Thursday, 11:30 AM
The seconds hand on the wall clock slowly inched its way around the clock face.
The sound of crinkling paper pierced the silence as Dick yet again browsed through the documents on the desk in front of him. He let out a sigh. Since this morning he had managed to halve the number of candidates from six to three. First to go was the Komodo Inpiro S: while the car was decent mechanically, the styling wasn’t really appropriate for what Dick had in mind; it was just too gaudy. It was more the kind of car a chav would buy with money he really couldn’t afford to spend just to impress his friends; not the image Dick associated with Spencer Steele.
Next out was the Morton M20 Twin Cam, it’s styling being just a little too weird. It was a bit of a shame, since the car was decently tuned, but alas.
The final car Dick had managed to weed out was the Ardent Vizcaya GT V6. This was a harder decision to make than the other two; the styling was far more in line with what he had in mind, but in the end the car’s performance, especially the cornering, was just too mediocre compared to the other three. Had the car been cheaper he might’ve been willing to overlook it’s flaws, but at it’s current price it was no cheaper than two of the three finalists and actually more expensive than the third. Thus, it was out of the running.
Dick yet again studied the papers in front of him. Two of the cars, the BAM Paginza 622 and the Armada Talon 4S, were remarkably similar; both were low-slung sports coupes, both were very pretty and both were mechanically similar, down the engine displacement, configuration and even the fuel system. Both cars had their advantages; Dick personally preferred the styling of the Armada and it was definitely the faster of the two. On the other hand, the Armada also had more expensive tyres; even though 215 mm wide tyres weren’t unheard of, such sizes were more reserved for expensive luxury cars such as V12 Jaguars. Even though the cost wasn’t prohibitive, it was still an extra outlay.
The third car was an odd outlier; the Znopresk Z217 Sport wasn’t a sports car. It wasn’t even a coupe; it was a four-door sedan. Even though the Znopresk didn’t quite have the same flair as the other cars, it had one big advantage over them: its price. It was several hundred pounds cheaper than the other finalists. That in itself wasn’t anything special; some of the earlier candidates were even cheaper. What made the Znopresk so special was that it was cheap without making any big compromises; it was not much slower than the sporty Armada and almost evenly matched with the BAM, despite costing far less. Granted, it wasn’t as well-equipped, but that wasn’t really a concern for him.
Dick sighed yet again and rubbed his temples. Even though three cars was far better than 26, it was still two too many. After another moment of deliberation, he pushed the BAM aside. At almost the same price, the Armada was the more attractive car, especially with the better tuned brake system, expensive tyres be damned. This left him with just two cars, and the by far hardest decision. Comparing the two was truly an apples to oranges comparison; one was juicier and more succulent, the other far better value and less messy to eat.
As the clock hit noon, Dick made his decision. He reached over and picked up his desk phone. He then made a few calls, before putting it back down and heading through his office door. As the seconds passed by he felt more and more confident in his choice. And he only missed a few minutes of his lunch break!
Spencer and Rick, his trusty partner of many years, ducked behind the pallets just in time before- RATATATA! A swarm of bullets whizzed over their heads and into the wall behind them. A few struck the boxes they were hiding behind, kicking up thick clouds of white powder. Spencer was pretty sure that it wasn’t flour but rather something much more potent. Just as the gunfire ceased and was replaced by frantic clicking, he sprang up from behind his cover and fired his gun. The baddie didn’t have any time to react before his chest erupted into a mist of red. With a final cough he collapsed onto the floor.
The storage hangar was suddenly quiet. After a quick peek around the room to make sure there weren’t any more gunmen, the two detectives emerged from their cover. The man they had just shot was yet another of The Jackal’s lackeys; the druglord himself was still absent.
“The bloody hell is that guy? I thought we’d cornered him this time-”
Suddenly, the silence was interrupted by a roaring engine and the screeching of tires.
“Goddamn it! He’s getting away!”
Spencer sprinted towards the open garage door. Just as he stepped onto the pavement he jumped back, narrowly avoiding being flattened by the speeding Jaguar. He quickly regained his balance, before legging it. The detectives bolted through the industrial complex; after a few blocks, Spencer saw what he was looking for.
“Quick! In the car!”
Spencer threw open the door, jumped into the driver’s seat and turned the key. The engine sprang to life with a raspy burble. Just as Rick vaulted through the open passenger window and landed head-first in the footwell he gunned the engine and took off, the front tires enveloping in a cloud of smoke. And just like that, the yellow Znopresk sped off into the night.
In the end, it was Dick’s rational side that won over his emotions. While the Armada was the car that made his heart beat faster just at the sight of it, he’d be foolish to ignore economic benefits of the Znopresk. After all, they were a business, and not only would they get six Z217s for the same price as five Talons, but combined with the simpler mechanics and cheaper perishables it was really a no-brainer.
Just focusing on the costs would not do the Znopresk justice, though, for it was a formidable car. Despite their obvious differences, both the Znopresk and Armada exuded a similar aura of undefinable ‘coolness’, and getting 95% of the ‘coolness’ for 85% of the price was just too good of a deal to pass up.
The first series ‘Fuzz Boys’ had mixed reception. While most papers and magazines were very impressed with the choreographics and stunt scenes, the show was criticized by others for its cookie-cutter formula and predictable plot. Dick was understandably not very happy about this.
“-and just look at what The London Times said: “Fuzz Boys’ great action scenes may appeal to the plebians and working class, but for the more cultured viewer it brings very little to the table with its shallow characters and tired premise and-””
“And I say they get fucked”, said Daniel. “It doesn’t matter what the pompous twats in their culture column think, the fact is the show is a hit”.
And it was true; despite the reviews the numbers were great, and it was very likely the show would be renewed for a second season. What’s more, the show boosted sales of Znopresk cars by a significant amount, which meant that if the show got a second season, Znopresk would give them cars. For free!
“…and I even got enough cash to buy me self a new car”.
“Oh really, what’d you get. An Armada?” Dick was curious.
Daniel smiled from ear to ear. “Even better”, he said and gestured toward the parking lot.
As Dick saw what Daniel was pointing at, his eyes widened. In the parking lot sat an all too familiar bronze-colored coupe, with its four-wheel drum brakes very visible through the massive three-spoke wheels. He turned toward his friend, and spoke:
“You’ve got to be fucking shitting me".
Contratulations! You now have the honor of hosting the next round!
A massive thanks to everyone who participated, it’s been great fun hosting the competition and I never ever want to do it again (and if I somehow have a lapse in judgement, please track me down and kick me in the nuts). Special thanks for waiting so patiently while I tried to cobble together something decent, I hope it was worth the wait.
For those that didn’t follow along, here are the top six: