"by zora neale hurston, author of Their Iz Where Watching Gaia"
[1st draft not-reread yet 20140206 1316ipdt]
ships on the horizon have every girl's dream on board.
vanessa and took looked at each other, just long enough for took to take his eyes off the road, mirrors, possible deer or coyotes jumping on the road, the surface of the road (there's a difference between not seeing a pothole or oil spill and verifying with your eyes that the surface is safe), cops around overpasses or cover), etc, with a good margin of safety.
with the same caution, for the next -- what, 2 minutes? -- it's hard to perceive the pace of times sometimes -- took looked sort of off-and-on at the position of the car that had been following them. vanessa monitored it closely, too.
the car moved closer and closer to the. gradually, like the NSA voice had told them. but closin in.
it got to the point where took, was checking his rear view mirror pretty damn frequently, almost to the point of a constant check. vanessa, in the meantime, turned around to look behind them 3 times over those minutes.
"what about modelland?" took asked vanessa. there was clearly a serious question, even doubt, in his voice.
vanessa took a few seconds to answer.
"it can wait," she said. "... i guess."
took didn't say anything. he kind of breathed a little tension, a couple of almost-deep breaths, cut short, as he pursed his lips in and out some, again uncertain, his head kind of bobbing slightly as the gears of his brain obviously flurried countless scenarios as the latest development barged into his previously at-ease mind and soul. he obviously was NOT comfortable now, not at all, as he checked his rearview mirr again. and again.
he saw the headlights of the car now in sight.
he shook his head.
vanessa turned around as if she knew, without took pronouncing one word, that the car was now in sight. and she saw the headlights.
she took a deep sigh.
she was not content, AT ALL, that took might even possibly remotely remotely REMOTELY consider modelland at THIS moment.
the car moved closer and closer.
vanessa got more and more upset. she didn't open her mouth. her silence and her body tension spook tons.
took's head kept bobbling, somewhat lowered, both hands on the steering wheel.
he took a deep breath. long breath.
he took another deep breath. composed himself.
vanessa had a sense that took's attention was finally focused on what was actually happening right now, right there. not in his fuckin mind, she thought. this is real.
as if reading her mind, he composed himself again. as if clearing his mind, focusing on the present. on who he was with. on what was by now, almost behind them.
when he was sure he was calm, he spoke.
vanessa took a breath of relief. then she proceeded to put the tarot deck in the glove box.
"racetrack it is."
the car behind them "stepped on the gas" and passed them with great power. it was an off-black police package and otherwise modified crown vic, made to look like a late 90's or early 2000's model.
in huge, magenta-purple block capital letters, and other sizes and fornts as well, on the full sides of the car, its trunk (much smaller font and style) and back, it said ZELDA.
an lcd dispaly in took's car also said, allcaps, ZELDA.
a new voice came in through their speakers.
"nice live feed, cunts."
"yeah, yeah, bitch," took said, now having shifted his focus almost entirely.
"modelland mangia vegas for breakfast," he continued, his voice raspy now, as if he were grinding his teeth, except he wasn't. were barely touching, though he did speak without moving his jaw.
"haha!" the voice from the zelda car replied.
"yeah yeah!" took this time replied like a child. pure and simple.
"gonna make you eat that fake non tyra rubber u got on them fuckn stoooopid wheels, fuck-" he hesitated, "FUCK-TARD!" he said with relief. he adjusted himself in his seat.
"yeah, that's what you said last time we played your STOOOOOOOOOOOPEEEEEEEEEEEEEED board, game," replied the voice from the zelda car. then it continued, with top-hot bullseye sarcasm: "chaaaamppeeeonnn !!" and laughed. even in glee.
"uuuuuuuggghhhhh!" took let out in pain. SALT ON THE WOUND!
"nintendo my fuckin ASS" said the zelda-car voice as vanessa laughed but took, he been around, he was already focusing on the here and now, and in his mind, and comfortable now with his body, as comfortable as focused, equally comfortable and focused, on the measure of the here and norw and there and measuredly soon. he received his excellence in writing award when he was 18. he could afford redundancy AND fuck falliteration. calmly. it was time to race soon. you race calm too.
vanessa was looking forward 2. and, as reality would have it, soon enough the two cars approached the "modelland racetrack" exit.
of course the zelda car had slowed down after the broad siplay of V8 power in passing them, and the two vehicles, one gingerly, one leisurely, slowly made their way to the track.
as they approached it, an adequate number of lights came on. it was an modified-old-school-standard 4.8 black asphalt racetrack.
