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The Last Run
I can feel it. It is running and pumping all throughout my body. It pumps harder with every gear shift. It moves faster whenever I run under a red light. It forces my body to tense as I slide around corners close to ninety degrees perpendicular to the pavement. It travels all over my tall, muscular, olive-tanned body. This is adrenaline racing through the Italian blood in me. To me, adrenaline is a drug, and I am addicted to the point of no return. Some call people like me a junkie. I believe that is a highly derogatory word for my taste. I like to think of myself as more of a fearless, hot-wired, thrill seeker. Yea, that sounds just right.
The scene is very crowded. Cars are stretched across all visible horizons of this midnight sky. The starlight shines like diamonds on the fresh paint jobs, huge chrome rims, and fresh asphalt. Sound systems are blaring out of the trunks of all kinds of different vehicles, disturbing the peace and tranquility of the natural ambience surrounding the scene. The biggest factor of the scene is the people. They are EVERYWHERE. You are rubbing elbows with everyone and their second cousin just trying to walk ten to twenty feet any direction. Guys are tuning and tweaking their rides. Others are trying to sell and barter items for the latest car audio or performance parts. Girls are all over just trying to see what trouble they can get into tonight. Yet, with all of these people, it is segregated. The whole scene is divided by the crews. A crew is usually just a group of people who are real close and stick together no matter what. But if one person doesn’t like another, then, of course, they are not in the same crew. That is what forms different crews. This action also forms rivalries. These can be very simple or totally complicated. That is why I work alone. No worries, no problems, no strings attached.
I pull into the scene in my slick Saturn SC2. I call it a sleeper. Meaning people think it is a regular day driver, but it is nowhere close to it. The engine is replaced with Saturn’s competition racing motor. I custom fabricated the exhaust. I also have racing suspension, steering, and brake components. All of these things take me to the front of the pack. Everyone knows who I am. But, no one knows a single detail about my cars. That is my advantage.
Tonight will be different than all of the other Friday nights previous. Tonight I am ending my life once and for all. Not as in suicide, I mean my life in the streets. I have a wonderful woman at home who stands five-foot-two inches tall. She is ninety-seven pounds if she jumps on the scale after soaking up a rain shower in all the heavy clothes she can find. She is also the mother of my soon to be baby boy. Kayiden Joseph will be his name. Seems like yesterday we decided on it, but that yesterday is a year prior to this today. I have to get off the streets. I cannot do this for my wife and child: worrying them on where I am, if I will make it home that night. I want to get a real job. A job that pays taxes and is actually recorded in the real world. Only one problem, getting out is not as easy as it sounds. People bet on this race. That is how I make my money. Now if I get out, people will not have a guaranteed win anymore, which means they will actually have to gamble. People don’t like that. People do not enjoy risking their money when they are so used to not risking anything at all. The people are very vengeful and are meant to be kept happy. Bad things happen when these people are not kept happy.
We race five wide. In English, that means five racers go against each other at the same time. I have no idea who I am up against. Not that I care, but I don’t know because I stay to myself. I show up to race, I collect my winnings, and then I make it home. Here we go…Boss Man is walking towards me now.
“Alright, Lone Ranger, pay it forward. It’s a $500 minimum this time around.”
Without turning my head I hand him a roll of cash. Then I tell him that this time around is my last.
“You really think I will let you run off that easy Skid-mark? NO way in hell. If you even have the slightest thought of collecting and running, I will find you. You will not enjoy it one bit. I will promise you that,” stated Boss Man.
“Well, if you think you intimidate me, you are sadly mistaken. I could care less if you send your little Oompa Lumpas out after me, they will never catch me. I’m gone. Find someone different to place promises on. They don’t work for me.”
“Alright, I will make you a deal. If you can finish this race, you can go free and clear. But you have to finish. One way or another. Good luck, kid. You’re gonna need it,” Boss Man sternly expressed to me, following quickly with a turn-about and heading to the next car.
I can’t believe he didn’t want me to leave because of HIS gambling problems. He isn’t even supposed to gamble on the races period. Oh well. I think his threats are pretty hilarious. “Good Luck.” What a loser. What luck do I need tonight different than any other night? I’m the best street racer this town has ever known; and tonight, I will remind them all for the last time.
This is it. This is where everything counts. The flag girl is ready, set, and down goes the arms! Game on everyone. The adrenaline pumps just as hard and fast as the gasoline pumps through the engine in my car. I am passing traffic as if everyone was at a standstill. First gear, second gear, third, fourth, fifth! The car is screaming at over one hundred miles per hour as the first turn comes up faster than Great Grandma’s vegetable surprise she makes every Christmas. Now I downshift and rip the emergency brake! This locks up the rear wheels as I hold down the accelerator, sliding me through the turn at great speed. The adrenaline is full force now. I feel invincible like Superman, but without the cape. Wow, that car is catching up pretty quick. He seems like he thinks he can keep up. Silly kid, racing is for grown-ups. Wait, kids don’t play with guns. Especially when they point them at me! This guy wants nothing to do with the race at all! He is out for me! Alright, slow your roll here, Speedy. I have to think evasive. Forget the race; just concentrate about getting out alive. Got it. Let me see if this guy really knows how to handle a street racer.
I hang a hard left turn into oncoming traffic. I make the sign of the cross and pray for my safe return to my lovely wife and son as a bullet penetrates through my back window and into my rear-view mirror. This is really upsetting, that was my favorite mirror in my whole damn car! I slam my foot into the floor awakening the beast under the hood. I am weaving in and out of traffic as I bank right into an alleyway. As I look behind me I see him starting to back off. I feel relieved, until I turned forward and see the tractor trailer thirty yards ahead! I duck as low as possible, awaiting the inevitable. I slam into the trailer. Now everything is going black, I feel cold, and shaky, Lord help me…
Everything is fuzzy and out of focus. Where am I? Is this heaven? Where are the pearly gates? Where is the golden arch? Or the spiral staircase? They are nowhere to be found. Everything is coming into focus now. I am stuck in a seat… the race! I have got to get out of here. I undo my four point seat harness and realize I am underneath the trailer. I must have ducked low enough because my car is now a convertible. Well, the good news is it was done for free. The bad news is the car is totaled so it really doesn’t matter. Man, I crack me up. Enough of the jokes, I hear sirens. I need out of here before I am caught. I weasel my way through the shrapnel of my car and finally make it to the pavement, face first. I have blood all over. My chest feels as if it is shattered to pieces. My skull is cracked open. My right knee seems broken. It seems like I went ten rounds with Mike Tyson. Nope, never mind, I still have both ears. I manage to waddle towards the main road. Then I realize I made it. I have finished! I am alive and home free. If I can make it home alive that is. It’s a good thing home is only right down the road here. Glad I made it, too, just in time to turn right around and race again. This race was one of a different importance, though. Kayiden Joseph was born six pounds and three ounces.