Crash – A Short Story

A 1969 Pontiac Ventura station wagon with over 135,000 miles on the odometer, shot shocks, and shitty brakes really has no business on the road anymore, and I knew it. But I still pushed it.

I went faster and faster, feeling immortal as the balding tires hummed away, wearing away rubber as I floated along in butteryfly jerks between the asphalt ruts. Days and months went by like this in carefree juants.

I should have known the end was near. All the signs were there but I ignored them. At first it was an intermittent, inaudible, high-frequency throb that would last no longer than half a second. The steering wheel would briefly tremble in my suddenly white knuckled hands like a frightened child before returning to its normal languorous drift from side to side.

Once I thought I heard a clunk but I wasn’t sure if I had run over something, and I never heard the sound again, so the thought of it fell behind me like so many miles.

Later, it was the basso chafing sound for a few miles that stopped as abrubtly as it started.

But right before the crash, oh! I knew something was terribly wrong from the sound. It began as a metallic warble that matched pitch with my speed. Puzzled, I would slow down and speed up, oblivious to the end I was coming to. Just as I was ready to pull over and check, it stopped.

Unnerved, I still slowed down, but as the seconds turned to a quarter mile, then a half, then a mile, then two miles, I stupidly attributed it to a loose belt and brought the car back up to 80 MPH.

Right before the end, the warble returned, was replaced by a squeal, and then it was over.

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