"let vanessa drive," olly's voice said through the speakers.
"of course," took said."
"DUH," said vanessa.
the zelda car waited next to them as the camaro pulled to the side. took and vanessa stepped out. took took a step and a half forward, then caught himself and stepped back, and held the driver's door open for the lady.
"thanks hon," vanessa said as she sat in the driver's seat.
took shut her door, walked around the back -- didn't think it was proper to walk in front of the camaro -- at this moment -- and got into the passenger seat.
as if to and/or, he gently tapped the tapered-under-the-car's-metal-but-with-thinly-upholstered-ceiling roll bar.
vanessa was comofrtably adjusting herself into her seat, and doing a few check of instruments, steering-wheel tilt adjustment, displays, seat position, etc. etc.
probably a couple of minutes went by.
"ready?" vanessa asked in the air.
took had taken out his favorite tarot deck. he was almost immersed in it, as if he wasn't even there.
"ten-four," the zelda-car-voice replied, as if someone had asked them "scuse me, do you know what time it is!" and they had simply looked at their watch before replying.
"lights up point 3"
the lit lights on the track increased in brightness, and other lights lit up. it was now a bit brighter than you'd like your suuburban neighborhood well-lit streets to be. you could see a manhole cover in penty tym at 95 to 115 mph.
"check," the NSA voice said.
"direction?" asked the zelda-car-voice.
"counter-clockwise?" the NSA offered?
simultaneously, vanessa smiled and raised her shoulder as if to say "whaddaya say?" turning to took as he flipped his cards 180 as he kept looking at them. obviously more intrigued by the cards and the timing with the words than anything.
"after you," the zelda-car-voice said, all, ladies-first (haha) lik, since vanessa had taken as much as, what, 4.5 seconds of silence after the NSA had spoken.
"shaken, not stirred?" she said agin lifting her shoulders, her palms up too, smiling. "stirred, not shaken?" this time took chuckl-giggled. just enough. a little.
nobody said anything.
"all right," the NSA voice said with more decision than earlier.
"counter-clockwy -- NO, CLOCKWISE IT--"
the zelda car peeld off into a 180 take-off that, as the sound of the V8 roared and the whitish-grey smoke of the rubbers billowed, fishtailed a bit before it weaved (slightly, just a little) itself back into a diagonal line aimed at the turn in the distance to the left at the end of the straight as the secreech from the burning balck rubbers ended, just as the NSA voice was about to say "is."
"what does 'is' mean?" took calmly said, eyes on his tarot (mostly), as vanessa put the car in gear, looked left and stepped on the gas calmly but surely, starting a U-turn on the track and starting to speed up towards the zelda car that had almost reached the turn at the end of the strayt. she knew took's post-modern references to the real post-modern bill clinton (he was president of the USA in the 80s or 90s -- no, 90s, and he was known for his above non-grad-students' (or philosophers') statement in court about what does "is" mean, and, far more so, for his "well, uh dud smoke muh-ree-ooh-uh-nuh when i was in college, but [accidental snort as he kinda laughed uh did not in hale? ha ha!" he must have been waiting to say that since his college days in law school, or earlier. but she was not focused on getting into that conversation with took -- or patrice, hypothetically -- at that particular time, other than to say, with no hint of sarcasm, just as a reference to "i know," she said, "yeah, ... yeah." she moved her head down/forward a touch as if to see/squint better ahead as she stepped on the gas so as to pick up enough tspeed that she didn't have to work hard to keep the zelda car at least somewhat in sight, saw it and the surface and the racetrack better, straightened up her head, if you can use the verb "straighten" comsidering she simply returned to her relaxed just-somewhat-closer-to-the-steering-wheel--highway-cruising body position, again more relaxed than not, stepped on the gas more, and as took's back was pushed back into the leather backrest she sped up after the zelda car while took kept on perusing his tarot.
