Saturday, November 26, 2011

Andrew, the 350z, and the Policeman.

I already regret doing what I did tonight. I wouldn't recommend it. But it sure gave me a rush! Whew.


The last few days I’ve been house-sitting for a close friend of mine who’s out of town.
In the garage, sits a fresh and clean Nissan 350z. It’s silver with black leather, pure temptation wrapped in metal and fiberglass.
It’s Friday night. I get off work early, come back to the house and let myself inside.
I set my keys down on the counter, and see the Nissan’s key waiting there as it has for days.
Take me, it says.
I pick the key up, caressing it.
This isn’t my key. But it sure feels like it.

I walk out to the garage. I just want to hear her.
I turn the key inside her, letting the seat embrace me tightly. She wakes up with pleasure and conviction.
Drive me- drive me hard, she says. Not just anywhere though. Somewhere special.

Camp Creek.

This place is a twisty, unfinished road in the mountains. I used to take my MR2 Turbo up there, and push it to the limit. It’s always a rush of fear and pleasure, like sex during a skydive. This particular piece of road has a speed limit of 25mph, half of it has no guard rails to protect you from the cliff drop-offs. If you make a mistake, it’s either crush into rock face, or fly into the night to your end.

The shifter takes my right hand. My foot massages the clutch as I cycle through her gears. Like an athlete in a suit, the 350z growls but with composure. She brings me with smooth resolve to the end of the neighborhood.
There’s no going back now. She’s got plenty in the tank, it’s Camp Creek time.

Leaving the last bit of civilization, I come to the point where I have to get out and remove a small blockade. Moving the “Do Not Enter” stands aside, I pull the car passed them, then move the barricades back in place.

I take a moment to look at the 350z, and gather my surroundings. It’s quiet, very dark. There are thousands more stars here than I’m used to. The mountain cliffs reach high, the wind cuts through them with a cold howl.
It’s just me, the Z, and this challenge of a road. It’s been quite some time since I negotiated the corners here. Combined with how my driving style will have to change abruptly for this car, I’ll take it easy the first time up and down.

So the Z and I work our way through the blinds turns, the violent twists, hills and valleys. I make note of each unique element. I’m especially cautious of a series of tight hairpin turns, where no guard rail is present on the outside edge. This road is just a couple miles, but it’s a difficult journey the entire time. A true test, I can see why this road was seemingly abandoned in the middle of construction.
The final stretch is the only part where the road stays relatively straight. It juts up quickly, wraps around a sharp rock face, then turns to dirt. This is the end of the uphill battle of Camp Creek.

I let the car idle a moment. My heartbeat is calm, matching the Z’s.

Exhaling, I engage 1st, 2nd, now 3rd gear back down the straight. Her shifter is quicker than you can think. Smooth, short, and without hesitation. The Z craves me to push harder. We slide around the last cliff edge, all the way down to the beginning of the course.
The downhill is harder on the brakes, so I let her rest at idle on the bottom, while I smoke a Camel.

Ok, practice run is done.

As I finish my cigarette, a flashing occurs in the distance. It’s blue and red. Disappearing then reappearing as it tiptoes around the corners of the rock face.
Someone must have heard my tires screeching. I shouldn’t have come on a Friday night.

Get in, the Z whispers.

The policeman has 3 or 4 more corners until he’s where I am. My left foot drops the clutch, as my right pushes the gas hard. The Z’s tires happily search for grip. We blast together as One up the course again. I’m still unsure of myself on a few of the corners, getting only slightly bolder around the turns on the 2nd run. I watch my rearview mirror, seeing the cop car still back 3 or 4 turns.

The final set of hairpins welcomes me hungrily. The Z and I reach the top straight and I let her scream to redline. The pavement turns to dirt. My right hand and thumb engage the e-brake, my left turning the wheel hard. The Z enjoys it, flipping 180 degrees in place, then stops.

I’m facing down the hill again. Dusty remnants breathing over my headlights.

The policeman is further back than I thought. I see his lights moving up the twists and turns across the valley. There’s no tire screeching. The policeman is unfamiliar with this road.

 I notice my hands are shaking on the steering wheel and shifter.
“This is when a man would think of his wife and kids, and give himself up,” I told the windshield.
The Z’s engine continued to whisper sweet nothings, undaunted.
“You’re right. I’m not one of those men.”

My hands tightened their grip. My heartbeat thundered in my chest.
The officer was closing in. He stopped ahead of me maybe 20 feet, covering me in a spotlight.

“Should we let him arrest us? He can’t see your plates,” I told the Z.
The officer stepped out of his vehicle, aiming his flashlight at me. He’s the single source of light out here, otherwise surrounded by pitch black.

Now is the time. I shut the lights off. Combined with the dusty cloud upon leaving, there’s zero chance one could make out a license plate in this darkness.

“Turn the car off si-“

I couldn’t hear the rest of his words over the Z’s burst of energy. My hands and feet worked with the Z in a perfect song. This was the stupidest thing I’ve done in a while, yet I was doing it very, very well.
My eyes darted from the dangerous curves ahead, to the rearview mirror, and back again.
The last time I saw the policeman, he was hurrying back to his car as the passing cliff swallowed him in the dark.

It was all or nothing at that point. Time to really see what me and this Z can do. I flipped the lights back on and took a deep breath.
Where the MR2’s headlights would search helplessly for the road ahead, the Z’s eyes lit the world up like mid-afternoon. Where the MR2’s turbocharged power would burst without warning, the Z’s natural aspiration came on like sweet foreplay.
We darted and dodged around corners, flying downhill to a 300 foot stretch. Right at the end of the stretch is a bump, then a tight hairpin going left.
I was going too fast, but couldn’t afford to hesitate.
The Z hit the bump, and for a moment, none of my tires were on the ground.
The hairpin was coming up fast, as my left hand flung the wheel to the left. We landed together with a chirp, as the e-brake engaged. Sliding around the hairpin, I went to hit the gas harder to push out of the turn… and nothing happened. No tires screeching, just more sliding.
The rear end was hanging off the cliff. It had to only last for a moment, but when it did, my stomach sank.
My hands gripped white on the wheel, my feet preying on the pedals for some response.
Luckily I had enough momentum to carry through the corner, as all four wheels rejoined the road.

The rest was a blur. My body and the Z kept speeding down the course, but my mind was shocked elsewhere.

I was out of Camp Creek and entering normal roads with streetlights. Still moving quickly, I found a gas station and pulled the Z in behind it, shutting her off completely.

I went inside, casually chatting with the clerk as I saw the policeman, sirens wailing, tear by the station and continue on.
Chatting a few more moments, I bought a pack of Camels to kill time, went out to the Z and slumped in her seat.

“Let’s never do that again,” I told the both of us.
The Z’s interior smiled at me, then went back to being metal and fiberglass.

1 comment:

  1. That. Is. Amazing. I want to do that, or not...yeah not. Really?