Friday, August 24, 2012


By Wayne DePriest

You slip into the seat and crank the engine. Your DeLorean is one of the ‘AXI’ models, so you’re sitting on the right. You thought it was cool when you bought the car. One of the advantages of this model is it doesn’t have all the crap forced on it by the government for sale in the US, so it’s gonna be fast—just what you need at a time like this. The engine catches, you hit another button on the remote, and another garage door opens behind you, revealing a well-lit tunnel.

“What the hell?” Milo exclaims.

One more click and the car starts to rotate.

“Holy shit!” Milo is wide-eyed. “This is too cool! You never told me about this!”

“It was my little secret. My version of the Batcave.”

“Where does it go?” Milo asks as the car stops rotating, now pointed straight at the mouth of the tunnel.

“I don’t know,” you say as you drop the tranny into first and hit the gas. “I’ve never used it.”

The car leaps forward and shoots into the tunnel. You double clutch and hit second. Then third. The lights are a blur as you and Milo barrel down the tunnel. You shift into fourth and see the tunnel curve to the right ahead of you. Around the corner you see the end of the tunnel. The opening is obscured by some kind of brush. You figure the builder put it there to camouflage the entrance because he’d seen your Batman collection. The brush can’t be too dense, certainly not enough to stop a DeLorean. Milo grabs the seat belt, slams the buckle home and presses his feet against the floorboards.

“Are we doing 88 yet?” Milo’s laugh is just a bit hysterical.

“Close,” you say, glancing down at the speedometer.

“Be the shits to bust through into 1985 or something.”

Just before the DeLorean hits the brush, the obstruction drops away. You realize there’s a pressure switch under the floor of the tunnel, like at a busy intersection for a left turn. The car shoots out of the tunnel and rockets onto a weed grown two lane track through a stand of trees. You back off of the gas as the car jounces over the uneven ground.

Milo’s whooping and hollering like a kid on a thrill ride at the state fair. You’re trying to keep the damn car on the road so you don’t slam into one of the trees. Up ahead you see some blue sky, fewer trees. You’re breathing a bit easier as the car slips between the last trunks. Your foot stomps on the gas pedal and the car leaps forward the last few yards to the top of the hill.

And over.

Only there isn’t any over. There isn’t any anything. Except a long Thelma and Louise drop into the jumble of heavy equipment eighty feet below where they’re constructing another Environaut. The front end of the DeLorean crashes into the bucket on a front loader. The stainless steel folds like an unpaired poker hand. You and Milo are thrown forward as the engines pushes through the firewall, crushing both of your legs against the seat. Milo’s seatbelt snaps from the strain. Your head bounces off the steering wheel while Milo’s bursts through the windshield. A broken nose for you, to go with the mangled legs. Milo’s nose breaks, too, but not until his head rolls off the crumpled hood, bounces off a tire of the loader and lands face first in the dirt. Blood is running out of your nose, but not as much as is pumping out of Milo’s neck stump and you frantically pull at the seatbelt, thumb jabbing the button to release it. The pain in your legs and nose is making you dizzy as you struggle with the door. It won’t open. You start to puke from the smell and sight of Milo’s headless corpse. Knowing a human body voids waste when it dies is not the same as being trapped in a car with the body doing the voiding. The vomit splashes against the window when you turn your head. Physics being what it is, some of the nasty bounces back into your mouth, which sets off another round of ralphing. Somehow you manage to crank down the vomit-covered window and pry your useless legs free. The smell of smoke kicks a burst of adrenaline into your bloodstream.  You pull yourself through the window and tumble to the ground eight feet below, landing on your left shoulder and snapping the collar bone. A scream escapes your lips as the bone breaks and your mutilated legs flop into the dirt. A loud whump! makes you look up at the car teetering in the bucket above you. The gas tank has exploded, upsetting the delicate balance of the car. Bits of flaming debris hit you, scorching your clothes, your face, your arms. But it’s nothing compared to sight of the flaming DeLorean tipping backwards and slipping off the bucket. The last thing you see is the vanity plate.

Up close.