the camaro's V8 made a wonderful sound.
as if to say "thanks."
she by no means anywhere near top speed for that portion of the track, but not exactly slow either, bitches, made a perfect approach to the first turn at the end of that straight. had she been going faster she would have been closer to the left edge of the track for the tight right turn, but as vanessa was easing into the racetrack challenge, she was nowehre near the limits. certainly broke hard enough to remind took we were in a race, but he didn't look up as she perfectly aimed for the apex of the turn, and right after the tyra tires squealed ever so waking-up-a-little-like (took chcukled again), as soon as the tires weren't squeaking and she had a straight-as-a-plumb-line beeline to the next corner (which the zelda car had cleared over 3 seconds earlier) she launched the car as the V8 roared "now we're talking. im hungry. where my food at."
took adjusted himself in his seat again, again his tarot confortably in his hands in his lap, his head down, this time not even taking a glance at the second corner. a left-hander, not quite as tight as the first corner (the right-hander). vanessa, her body falling more into the car via the seat, as if allowing her weight to get known, sat even more gravity-like into the seat, and dove into the second corner, again with perfect outside-to-apex-toapex precision, d-e-f-i-n-i-t-e-l-y more aggressively than the first corner.
the semi-soft black rubbers on the plain steel rims didn't squeal this time so much as they murmured that the petroleum and radial belts etc that composed them were all coming to agreement that the rubber closer to the asphalt was measuring itself between abrasion and comfort as it molecules gripped the texture of its petroleum cousin the asphalt, warming up, and getting into an agreed-upon arrangement of rubbing elbows, maing room, asserting itself, wearing/flying off, all that was going on on a microscopic level as the human-size-perspective of the "tread" part of the tire was alternating between micro-skipping and solid-gripping with the pavement nodules like a lion lying down peels a 14-inch pliece of flesh off the dead deer.
the tires, in the second corner, were already warming up more rapidly, BEGINNING to do so, more rapidly than, much more rapidly than at any time in their drive on the highway earlier that night. there was a lot more to come before the tyra tires would be just the right combination of heat and "black rubber" that they'd basically make love -- sometime rough, but rarely -- love with the balck aspjalt, perfectly in the zone where vanessa would be able to drive the car like it could go around a goddam racetrack.
as vanessa gently leaned left and looked ahead inside and forward towards where she was going to point her eyes as she'd exit the second corner, took's body was shoved by the gentle g-force on the passenger door much harder than his back had been pushed by the acceleration when the bitch hit the gas on the straigh earlier. but he still had his hands on his lap with the tarot in hands, eyes on it, comfortable. i mean, he'd been to disneyland. and all.
again, this time the tires didn't screech, but as they grab-grubbed the asphalt, vanessa stpeed on the gas to accelerate out of this second corner with the perfectr measure than even on "cold" tires she was not being wasteful of time and space and maximized it to where by the time she was in a straight line again heading for turn 3 (the zelda car just disappearing past turn 3 to the left of the corner of vanessa's eyes), she was fuckin flooring it.
the camaro just loved to roar.
"it's morning." if the car could talk she would have said. "we're getting up." as if sentence after sentence. "groggy." but wanting to get up. "hungry," the car would have "said," again. with a grunt.
once again the sheer speed of the power of vanessa stepping on that gas pedal, well, to say that it propelled took backwards was an understatement. not only it already was finally starting to evoke the mild rush of a good roller coaster ride, but it did make him think of that time in his youuth when he sat on a particular motorcyle (a norton 850 commando roadstar from the 70s) to test ide it, he pulled on the throttle not knowing the power of that 4-stroke deep twin, and as his ass literally slid almost off the back of the too-slick-fot-the-times seat (didn't even have a "stop" at the end of the seat to catch you) the only reason the kid had not slid off the bike was he held on to the handlebar grips with his arms stertched like a trapez artist. i mean it was like a cartoon, but, f-u-c-k-i-n r-e-a-l. when took was young and he pulled on the trhottle of that 850 commando roadstEr the bike literally basically vistually took of like a fucking jet plane from uder him. fucking incredible.
granted, he was older now, and, as we said, been there dun that a lot. but when vanessa powered the camaro straightline out of turn 2 for the short staright stretch toward turn 3, he was jammed by the sudden speed harder than he was titled to the side in the turn a second or so earlier.
