It was all so simple; we were supposed to go to this cool new vegetarian place in Berkeley. Susan said their California rolls were just to die for. But I didn't know my way around San Francisco at all, and there wasn't room in Gloria's Toyota Matrix. Liz told me to follow them in my car.

Gloria smirked when she saw the '84 Cutlass I'd driven all the way from Hoboken.

"How many gerbils you got under the hood?" she asked. "I bet that thing flies like a fish on a bicycle. Try to keep up, honey."

And they all piled into her sleek new car. And Gloria just gunned it. She burned rubber like a hippie burns weed and took the corners like Stalin took Russia.

All I had were three good cylinders and a street map from 1963. I had no way of keeping up with them, so I just tried to keep them in sight.

I was managing to follow them okay, dodging drunken businessmen and baby-toting housewives and pamphleteering Gay Young Republicans who blithely ran out into the middle of the road as I stuck to the left lane. But then I got distracted by the flashing neon and blinking lights way off on the right hand side. It was the front of Ayn Rand's new men's clothing store, Atlas' Duds. Sharpest damn suits I'd ever seen, even if everyone warned me they fell apart if they got wet.

And in a blink, Gloria and her crew were gone.