5 Days before the Race
The four men stood around the car, an array of tools scattered all over the small garage. The faded dirt-brown paint was smeared with grease and oil, and an aged laptop was perched on the roof, the faded beige not looking too terribly out of place despite the car being almost a decade newer than the laptop. “So, engine’s in, ECU’s reprogrammed. Trunk’s loaded full of tools and spare parts.” Cody said.
Jake, standing behind the laptop, gave a quiet grunt, then said, “Yeah, but we still don’t know if the truck’s engine is going to talk with the car’s ECU, and there’s still the matter of that snail I put on there. I mean, the car was originally a naturally-aspirated V6, and now it’s, well, a massive turbo inline four.”
“Well, you’re the computer wizard, Jake. And you spent the last week trying to make the two talk, so let’s make 'em talk.” Marcus said, dropping into the driver’s seat. He checked to make sure the parking brake was still on, stomped on the clutch, and cranked it over. The starter motor strained against 5.4 liters of inline 4, and for a moment, the only sound was the whining gear-reduction starter motor. Then a cough. A few pops, and a change in the whine. Then a deafening roar as the engine started, bellowing out of the open downpipe, kicking up dust from the floor. Over the engine’s thundering racket, the four guys cheered, and despite the car being an absolute mess, the beer was broken into.
4 Days Before the Race
“So, Trevor, what are you up to?” Marcus asked.
“Making a fuckin’ playlist for our music. Mostly eurobeat, but also some dubstep and some metal, just for a good laugh. We’ll annoy the hell outta anyone we’re near with it. That, and I added a few… surprises to our loadout.” Trevor replied, before motioning to the air tank in the trunk, and the bundle of plastic piping resting in the footwell.
“Didn’t you get kicked outta college when you, you know?” Marcus asked.
Trevor shook his head. “Kicked outta the dorms when I blew a hole in the ceiling with a confetti ball. Had to rent an apartment off campus if I wanted to stay. Decided I didn’t need an art degree that badly, got into running a mechanic’s shop instead.”
“Ah. Probably for the best. And what’s in this bag over here?”
“Stinkers. Basically, you know those fuckin’ ‘automatic’ air fresheners that just pump out flowery-death every five goddamn minutes? I found a brand of really rotten fart spray that’ll fit in there instead. So instead of flowers every five minutes, you get rotten summer porta potty every five minutes.”
“Make sure the battery tabs are secured well!” Jake yelled, packing his old laptop, the OBD-II cable, and several diskettes into a laptop bag. “Otherwise I’ll barf in your lap if they go off in the car.”
Cody was under the car, putting the finishing touches on the exhaust. “So, loud and proud is the plan, then?” Marcus asked his little brother.
“Yep. Catalytic because otherwise the ECU shits itself, reduces power, and puts us in limp mode, a straight section of pipe, and those Cherry Bombs you had on the shelf over there. Just added a splitter before them, stuck 'em both out the back. She’ll shriek when we belt her, but we’ll be able to keep it kinda quiet when we want to.” Cody said.
“Bro, glass packs and quiet don’t belong in the same sentence. And not when you’ve put them on something this big.”
3 Days Before the Race
DING! “Your keys are in the ignition.”
“IVAN’s working.” Marcus said.
“Ivan?” Trevor asked.
“Intelligent Vehicle Audible Notifications. IVAN. You know those cars from the 80’s that did this kinda shit, well, Dynamite kinda kept doing that in everything that wasn’t a sports car.” Cody replied.
“Either way, we gotta pack-and-run. Race start’s in Kansas City, Missouri, some campsite called Oak Grove.” Jake said. Trevor nodded, then said, “Don’t worry, I’ll call one of my drivers out, we’ll get the car mostly there, then we’ll drive it in.”
“Let’s get this disgusting shit-brown off the car, paint it a nice lime-green.” Marcus said. “And we’ll make a real rice-box out of it with some neons, one of those little spoilers, and some bright green fog-lights.”
With the plan “green-lighted,” the Highway Hooligans got to work installing the lighting kit and repainting the car in a hurry. After the paint was sprayed, and the masking tape was peeled away, they admired the car in the haze of paint fumes and decided this was a great idea. The paint was left to dry overnight.
Day 0, Hooligans Arrive in the Campsite
The roar of a turbocharged, quite large I4 burst through the peaceful, quiet air around the campsite, and as team Highway Hooligans got closer, the sound of eurobeat being played at full volume could be heard over the big engine’s cannon-fire scaring the birds from the trees.
Behind the wheel, Marcus was throwing the car around every corner sideways, rear tires shrieking in protest as the E5 weaved down the roads to the campsite. Once they were closer, the car was instantly eye-grabbing, with lime-green high-gloss paint, glowing green neon under-glow lights pulsing in time with the music, blinding xenon-blue headlights, and piercingly-bright green fog-lamps. They slid through the parking lot in a cloud of tire smoke, before settling for parking across three parking spaces.
Cody cheered at his older brother’s dramatic entrance, looking out the back window at the lengthy burnout-drifting-stripes leading up to their car, going all the way out of the parking lot and halfway up the road.
Jake gave a light grin, then turned the music down to a slightly more sane level, before Marcus rolled the windows down. He coughed on the cloud of tire smoke, then unbuckled the seat belt, grabbed his laptop bag, and got out of the car.
“Was it necessary to try to kill us, Mark?” Trevor asked from the back seat, pulling the handle and letting the electric motor slide the door back. Cody pulled his handle as well, though gave his door a shove and bailed out.
“Was totally under fuckin’ control. Not my first rodeo with going sideways at speed.” Marcus said.
“LOOK OUT, BITCHES, THE HIGHWAY HOOLIGANS ARE HERE!” Cody yelled, again disrupting the relative peace of the campsite.
Trevor and Marcus got out of the car, with Marcus lifting the hood to make sure their engine was okay, and Trevor, well, he was going to have a look around, and maybe cause a little mischief.
Jake grabbed his phone as Trevor sent a text message.
“Teal coupe is total shitbucket, no threat. Base model.”
Jake snickered, then said, “Looks like Trev’s scoping out the competition, or lack thereof. Won’t have to worry too much about some teal-colored coupe. It’s a base model, and not a good one at that.”
“Are we really this fuckin’ early that we’re having to wait on everyone else to show up?” Marcus said.
“I told you, we should have left an hour later. We’d be right in the thick of it, and more people would have seen that totally sick drift.” Cody said.
“Well, we’ll just have to see what everyone brings in.” Marcus replied.
DING! “Your keys are in the ignition.”
“Shut up, Ivan!” Jake said, grabbing the keys and giving them to Marcus.
(Out of character, when picking music for hearing the Hooligans, pretty much anything eurobeat, dubstep, techno, or metal will work. And yes, I’ll be ready for some cross-team RP.)