My Car Quest

August 21, 2019

Fiction: Al’s Last Ride

This highway leads to the shadowy tip of reality: you’re on a through route to the land of the different, the bizarre, the unexplainable…Go as far as you like on this road. Its limits are only those of mind itself. Ladies and Gentlemen, you’re entering the wondrous dimension of imagination. Next stop….The Twilight Zone.

Rod Serling

by Wallace Wyss-

He was almost done. Al stood up shakily. At 83 he wasn’t as spry as he had been back in his racing days so crawling under the car to hook up headers to lake pipes wasn’t so easy.

It had taken weeks just to get the gas, one precious gallon at a time. When the Green Agenda was passed, most internal combustion cars were outlawed except for a few government vehicles.

He’d worked a long time to put the Cobra together The 427 FE engine with twin quads was the best part of the find. The tires were new old stock he had ordered from a race car prep shop.

He looked at his watch. From San Bernardino to the crest was about 15 miles. At the top was Lake Arrowhead. He remembered when he and Tasia used to make it a regular thing to go up there for brunch on a Sunday morning, even in the summer when it could reach 90 deg. up top. They would leave at 7 am on the dot.

He had owned a variety of cars that he’d taken her up there in–the Ferrari, the Maser, the Iso Grifo, all gone now, all ruled illegal by The Green Initiative folks, and, what made it worse was when the “capture” of each one would be shown on the TV news as if the authorities had just caught a rogue mountain lion, one with human blood still dripping from his bared fangs. It was obvious–this threat must be put down!

The state had put audio detectors by the roadside now, to monitor cars going by and knew they would be activated as he blasted by, the flashers going off as they had a solid “hit” on an internal combustion engine. He knew drones would then be launched automatically for visual confirmations, and he expected they’d be on to him before he got even half way up the mountain.

Cobra 427 Art by Wallace Wyss

Cobra 427 Art by Wallace Wyss

He sat in the Cobra, pulled on his brown kid leather stringback driving gloves and then pulled down the glass-paned goggles. He wouldn’t need a helmet, unless he went off the edge but, hell, if he did, it’d take a lot more than a friggin’ helmet to save him.

He turned on the electric fuel pump first, then started the engine and his heart pumped as the exhaust blatted out a deep RHUMPHA RHUMPHA as the engine rough idled. He backed out. The neighborhood sound monitors were no doubt already turning toward the sound, ready to beam messages to Enforcement House.

He checked the chrome-rimmed Smiths. Water temp was 180 degrees but he knew it would be cooler up there. Just to make sure, he reached over and flipped the two toggles that turned on the dual electric fans that pushed air through the radiator.

The first mile, he passed ten electric cars, some that were already showing signs of losing steam with the incline. Kids in cars going downhill cheered and waved at him–happy to see an internal combustion car. They had heard of them, just never seen one in person.

He was 3/4 of the way up when the first drone flew over. He picked up the sawed-off shotgun and blasted it out of the sky. He downshifted to second. Now the hill was getting steeper. He might have to go to first.

He threw the car around a corner and noticed the vintage Goodyears still had a damn good bite. He was sliding but was able to keep it a two wheel drift, not a full drift, which, in a car as squirrelly as a big block Cobra, was suicide.

He floored it as the tires got grip again and felt a rush of excitement as the exhausts bellowed out a banshee scream, and there was a pocketa-pocket-pocketa as balls of fire shot out of the 4-inch diameter lakes pipes.

He saw the first village houses appearing, people walking to shops, looking up at the sound. Was it–could it be–an internal cumbustion engine? Why, it had been years…

He could hear a distant siren. Maybe the local police had been tipped off. The Greens e-mailed audible alerts to Police Departments–they had detected a retro-rodder–that’s what they called his socially irresponsible kind.

He looked up, and now two more drones were right over him and, above that, a helicopter. He saw the road block ahead. The SOBs weren’t even going to let him get to the top! He shoved the shotgun under the bucket seat. They’d find it when they searched the car but that would be the least of his problems.

He slowed to a stop in front of the lead Police Car and peeled off his driving gloves. The approaching officer was carrying handcuffs. His goose was cooked.

But damm it to hell, it had been one fine ride….

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

 
 
THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss is currently pitching his noirish novel, THE PORSCHE HUNTERS, to Hollywood.

 
 
 
 

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Summary
Fiction: Al's Last Ride
Article Name
Fiction: Al's Last Ride
Description
Driving a 427 Cobra could be a dangerous proposition sometime in the future.
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Comments

  1. Yes, first it was automatic transmission replacing stick shifts, then air bags, then features to keep your car in the lane (as if you couldn’t manage that on your own), then driver less cars. I guess this is the next step! Fortunately we are both fairly old and may be out of this world before this last step in your story happens!

  2. Great job and so true of where we are and soon will be.

    While they say it’s about safety, or it’s about being good for the environment, it’s increasingly government’s means to control our lives. What better way to tell Americans you’re no longer free than to take away our century old freedom to go where we want, when we want (well, maybe not with today’s traffic) and have some fun doing it?

    If you haven’t read 1984 and Animal Farm, you should. My wife and I read them again last summer in order to estimate what year we are in today. It’s probably 1982 but we’re almost to 1984 when you consider how intrusive Google and other social media companies are with their constant monitoring of our internet usage patterns and how our intelligence agencies may have covertly monitored an opposition political party. Facebook is even advocating a camera that tracks your movements as you go about your life at home. Viewers will be able to see you as you do whatever your routine might be. That will be 1984 but the twist is the fools that use the camera will be willingly agreeing to being monitored while in 1984 they had no choice.

  3. If you wrote this as a description of a bad dream you had, let me state for the record the following: a person who has such a dream often feels like the dream was almost real, while the person being told about the dream often listens respectfully but anxiously waits for the story to end.

    Yes electric cars are coming, but the power grid can barely handle carrying today’s electric demand without electric cars. Sleep easy as that power grid will never be rebuilt adequately in our lifetime to see your nightmare come true.

  4. Red Barchetta!

  5. ”An electric car losing steam” < a priceless Wallyism

  6. wallace wyss says

    Rick:that be a mixed metaphor….

  7. Robert Feldman says

    You can be sure that if the election in 2020 goes the wrong way that the “Green Initiative” folks will be looking for ways to take a lot more than our guns away. It’s going to be like WWII again with car guys burying their collector cars in the back yard when the Nazi’s invade your neighborhood! Administration in NYC has already passed Green legislation for buildings that will be unattainable financially. As if NYC rent is not high enough! This may be fiction, but it is not far from what could be the truth. We all have good reason to be afraid.

  8. Rob, not afraid here.

  9. wallace wyss says

    I predict that there will be “green zones” in the most popular tourist areas of London, Paris, Barcelona, New York, etc.
    and of course collector cars will be barred entrance if they have internal combustion engines. So count on the next 20 years being the Twilight Zone of collector cars–considered beautiful to look at but politically incorrect.

  10. Green zones, yes perhaps, but gasoline and cobustion engines will be around for a very long time.

  11. If they can just figure out how to connect a microphone to the axle gears or something to give drivers of electric cars a nice visceral and responsive sound then most of the car enthusiasts should be satisfied without internal combustion engines. And figure out how to keep electrics from running out of steam while going up hills, lol.

  12. Great job Wallace. Enjoyed your story as usual.

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