The Ramcharger and I had somewhat of a bond, I guess you could say. It would tell me secrets of the car world, the behaviours of steel, the state of tune of each of its eight copious cylinders, the crisp taste of cold, dense air speckled with morning dew being hoovered down its long, straight intake runners. Today, the Ramcharger was telling me something completely different, and I didn’t like what it meant for our relationship.
We were somewhere around Barstow, on a sweeping cloverleaf, when the R-comps began to take hold. I could feel the suspension protest as I altered in mid-corner my line of attack from “early apex” to “sweet Jesus don’t let me die like this.” For my efforts, I was rewarded with a chance to shoot past the halted interstate traffic, riding the rumble strips in the shoulder with impunity as the twin-tube Fox shocks absorbed all but the eyeball-jiggliest of the road’s unyielding impacts on the truck.
Spotting two self-driving Priuses in close formation, I honked and swerved at them, triggering the self-preservation logic matrices to surrender their positions in traffic. They split like the Red Sea, and I was once again on the parched tarmac of the interstate, all four race-compound tires hungrily gripping dry road surface. I could sense that the last few minutes of slip angle had finally dumped enough heat into their carcasses to withstand a full throttle launch, and immediately complied, the occupants of the carpool lane diving for cover through flappy-stick barriers as they saw two tons of American chrome-imitation steel appear in their rear view mirror at the approximate differential speed of an exploding sun.
But all fun must come to an end sometime, and I found myself hard on the six-piston carbon-ceramic front brakes as I dove again for the exit, leaving a scattered trail of confused autonomous cars behind me. The Ramcharger’s 440 turned from a screaming fit to a low grumble as I geared down for the light and slid it into the parking lot.
At last, I thought. I had arrived just in time for the latest batch of hot soft pretzels. All I had to do was make it to the food court.
I jumped out of the Ramcharger, lifting myself above the nerf bars and landing in a perfect Olympic gymnast routine, then snugging the cords on my car-themed hoodie as I began my now all-too-slow walk towards carbohydrate heaven. I could taste it, I lived for it, I breathed it. I salivated. Ever closer came the mall doors, and with it, redemption in the food court of our lord.
What I heard next chilled my blood. A slow drip. The sound of fluid hitting tarmac. Before I looked, I already knew what the problem was. That fucking oil pan gasket had come unsealed again.