Monday, May 9, 2011

Small Time Driver

A bit of doggerel from my younger days.

She eyes him with pity.  As they sit in the Airstream, somewhere between hell and Hanford, her baleful stare accuses him, mocks him, but mostly pities him.

No more, he says.  He’s had enough, he says.  Enough of the gut-wrenching gladiator show called racing.  Enough bloodshot bleary-eyed midnights hurtling hell-bent down some two-lane blacktop in a borrowed box van, nodding off between hits of caffeine, nicotine and delusion.  He requires respite from the roller-coaster ride of small triumphs and big failures, from the never-ending demands on his guts and cussedness.  He’s tired of empty pockets, hard luck, busted knuckles and dodging broken men on and off the track.  He’s just plain tired.

He’s through, he says, but she knows better.  Her face says as much as she mentally recites the threadbare confession in unison with him.  She knows that the lure of the dirt, the siren song of shrieking small-blocks, the smell of high-test in the morning (smells like… like victory) will prove too much for his worn-out will.  Too much for this five-o’clock-shadowed effigy hunched in the unforgiving glare of the single swinging bare bulb.  It’ll be too much, and more likely sooner than later.

She’s right of course – they always are.  He’ll fold like a pup tent in a hurricane and once again, the call of competition will see him sucked into the sweat-soaked swirling maelstrom of rubber, steel, fiberglass, fumes, tears, spit, gritted teeth, waving arms, white knuckles, clenched fists, middle digits, muttered curses and maybe, just maybe, some fleeting scrap of glory.

She shakes her head, amused, knowing she won’t be quitting her bank teller job anytime soon.


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