Episode XIII – Potentially Disastrous at any Speed

Bits of carbon monoxide splashed off my nostrils and into my brain. If I could get a little closer, perhaps the vapors would numb my frantic neurons. Then again, I was fine where I was with the taught rope. Sparks cavorted and flashed off the neat parallel lines beneath me and rapidly snuffed out. The rope was fixed and tight. I could taste gasoline and engine oil in my throat. My teeth were bared in a parched expanse of weathered white. The wind surged through the crevasses and gullies of my grimace and over-inflated my lungs with an abundance of oxygen. Against my momentum, carbon dioxide trickled from my nose and was cast aside into the cold night.

No sound entered my ears. At the beginning, the constant calm clicking had collected images in my mind of crowds clapping in a colossal fashion of enthusiasm. As the bearings rotated furiously and blindingly, the acclaim vanished. Odd, disjointed broken mutterings whipped by my eardrums like cold static on a broken television. The rope was loose. I pulled in. My eyes focused on the Cadillac in front of me. From the rear windows, faces turned toward me and uttered words which only had meaning as expressions.

Streetlights flew by with pale yellow eyes. The sky overhead was overcast with low clouds and glowed unnaturally orange. The wind which had thrashed at my baggy shorts and shirt like a tired prize-fighter had almost dissipated. In the small vacuum that I existed in behind the car, it contented itself with clenching my clothes with separate tight grips, bunching the material. It was as if wraiths were leeching onto my body to pry at my soul. My legs were locked. They were not tucked. I had started tucked, but had shifted to adjust my center of gravity over the passing lines underneath my boots. The surging, straining motion of the rope took the place of the fierce growling and roaring of the Cadillac's aged engine. The silver ball towing hitch caught random flashes of white light, casting them off into my eyes in endless tunnels that I blinked fiercely to see around.

At fifty-five miles per hour, I was balanced on a rope and eight wheels between life and a closed casket funeral. The stress that my velocity carried with me was causing constant certain death time warping and slowing moments. The rope that connected me to my momentum maker, the Cadillac was no life-line. I wanted it to be a brick wall, constantly firm and impermeable.

The rope didn't want to be a wall. It wanted to cast me aside as it unraveled since it was an already frayed climbing rope. Its fibers wanted to split. Its fibers wanted to sag, or stretch. It only was only holding me in place because it had not yet decided how it would fail. If it came apart, it was as good as a dead-line. Mr. Mysterious, who was driving, would slam on his brakes, and the wheels would consume me in one carnivorous gulp. Splitting could send me spinning into any of the reflectors that lined the road like land mines. The rope could never be expected to surpass all expectations and preserve my existence. So I gripped it – no, clenched it with all of my force and concentrated – no, fixated on following the car in a straight line down the freeway in the empty third lane of traffic at two in the morning.

I can summarize how I ended up behind the Cadillac easily. It was the work of the Devil. It is simple enough to prove this: a common phrase tells us that idle hands are the Devil's work. I can attest that Mysterious and I, as well as his friends yelling at me from the backseat were very idle that evening before the idea was floated. Ipso facto, our actions were the result of some sort of demonic possession. However, there may be a more worldly explanation. We could have all had testosterone poisoning. The theory of testosterone poisoning is simple. Young males have an abundance of testosterone, and therefore get themselves into all types of dangerous situations as the hormone wreaks havoc on their rational brain.

Exhibit A for turning the Theory of Testosterone Poisoning into a scientific law would have been my flesh and bones connected to a rope tied to a towing hitch on a car. No rational person would tie a used climbing rope to a car. No sane person would place gloves on their hands to grip the rope better, and check their wheels on their rollerblades before giving a thumbs-up to the driver to start accelerating. No one with common sense of any sort would even allow the idea to get past the point of mere talk. But we did. It didn't matter who had the idea. It didn't matter who had the rope, who tied the knot. It didn't matter that I volunteered to be pulled. I could tell you that I volunteered to be pulled because I knew that I had the best rollerblading skills and the greatest chance to survive. But my real reason was nowhere near that noble. I had T.P. It cascaded through my veins, blocking any genetic screams for self preservation.

The plot brought us to the Interstate 56, a freshly paved three mile freeway that went nowhere and connected to nothing. We chose the 56 because it was a logical certainty that at two in the morning, the freeway would have no cars on it, because it never had cars on it. Over the freshly poured concrete my feet soared, skimming the surface of the earth. My legs ached. My arms refused to unclench. ‘Freeway ends in one mile’ registered in my brain from the green flyswatter that had just passed by. The taillights flashed red as Mysterious tried not to stomp on the brakes too severely. I forced myself to part with the rope. The Cadillac and its twitchy tail drifted into the left lane. Serenely, my speed fell off, time began to follow its normal pace, the frantic beat of my heart assailed my ears with its quickstep, and I tried to gauge how much of my essence would always be trapped on those three miles of inanimate concrete.