The Civic next to me is filled to the brim with high school kids, bristling with excitement about life and their potential as fully-formed adults in our glorious society. However, the driver has made one fatal mistake, which on this night will alter the course of their lives forever.
He looks at me and revs, smiling and laughing in good-natured camaraderie.
As if on cue, the campus radio station begins to play Night on Bald Mountain. The co-eds get exposure to just one stomach-churning arpeggio before the real show starts. These kids are lucky, I think. For the first thirty seconds of consciousness, they will get to experience my Japanese Carbon Capture Miracle first-hand.
A nearby drunk staggers to his feet and begins singing The Star Spangled Banner as my Sentra’s individual turbo bodies spool up in firing order sequence, each wailing a terrible and furious operetta as their throats are filled with burning-hot exhaust from the launch control’s secondary injectors. Sparks and flame shoot from the muffler, white hot beyond imagining.
The Civic owner is terrified now. I can see past the layer of faux aspirational personality he has laid upon himself to survive the transition into adulthood, and into the eyes of the scared child he - and all of us, if I’m honest - are.
At last, the light turns green, and I depart, leaving a smoking one-tire-fire a block long with skipping gaps where the tires fought for traction from the shock loads between shifts. The Civic is indistinguishable by third gear, not only from the distance but from the unstoppable vibrations of my rear view mirrors, threatening to tear free from their mounts and find new homes in a less demanding environment, such as a blast furnace.
I stop at the next light, my city being supremely confident that at low speeds no horrible car accidents can occur. It is hard not to think of city council losing their shit, showing PowerPoint presentations at how the energy density of my car rivals a Saturn V rocket.
While I wait, a New Edge Mustang convertible appears, and revs his rattling V6 engine, laughing derisively at my rusty piece of shit Nissan. I smile at him, broadly, showing just an edge of my canine teeth as my right hand slips under the dashboard and adjusts the manual boost controller from “street” to “hubris.”