Rolling Blackout

I turned left at the light and rolled slowly through the intersection. The glow of the street-lamps reflected off my hood. Low-pressure sodium gas discharge. The speedometer touched forty as I coasted along the two-lane. I mashed the throttle.

There was a brief delay. Then the hiss. The car shivered.

The speedometer barely registered the change. I could hear the tires shredding. A rolling smoke-show. The needle swept past fifty and the back end started to drift, torque-steering to the right. I counter-steered. The car straightened a bit before wagging its tail in the opposite direction.

I clenched the wheel and backed out of the boost.

The tires bit hard, now gummy and full of heat. The car snapped straight so forcefully it threatened to rip the wheel loose. I punched the throttle again and prodded the monster under the hood. The needle screamed past seventy. Eighty. Buried itself deep into the triple digits, well past “License and registration, please . . .” as I careened toward the next stoplight.

I let out of the throttle and everything went quiet.

The car rolled up to the red light, twitching with nervous energy as I eased into the brakes. It idled anxiously at the empty intersection.

You know it’s trying to kill you . . . 

I prodded the pedal and rolled away slow. Five miles under the limit, in no hurry to be anywhere. The light from the streetlamps reflected off the hood. The needle wandered back and forth, bored and eager.