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“Babe, I’m gonna chill with my boys tonight so don’t bother waiting for me. Cool?” I kissed her and headed towards the door.
“M’kay. Have fun.”
I hated lying to Allie, but I had no other choice. She had already flipped out a couple weeks ago when saw an Enterprise Rent-A-Car bill I accidentally left on the kitchen counter.
“Why did you rent another car? What happened to yours? Did it break down?” she asked, creasing her eyebrows, holding the bill in her hand. “Wait. Oh my god. Oh my god. You did not go racing again. Didn’t we already go over this?” I could feel the heat rising in the room along with her voice.
“No, well, I – “
“Tony, don’t you listen to anything I say?” Well, it was too late trying to save my sorry ass.
“Please Tony, if you can’t do it for yourself than at least do it for me. I don’t get how you can be so stupid sometimes.” And then something about street racing being illegal, unethical, immoral, dangerous, blah, blah, blah. I mean I get it. Any racer knows that each time you get into a car you might not get out. Some racers are actually the most cautious people I have ever met. My crew, we have an entire system planned out. It’s not like we’re all shooting eighty miles per hour down the central highway when everybody’s getting off work. We always race around three or four AM. Sometimes if we’re lucky on the weekends, the road will stay cleared until six-ish and we’ll just park on the side and watch the sun rise. We all rotate police lookout shifts. The Jenson brothers made some fancy police car detecting mechanism a few months ago. Sometimes we sneak into the county police department and check all the officer’s shifts. That takes helluva effort though, so we save doing that for bigger races when the others invite a bunch of racers from the city. And the people who pull the “Don’t you care about putting other lives in danger?” card are always the ones you see texting at a stoplight or using their rearview mirror to fix their lipstick.
So I stopped telling Allie when I’m going racing. It’s for her own good, since she was always so strung up about it for no reason. I figured she was already stressed enough working two part-time jobs trying to save up for grad school. Once I told her I was probably safer racing than she was driving down the Holland Tunnel at five o’ clock. I mean it’s true but I guess people just don’t like hearing it. Plus, it wasn’t like I was completely lying – I was going to hang out with my friends, after all.
My phone started ringing from my pocket right as I began walking towards my car.
“Hey Bruce. What’s up?” Bruce was my best pal from high school. He had grown a beard, gotten less scrawny, and grown a harder exterior, but underneath that he was still the same guy. He had never been able to stay in the same place for long and ended dropping out of college after the second year. Said Boston was starting to be a drag.
“You still going to the cannonball run tonight?”
“Yeah. I got some time to kill though.”
“’Aight. See ya there, man.”
As I drove towards my crew’s usual spot, I saw a couple of unfamiliar sports cars parked at the local convenience store. I knew from the mismatched tires that these cars belonged to fellow racers. I pulled into the parking lot and walked towards the motley group, sitting on the steps of the store entrance.
Next thing I knew, the four of us were all lined up. My hands gripped the steering wheel in anticipation as I loosened my foot from the brake pedal. A deep, booming “Go!” sounded from the side, and then I was flying. As my foot sank deeper into the gas pedal, I felt myself dissolving into the air, becoming free . My stomach lurched forward, my hair whipped against my face, and the street lights blurred together. My mind had already whooshed through the finishing point but I was still stuck at a red traffic light.
A sharp honking pierced through the navy blue air. “S***! S***!” I slammed the brake pedal into the ground, but I had already been jolted forwards and then back. I couldn’t see much but to be completely honest, I’m grateful for the darkness. I couldn’t move. I knew I should get out of the car, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t even turn on my headlights. I just sat there, frozen and blank. From my peripheral vision I saw the other cars zoom off in all different directions , and seeing the back license plate of Bruce’s black mini Cooper felt like a cold wind slapping me across the face. Soon I heard the sirens come closer and closer, until flashes of red were all I could see.