24.NOV.13

We pulled out onto the highway, rolling slow. My mechanic sat behind the wheel. I could feel the freshly rebuild gearbox thunk into second. Third. The kick-down needed adjustment. Otherwise, the billet components were more than a match for the punishment I intended to mete out.

I watched O2 numbers flash across the scanner. The tune was fat. The car was running rich.

He rolled into the throttle. Thousand one, five PSI, Thousand tw-

fffffffFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUCKKKKK!!

We went from sixty to “put your hands where I can see them!” as fast as the speedo could sweep. Even in thin traffic, my mechanic was hard on the brake to keep from burying twenty grand worth of engine up the ass of a slow-moving Toyota. He changed lanes. One more easy roll. The car struggled to hook, lurched forward, and covered the next stretch of highway in a blink.

Hard on the brake again, and over to the off ramp.

We pulled into a parking lot behind a warehouse. There were already tire marks all over the freshly tarred asphalt. He flipped the car around. He brake boosted and rolled gently into the throttle.

“Where is the alcohol set at?”

“This little light next to the boost gauge . . . When it glows red, the pump is on. When it goes green, it’s spraying.”

The light went red. The boost gauge swept from zero to five PSI, the back of the car twisted out to the side. The boost gauge surged from five to fifteen . . . sixteen . . .  the back of the car lurched, fighting for traction like a drunk at a bar with a 30-day chip in his pocket. Industrial solvent couldn’t wipe the smile from my face.

“I’m gonna have to keep a five gallon jug of meth in my apartment.”

“That depends. Depending on how much you drive it, if you’re easy on it, you can go a week. Maybe longer. If you’re hard on it, you’ll go through it in a night.”

“I’m gonna have to keep a five gallon jug in my apartment.”

He chuckled. Not even a laugh. He knew. Car people are all the same. Once you have the bug, it’s just a matter of time. After a while, it isn’t even your foot on the throttle. Some asshole rolls up in a Mustang. An Evo. A ‘Vette. You hear the blower whine. The turbo spool. The driver downshifts a gear. A gearhead isn’t thinking about the cop around the next bend.

He’s standing on the floorboard, hoping the mixture doesn’t lean out as the boost begins to creep.

We pulled out onto the main drag and headed back for the shop. The turbo whistled conspicuously, letting out a little “horse sneeze” every time we slowed down for lights. The motor wasn’t even broken in yet. The turbo was turned as low as it would go.

I already knew how this would end . . .

Do you know why I pulled you over?

Because I let you . . .