reflective in their silverwhite, the speckles of metallic dust in the paint long the blacktop surface. Watch as the stripes go sliding by beneath in rhythm of a gasoline heart, faint thrumming of the frostbreaks the only accompaniment.
Can't sleep. can't walk. Can't move. Can't live.
I find myself in cars at times like this, the simple mechanics of the motion allowing the erasure of the mind. One time where you're supposed to achieve as close to Zen as Western karma lets you; watching the pulsing flashes of white on the back swing past.
The wheel, my friend, has come to resemble me in reverse. Plastic, older now, dimpled at the top and bottom (noon and six, worn smooth at ten and two with slight wear towards tea-time. Hands know their task, eyes know their watch, and the feet are counting time in RPM. Make the slight and fine adjustments and listen to the purr beneath.
flick - fifth.
Move the selves both right and left, sliding in and out. Find the holes in the flow, make it you, pull the traffic around you as a blanket in the freeway cold. Learn to dive for the gaps left by the inattentive or the tentative as a mother's arms, fenders sliding past their wings and noses by what feels like feet but is actually yards. Find the speed of the matrix, then push yourself and the car just up past that - the friction of your progress against the surrounding skein of car and driver, road and fence a fast walk in the same reference frame, blurred out against the roadway into miles of gentle slide by the speed of the world you inhabit.
Flash. White. Flash. Black.
Ahead, the staccato of blue and red that indicates watchers; pull down, relax, ease, hear the car draw breath in sullen growl as the engine takes up the stress and pulls the speed down. Move up. Move up. Pass the scene; cars akimbo, police standing about, a pair of what were once cars entangled in the embrace of destructive lovers, resigned on this their (fourth?) and final fling, bodies resting bent in puddles of their own fluids. You can almost see the sedan on the bottom wishing for a smoke, but the fire engine is there to cover it in foam before the consummation.
Racing change, pull the gearshift back, spool the revs back up, and feel the teeth grab inside the synchromesh. There is a familiar lurch, almost subliminal, subluminal, the sound of it gone beneath the light at the edge of the world. Left foot rising, right foot lowering, don't drive the car but lead it; dance through the last smear of rubbernecking traffic as the final cop's head comes up to look but he's not in his car and we're already gone into a smooth fast blur of red.
Music plays in the car's head and in my mind. One hundred sixty thousand miles after meeting it, it's still a friend; the engine sounds much the same (a little throatier, perhaps, after four mufflers) but the paws still grip the pavement at speed with the same fingertip eagerness, each thought translated into arc with nary a blur.
the sound blasts back from the bottom of an overpass
before the nighttime takes back over, swallowing the blare and growl as we slip between two enormous roadway freighters, pausing until they both, ahead, blink running lights, then blasting up between them to pass out between their front bumpers with a forty mile-per-hour advantage, accepting (gracefully) the wink of their high beams in the rear window as due tribute to the 'four-wheeler' riding between them in this their time of night.
Bend an exit ramp, change the path, move the guide, start for home, for I have miles to go before I sleep.