Our Protagonists Almost Die Before They Even Get To The Start
Our Protagonists Are Introduced And Act Like Somewhat Normal People
In Which They Noise Pollute Like College Frat Boys And Are Thoroughly Outdone by a Blue Man
In Which They Argue About Playing Gay Chicken With Keys Being Hidden in Unmentionable Places
In Which Gay Chicken Is Played But Kai Forgets the Chicken Part and Strop Loses
In Which Strop Fails Emissions Ratings and Team Southend are Scarred For Life
In Which Toothless Starts Wheezing and Strop’s Butt Unleashes a Can of Whoopass on Team Clutch Droppers
#Team Flaming Fart Cannon
###Day 2, 12-2pm
Even after passing through Bandon in a cloud of toxic emissions, Strop and Kai were still clutching their sides, the occasional wheezing paroxysm of laughter wracking their bodies.
“Oh God I died,” Strop gurgled.
“The best.” Was all Kai managed.
The highway was long and almost entirely straight going Southbound. The wounded Toothless once again took flight, picking up speed and buzzed over the road doing close to 90mph.
“Come on, let’s catch another team and do it again,” Kai joked.
“Okay, but, I gotta be careful, the next one could be a shart.” Strop cautioned.
As the 101 Southbound turned into a gently undulating coastal drive, Kai continued to give Toothless the beans. The beach view blurred on by with 4500rpm on the tacho and the droning of the inline four punctuated by pained squeaks from the front left every time they crested a bump or hit a dip.
“Uh, is that getting louder?” Strop wondered out loud.
“No.” Kai said, maybe a touch defensively, meaning, yes, definitely. And it persisted while they passed through Brookings, crossed the border from Oregon into California, through Smith River, and even Fort Dick (snicker). But it was in the dappled curves of the Redwood State Forest that even as Kai attacked each banked corner with gusto, Toothless sickened further, shuddering and shrieking while braking into the tight right handers, then groaning as he pinned the throttle past the apex.
“Oh shit dude, I think it’s getting worse,” Strop warned, his remark superfluous as Toothless burst into rattling vibrations that chattered their teeth. First it was just a shiver, then a rigor, then a bucking and jostling that rustled their jimmies* harder than a vibrator strapped to a jackhammer. They weren’t even able to appreciate the renewed view of the coast and the tide washing up on the rocky beach on the approach to Klamath Camp. The curves of the forest road over, the vibrations lessened, but the steering wheel still threatened to jump out of Kai’s hands. Knuckles white, he crooned and cajoled, in a vain attempt to soothe Toothless’ agony:
“Nej nej nej, skattepige, bare lidt endn-”
It was the bump at the end of the bridge that did it. There was an audible snap, then a grinding, and Toothless pitched to the left with the howling of rubber. Kai instantly pulled to the right, but the wheel was jammed fast. Strop clutched his seatbelt and braced. Throwing up smoke, the flaming Corolla veered across the oncoming lane, off the runoff and was swallowed by the tree canopy. Then there was a crunch, the airbag popped, knees banging against the footwell, seatbelts crushing their ribcages, and silence.
Seasoned veteran of racing crashes, Kai had the motor off, seatbelt off, levered the door open and hopped out within moments. Strop, not a seasoned veteran of crashes in general, tried opening his door for a good ten seconds before realising it was jammed shut, struggled across to the driver’s side and spilled out onto the ground. By the time he had dusted himself off and rubbed his sore knees, Kai was already bracing against the B pillar, in an apparent attempt to haul Toothless out of its dirt crater.
Strop stared at him for a good half a minute before his brain engaged. “Kai, what the actual fuck are you doing.”
“Help me!” Kai grunted, putting his back into it. Toothless inched back a good half foot, dirt dragging in front of the wheels. Strop’s eyes bugged out, first at seeing Kai’s slight frame shift a firmly stuck car, second in an attempt to comprehend what Kai planned. But of course. Kai didn’t have a plan.
“Kai, stop.” Strop stood up, palms upward in utter confusion. “It’s over.”
“No! No! We can fix this!” Kai’s jaw was set, breathing laboured as he pulled again. “Just… gotta…” Strop marched over, firmly wrapping his arms around Kai, and forcibly dragged him away. Kai latched onto the doorframe with his fingers, arms almost elongating as he clung on for dear life. “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”
“FOR FUCK’S SAKE KAI THIS IS WHAT WE PLANNED ALL ALONG,” Strop roared, straining with all his might. Finally, his entire weight and power overcame Kai’s flagging grip, and they tumbled into the dirt. Kai kicked and flailed, yelling unintelligibly, and Strop just held on, riding the flames of his fury until he burnt out and fell still, save for the heaving of his chest.
Strop shoved Kai off, and rolled over to his knees. “This was what we planned all along,” he repeated, softer now.
Kai didn’t move, or blink, for such a long moment Strop thought he had lost consciousness. Finally he spoke. “Yeah, I know.”
In silence they struggled to their feet, and dusted themselves off. Toothless lay lifeless, save for the ticking of the heat dissipating from the engine. Strop felt a sudden flashback, to watching the air escaping from his dying patients; wisely, he said nothing.
“I’m going to call a tow truck,” he announced, to no reply. He turned to look at Kai, head bowed, now stroking Toothless’ rear hatch, murmuring barely audible:
“Såså, det skal nok gå… Du har været en god bil, men nu er det på tide at komme videre… Så tak, Toothless, mini Nightfury… Vi burde ha’ set om du kunne ha’ kørt fra den også. Vi ses på den evige racerbane…”
As silently as he could, Strop took ten paces back, and started flicking through his phone. By the time he was done, Kai had finished talking to Toothless, and was standing still, arms folded, contemplating his hand-painted flame decal.
“Truck’s going to be a few hours,” Strop announced.
At first, Kai didn’t answer. When he did turn around, hands on his hips, his jaw was set and his gaze steely.
“We’re gonna need a proper site for the pyre.”
*I am quite aware that this is not the typical usage of “rustle my jimmies”. This is deliberate, as I do enjoy employing ironic misappropriation and double-entendre simultaneously!