"ok, this is fun, he thought." he started to not only approve, but enjoy the fact that he had decided to
before he could finish his thought, vanessa trail braked and squirmed into turn 3 kold tires squealing and fishtailing both on the brakes and out of the gas as if she had picked up on took thinkin "this is fun!"
as she literally manhandled the poor bitch of a car into turn 3, she had clearly dropped all notions of calm and suddenly embraced "fuck perfect apex this is a empty racetrack im-a-gonna-have-me-sum-fuckin-fuuuuuuuuuunnnn BITCHESSSSSSSSSSSS!" AS SHE GRIPPED the sttering wheel and hunched her mean ass face forward as if this was a fuckin video game.
"EEEEEEH-HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" and "YEAHHHHHHHHH!!!!" war cried olly though the speakers and took as he looke up and reached for the glove compartment to put the tarot deck away and then he stopped himself coz like, we can ride AND read! read AND RIDE!
"I DON'T HEAR YOU SCREAMIN' CUNT!" the voice from the zelda car challenged.
"imrightherebitch! use dashes bitch! ADD DOT COM!!!!!" vanessa shouted back as she still held her face and teeth closer to the steering wheel as if ready to grab the zelda in a fuckin zippy.
there was a series of screeching peeling semi-smoking turns twists and twists and turns one after the other as the tires were still cold the 2 cars were making like tom and jerry and the insanely crazy sound of the two angry V8 motors were reverberating in a kind of desert amphitheater acoustic with the miz of open space and safely distant racetrack facilities architectural structures all while the voices over the speakers in the two cars were yelling over each other like they were playing kinkiki wild cards for the championship. it was a few corners of fucking insane madness. vanessa had obviously decided to let her fuckin rip and she and the zelda-car-driver were using these poor cunts of cars like they were matchbox or hotwheels cars except they fucking weren't these were fuckin real, fuckin heavy as shit steel and iron and real shit cars for real and they were simply using them like fucking rag dolls!
both drivers were obviosusly wanting to kick each other's ass though because neither of them pushe their ragdoll monsters of vehicles -- it's still unthinkable how cars as solid as boats can be trown around like toys -- un-fuckin believable -- but the thing is they were i mean each driver definoitely AND clearly it was like CLEAR AS DAYLIGHT that both these bitches wanted to kick the other bitch's ass at this race -- at least at this point -- because much as they were treating these fuckin cars like fuckin bitch toys they were fuckin makin fuckin sure they were fuckin keepin their car ON THE FUCKIN TRACK like , i mean, quentin tarantino would be tellin this shit like he couldn fuckin believe it and his friends just like YOU -- no, dude, im fuckin tellin ud have to fuckin -- im like, UD HAVE TO FUCKIN HAVE SEEN THIS! AND heard it! VECAUSE -- sucse , scuse me, because, let me catch my breath.
