Before the Stage
Luke topped up the fluids shortly after Martin of Team Southend-or-Bust walked away, carrying the spare muffler from the old Sinistra Savage. He checked the underside of the car as well, using a camera on a stick as his version of an inspection mirror, looking for anything out of place.
“Well, if it’s still leaking, it’s doing so in such a way that I can’t see it. Got some nasty scrapes under here, too, but it looks like everything’s still mostly in place.” Luke said.
“Well, that’s good, because this leg’s all road, paved stuff. Next stage, though, is a return to hell, supposedly.” Linda said, looking at the maps they’d been given and giving Luke the GPS coordinates for their destination.
“Amy, any wind of cops nearby?” Luke asked.
“Nothing on the scanner.” Amy replied, holding a small box that’d been plugged into the cigarette lighter socket. “And I’ll swap this for a radar detector, because if you’re asking that, I know you’re going to speed.”
“Would like to see if she’s still got the speed of a demon.” Luke said.
“Well, she certainly sounds like one. She roars, wails, shrieks, hisses and spits. Not exactly lady-like.” Scott said, grinning.
“Lady-like enough for a dragon.” Linda said, before sticking her tongue out at her brother.
With their minimalistic camp packed up already, and no longer having the luxury of warning from multiple cars to start off, Luke got in the car as they got called up for their stage start.
The Savage roared to life with little effort, and Luke put it in gear. Again, the gearbox gave the heavy thud of first gear engaging, and they began rolling toward the starting line.
Day 2, Leg 4
With their radar detector on the dash, the top still in the down position, and the engine rumbling a little louder now with two missing mufflers out of four, the Snail-Boat was ready to start. Luke stepped on the brake and floored the gas, waiting for the flag to drop as the car roared and squirmed, the rear tires fighting the brakes and the brakes losing the fight to 662 cubic inches of angry, snarling V8.
The flag dropped and Luke dumped the brakes, the Savage instantly laying stripes as the locking rear differential did its job and transferred all of the power the engine was throwing down. The gearbox gremlin gave the transmission a mighty whack and they hit second gear with a heavy thud, still continuing to burn the tires until about 2900 RPM, where grip finally won out over raw power.
“Glad you got a convertible, Luke. Even if the air conditioning didn’t work, we’ve got all the air conditioning we could want.” Linda said, as they roared down the road to the highway, engine snarling and hissing as third gear clunked into action. Soon after, they hit the highway, and fourth gear, their ‘overdrive’ gear, engaged, the car still gaining speed.
“Set for 70, 80, 90, or bury the speedo at 110?” Luke asked Amy.
“I’m thinking 70. We’d make better time going faster, but… We know the brakes on this car suck, and a bright blue land yacht with the top down, with very loud exhaust, doing 110 is going to attract more attention than we want. 70, we’ll blend in. Anyone tries to pass us, though, floor it.” Amy replied, turning up the radio and going for some mid-90’s rock.
Linda had her headphones on, and was listening to music from her phone, and Scott was making quick work of a bag of chips, before deciding that the empty bag would look better on the road rather than in the car. With a quick flick of his wrist, the empty bag hit the sky and flew clear over the back of the car.
“Litterbug.” Luke called from the driver’s seat.
“It’s not hurting anyone.” Scott said.
“We’re speeding. I’ll gladly eat a speeding ticket if we get pulled over for that. If we get nailed for littering, I’m going to be very upset.” Luke said.
Scott rolled his eyes, then decided that when he next thought Luke wasn’t paying attention, he’d let the box of tissues hit sky. As Luke navigated a couple of ‘tight’ curves for a highway, Scott pulled the bottom of the box open and filled the sky behind the Savage with snot-rags.
“Really!? Was that necessary?” Luke called from the front seat, not bothering to look back.
“Didn’t do anything. It slipped.” Scott said.
“One or two would have been ‘it slipped.’ That’s… 173 paper tissues in the sky behind our car, from what I can see in the rear view mirrors.” Luke said sternly. “No more of that, or it won’t take long to find out who did it. Right now, it could be blamed on a pure accident. We have a convertible, it’s windy in here, and someone forgot the box of tissues on the back deck.”
Several more miles passed by before they made it to Toreyville Dam, with the car still very much in one piece.
Day 2, Leg 4 Aftermath
“Let’s get ourselves prepared for an ass-kicking.” Luke said to the rest of the team. “And not one word confirming, nor denying, that the cloud of tissues was our fault.”
With the word of warning given, the team started preparing the car, and themselves, for a rough ride. They secured items in the trunk that had seemed trivial before, made sure that the fluids were topped up, put anything they cared about in compartments so that they didn’t get thrown out of the car, and made a couple of quick sandwiches out of the stuff Scott had picked up in Goose Lake’s grocery store.
Virtually unchanged, just louder. Fluids all topped up. Items in trunk secured better.
MRL +13 overall. Feeling very lucky. Scott’s giggling like a teenager because he got to throw trash on the highway.