Hot heat ripples like the spirit of the road spurn you on toward the horizon. The car-speckled highway hardly stops the two black-wheeled engine mounted gasoline-eater from burning to speeds well in excess of the posted limit. Teeth grit from white-knuckled strain on the handlebars as gale force winds tempt your helmet from your skull. Rumbling faster and faster as 300 horses of fate rocket your body to orgasmic velocities only the biker mystics could imagine as a shaky speedometer climbs higher into the triple digits.
Shift - click! – BOOM!
The pavement-starved, chromed and welded beast howls with joy as its teeth tear into the ripe hot tar of the I-5 freeway through Los Angeles. Police lazily doze on overpass speedtraps, victims of record breaking July temperatures as you bolt under their heavy lidded eyes. Passing, weaving, muscles strain to rein in this devil machine from running into its next victim. Dirt-specked teeth. Bug-spotted glasses. Wind-scorched skin. Electrified limb spasms shake with the vibration of the bike as the distance between you and the black limousine closes like an open patio door in a hurricane. You’re racing right behind it, nothing is in your way. All that separates you from your fifty million dollars is a small stretch of highway.
Faster, as the speedometer reads 105mph.
Body, controlled, hitting the pavement. Slide as sparks from the metal plates on your ass, feet and back drag into the pavement decelerating you in a fountain of sparks. The insulation and padding underneath the metal does its job as you unleash pops of lead from the thirty-round assault rifle previously harnessed on your back. Staccato bursts wreck mayhem on the urban banality of traffic planning, city engineers, soccer moms and weekday commuters.
Heat. The sickening cry of metal being dragged over melting freeway. The loud rush of wind and the sizzle of sparks. Splinters of metal, glass, rubber and pavement. Fiery metal discharges into the back of the limousine rupture the rear tires. The black boat spins, flips and skids to a heart-pounding stop as your explosive-laden motorcycle careens into its freshly exposed underbelly.
For a split second there’s silence.
You can’t feel anything.
Your mind a perfect blank sheet waiting to be splashed with the color of experience.
Compressed air punches. Debris licks, sticks, rips, tears, shreds and punctures. Cars burst into the air. A gasoline fed fireball jumps into the sky and you realize you're depressing the trigger on an empty weapon. Levity rears its head in the most obscene manner.
You quickly lay flat, realizing that the half-ton SUV behind you has no intention of coming to a complete stop. Split second timing and the hook is latched to the underbelly of the vehicle. You appear behind the rig just as the bungee cord on the end of the hook disperses what would have been a dislocating jolt to your shoulder. Hot wind screaming, dragging from the back of your getaway ride. Your mind replays memories. Memories of watching old westerns with Hermes in college, marveling at the dirt-covered cowboy excitement being dragged behind a stagecoach. The dirty coffee table between the couch and the TV littered with beer cans.
You can still see his face.
“Yeah! There’s no way they can ditch Poncho!” you would yell.
“No doubt! When I make my first movie I’m definitely having someone dragged through the town streets!” Hermes would reply.
Play fighting, cheap food, longs nights of study. Living with Hermes, Melissa, Cinder and her dog in the rented four-bedroom house a few blocks from campus. You can’t remember the dogs’ name, but you can remember when Hermes released his first blockbuster movie. And, true to form, it opened with Ghen Lemar being dragged behind a black Ford Explorer through the streets of Tijuana. You knew Hermes well enough then to know that the hero wouldn’t make it through this movie.
Critics loved it even before it hit the celluloid. It completely changed big budget action movies from then on. The next generation of computer generated effects combined with the old Hollywood stunt work helped it gross nearly 500 million dollars in the first weekend showing. Hermes' career blazed through tinsel town after that. Forty-one movies and counting with the next due to open in the end of July.
Egos swell and tempers ignite into a firestorm of rage when you’ve been as coddled and praised as Hermes had been. You can’t understand why someone that wealthy would refuse to repay the people who funded his first film. You suppose it’s better denying the debt rather than it being smeared across the public’s face that your studio has mob connections.
The SUV quickly slaloms between the incinerated limousine and the overturned passenger vehicles dragging you behind it. Sparks lapping at your black leather jacket. The strained bungee umbilical cord threatens splaying and dying. Just before four muscled arms pull you back into the open rear of the SUV, you raise your head and look at the quickly shrinking image of the burning limousine. You wonder whether the final moments of a wide-eyed, panic drenched Hermes were met with a bullet in the head, or the surprise of a catastrophic explosion. Irony rears its head in the most obscene manner.
Disclaimer: I am trying out a different writing style with the hope that action and personal experience can be better captured in quick bursts of language and generalized detail./Msg me with comments.
I would like to thank Ashenai for the extensive proofreading and Posmella for the formatting suggestions.