, now aware of the driver’s erection, began wondering if he'd survive a jump from the car. He really didn’t want to jump but saw few other options.

"Slow down, man! Lemme da fuck outta here!"

The driver, smiling while crying and confused beyond the point of sanity, was given respite from the crazy thoughts racking his brain, the serenity of which blocked out all of his partner's pleas. There before him, like a holy icon, was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. It was another billboard, this one advertising the anti-aging effects of Botox. The model's luscious, if not swollen, lips, the smooth skin, the nape of her neck, the small depression just beyond her clavicle, her tender earlobes and ripe cheeks, all those features of the fairer sex called to him and him alone. He heard nothing and his vision tunneled. She winked at him, the curled eyelashes beckoning him thither. The car slowly swerved off the road in a gentle arc, hopped the curb, and bounced carelessly as it approached its target: the goddess upon the billboard.

Reality, in the form of the large post holding the giant advert up to the sky, crashed through the center of the car, tossing the devoted, admiring paramour through the windshield. The passenger was kept in place, held by the restraints, but his insides lacked such useful contraptions and were thrown against his ribcage with such force that he died shortly thereafter.

The police arrived at the scene to find stolen bills sailing softly in the air and their suspects dead: one recumbent with the remnants of a grin on his face, the other twisted, rigid, and with a countenance betraying unadulterated fear. No charges were ever filed.

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