“Two Angry Whoppers, hold the mayo, my good man,” I said to the drive-in speaker/microphone combo, proudly advertising its cornucopia of fantastic near-edible wares.
There was an uncomfortable silence between us, filled with the ground-loop buzzing of a thousand lazy hornets. At last, a different man began to speak.
“For twelve seconds, you have been asking: who is the Burger King?”
I was rapt with attention, my eyes twinkling like a schoolgirl unlocking the innate magical powers of her ancient lunar birthright. The voice continued.
“This is not the Burger King speaking.”
I was aghast, aplomb. I struck the dashboard of my Probe sharply, with the side of my palm, radiating cold pain up the nerves of my arm.
“This is a Wendy’s. Would you like a Triple Monterey Jack Portabella Baconator instead?”
My throat was dry. I had to act fast. I shoved the Probe into reverse and dumped the clutch at redline, launching it backward over the protective landscaping embankment that served to accentuate the restaurant’s faux-Albuquerquan milieu. For a split second, suspended in midair, weightless, I could feel the hot glare of Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas, enraged at my seemingly infallible ability to escape his grasp. Suddenly the rear tires hit the ground, squirming the Nitto Grapplers as they fought the rusted-out leaf springs for equilibrium.
I tore ass out of the industrial complex in which the Wendy’s was located, checking my rear view mirror for the lights-and-siren Suzuki Swifts which would inevitably be dispatched to bring me low. The Ford’s lift kit swam underneath my feet on every hard corner. At last, I missed a gear in my panic, and upset the chassis on a botched upshift, finally sparing the tires the brutality of the full-bore LS7. They didn’t miss their chance, tucking into the tarmac like a Swiss Chalet quarter chicken dinner as I crested a gentle rise on the street.
The steering cut hard right, snapping my wrist against the aftermarket cupholder in the centre console. I was helpless, that strange feeling of antigravity again, as the Probe cut its front right wheel under it like a racehorse’s broken ankle and toppled the both of us into the front hedgerows of an engineering consultancy.