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- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
The first time I drive the car it feels like rage, apocalypse in every cylinder, pistons hammering hot and remorseless as hell's forge, the manifold ravenous, roaring for air and explosives, belts shrieking, crankshaft screaming threats, spinning off metal shavings like a lathe, the oil tortured, a black ruin of subatomic corruption boiling in the spattered bowel, rods, valves, lifters and springs flying apart, colliding and crashing back, the relentless cycling a hundred times a second, sickle on scythe, shrapnel clattering in the dark, anxious to fail, to escape, blazing, on razor wings, and the exhaust thundering fire and stench and the mourning blast of Armageddon--
"Don't blow it up."
--all of it held together by nothing more than an idea, by the faded ink on an engineer's blueprint--
"Don't blow it up!"
--and like everything else in the universe, the inevitability of its own spectacular end was sown in the first moment of its creation--a big racing V-8 is all intricacy and vanity and the outrageous noise of self-love on the way to self-destruction--everything in this engine is beating itself to pieces. Jesus, this isn't a car, it's entropy, a fast unraveling of thermodynamics, it's the cosmic triumph of chaos, it's war!--
"I SAID, DON'T BLOW THE GODDAMN THING UP!"
This time I hear him. I ease off the gas. He's leaning into my window while my car idles on the pit road, his face about an inch from mine. I've been revving the engine.
Perhaps more than is strictly necessary.
He's so close to me his nose is out of focus. He's in his late 30s maybe, very tan and just at the end of handsome, with a slender face, sharp crow's feet framing bloodshot blue eyes, and big pink gumfuls of tiny white teeth. He has the kind of fine platinum blond hair that looks stunning on a 10-year-old girl but makes a grown man seem insubstantial somehow, tricky and about seven-eighths untrustworthy.