these two bitches were throwing these two cars around like you would not believe it. but "throwing around" isn't quite the word, because, LIKE I FUCKIN SAID, these were REAL people -- like me and you, you know? -- real people, driving, f-u-c-k-i-n-g real c-a-r-s. so to say they were throwin them around isn't quite the right, watchamacallem, figure of speech, thank you. what i'm trying to say is that: yes, vanessa decided right at or about turn 3 to let 'er rip; BUT -- and i mean, like, all of a sudde, took was like, woah, welcome to disneyland, BUT, because we're talking about real people, in real cars, albeit on a safe and clear NSA-fuckin-approved fuckin modelland fuckin certified bona fide very-fyed race fuckin TRACK, OBVIOUSLY, what im tryin 2 explain, is that NEITHER driver was driving in such a way as to slide off the track? why? if they slid off the track, or spun out, or whatever, dud, i don't know if you understand racing or this kinda sitch, but they weren't gonna crash or get hurt. very probably thery weren't even gonna roll the car. i mean, i don't think so. and at any rate, there were no structures that they could hit, no ditches they could roll into, no fuckin cliffs they could fall off of, no fucking road signs they could crash into. so, i submit to you, WHY did these 2 drivers that were having so much fun not slide or spin off as they were on cold (so to speak) tires not even halfway through the first lap of this race? because, HELLO, if they slid off or spun out they felt like they somehow giving up catching the leader or smoking the chaser. and these 2 bitches, for whatever fuckin reason, both wanted to WIN. in order to win, whether by some fuckin psychic connection or some previous written agreement or fuckin bet that i dont even fuckin know about, these 2 bitches apparently each wanted to beat the other one at RACING. not at sliding OFF -- i mean a little slidin, obviously, duh -- AND VERY TRICKY -- but not slide OFF; not spin OFF. it was like, the instant the NSA voice said "counterclockwise" and the zelda car took off it was RACE ON. for whatever reason, these two, at this time, were not wanting to have fun doing doughnuts, no. these two wanted to see if the distance between them INCREASED or DECREASED over however many laps they we both into it. there were straights were they hit about 160 -- bear in mind now, this is a modelland racetrack, 4-something miles, and yest at least one of the straights was long enough to hit about 160, wide turns where they were on the edge of sliding at about 110!!!; tight 1st-gear corners, drops, rises, increasing-radius tursn, decresing-radius turns, turns designed by kinkiki and turns designed by mick HAILWOOD. doohan, i mean, sorry. mick DOOHAN. WITH randy mamola AND kevin schwantz. this fuckin racetrack was meant for no less than fuckin nintendo simulation, bitches. AND it had a modelland stamp of approval. it's a fuckin BRAND. and though it was only less than 5 miles, and though it was not a SUPER track like the futuristic ones at modelland hub, it was still a modelland, nintendo-sim-spec, racetrack. if these bitches ran outa fuckin gas, there were fuckin gas pumps -- NOT close enough to hit them in the race by any means, of fuckin course, but anyway, listen, i don't know how much of this is obvious to you, i don't know if you know the first thing about racing, and i don't know if you have experienced first hand what it's like to explore the edges of traction IN A FUCKIN SAFE ENVIRONMENT, THANK YOU, but ... anyway, these bitches were racing.
the funny thing is, like 4 or 5 laps into this screeching madness and raw power V8 roars, just as each driver was getting pretty much as warmed up with the driving as the tures were warmed up with the asphalt, at one point, at precisely 114mph, pete in the back seat goes "yo!"
and then of course the zelda car goes "vee, u got passengers?"
and peter, at this point, is like, sitting up, lookin straight forward, a little grumpy, one hand on the back of the front seat, and he's like, "yeah, like yeah."
so anyway, then the zelda-car-voice goes, "you want off?"
peter turns to the other one in the back seat?
"steak and eggs?"
this is all at full speed, of course. tho truth to tell, both cars slowed it just a bit, but not like they were lettin the other gain anything, you know.
"sure," the other voice said.
just about when vanessa or the zelda-car-voice were going to agree on stopping to let the passengers off, the same voice went
"nah..." and then, "let's race."
and then just before vanessa and the zelda-car were about to give it full tilt again, the voice in the back seat with peter said
as if in a condensed version of women adjusting their mesntrual cycles at boot camp or on america's next top model, without a word, vanessa and da zelda car slowed down and they both went arounf the track til the reach the exit for the service areas, ETC.
"WHAT YOU GUYS DOING?" olly asked via the speakers.
"we're stopping, duh. letting the passengers have their all-nite breakfast, or whatever," the zelda-car-voice replied.
the two cars puled into the parking area of that particualr services ETC are. even as they were slowing down, they sounded ssssssssoooooo goooooooood.
vanessa stepped out, and flipped the backrest to let pete and the other one out. took got up too.
the zelda car sat a few feet away. "ZELDA" in all caps big and bold on the sides of the body of the crown vic almost looked a neon color with the reflection form the area lights.
it idled for a while. wonderful wonderful sound. the warmth from the heat fo the tires, the engines, the desert, was almost making the cars as if with auras.
then the door of the zelda car opened.
not everyone was ready for who it was.
intro - next chapter
images from cards artworks by raffaele de angelis ("dark fairytale tarot") and luis royo ("the black tarot")