South on Beltway Drive, Addison.
Wednesday, mid-morning . . .
We’re driving towards a place full of people who want to jab me about a billion times with needles they sterilize in a microwave.
“That’s a narrow view of tattoo parlors,” Ricky said as he performed yet another illegal right lane change.
He didn’t wait for a safe and appropriate time to signal for a lane change. He didn’t check his blind spot twice. Far as I can tell, he never even looked at all. And he can see me glancing down at my DMV book, shaking my head.
As we zip through traffic, people are either drafting us, or dodging us. There’s no middle ground. Lead, follow, or get out of the way, that’s Ricky’s take on it.
“This vehicle is an extension of my body,” he says, explaining his recklessness on the road. “I feel it as if it were another limb.”
Well, I say, you’ve got your limbs all over the road.
We come up to make a right turn, and I already know I’m going to be disgusted. I decide to dare him to do it correctly by reading the rules one by one.
“Alright, Ricky, first you signal for a lane change well ahead of the turning point, and when it’s safe, move the vehicle to the far right lane.”
He steadies his arms on the steering wheel, giving me the you’re on glance. His hands rest at 10 and 2 o’clock on the wheel, just like the manual suggests. I nod.
He puts on his signal.
He slowly moves over to the rightmost lane.
“Now, step number two,” I say, “Begin right turn signal, and start slowing down at least one-hundred feet from the corner.”
Ricky laughs under his breath, slowing the black Porsche Cayenne down to a speed that he clearly thinks is unreasonable.
“Very nice, Ricky. Very nice. Now, look both ways before starting to turn,” I instruct him as I read. “It’s all about safety now.”
His eyes become two little slits, too small to insert dimes into, even. He takes a deliberate glance to the left, then to the right, and then looks at me, wondering if it’s alright to proceed.
“Keep as close as possible to the right edge of the road. Turn using both hands on the wheel.”
He swallows, as if he’s trying to keep the bile down. I nod. He makes the turn. I nod, again. And then, just when I think there is some hope for him, he floors it, screeching the tires as we’re both pinned to our seats. Everything that’s flying by us, it’s all blurred and vibrating, just like the border town between earth and Deadside. But I know it’s just our ridiculous amount of speed, and not a call from the dead.
I couldn’t nod if I wanted to. And Ricky, he’s smiling like some maniacal circus clown who just escaped the insane asylum. As we’re doing this, the book falls open to the section on dealing with multiple vehicle accidents. How appropriate.
“That stuff’s for idiots, Jack,” he says as he brings the SUV down to a reasonable speed. “That’s based on old vehicle technology, and poor driving habits. If you really want to learn how to drive, you watch Formula-One racing. That’s driving. That right there,” he says pointing at my yellow DMV book, “ . . . that’s for retards.”
I tell him, If I ever get Cerebral Arteriosclerosis, I hope I forget all of the times like this.
“Yeah, yeah. Talk your trash, but whenever we need to pull a getaway, I’ll be the one you hope is driving.”
I shrug, and put the book in my pants pocket.
Ricky makes a quick left, and then another right, and we’re here. As we park he shuts down the engine and looks at me, “Dude, don’t be squeamish about this. I’ve got a reputation, you know. So don’t sit there cryin’ and acting like a bitch when they start doing the outlines.”
I’ve been dead before, Ricky. I’m pretty sure I can handle a little poke with some tiny little needles.
He nods, grabs the keys, and we head inside.