Dispatches from the Sidecar


Sitting in this sidecar while George is careening into crowds of pedestrians and other motorists, I am aware of how little I can do to steer this thing. All I can do is fight with him as he ignores all traffic laws and even simple generosity while running roughshod all over the road.

Often I have to strike at him madly just to capture his attention long enough to pass by some children before he notices them. George loves to smash into groups of children, elderly and even a few well to do citizens on their morning walk. Often he laughs in anticipation of the carnage, which is my queue to lash out at him madly.

He often turns his violence against me, but being bolted to him in this vehicle he cannot easily get rid of me. And I have to lean way out of the car to escape his fists. Sometimes I am battered as I desperately snatch at the wheel to avoid a massacre.

I am learning that there are easier ways to avert disaster. Sometimes I put bumper stickers on that insults the traffic cops, and we get pulled over. But they only issue tickets that George generally ignores. Other times I yell out “Wasn’t that your mother!” and he slows down in case she is watching. I have become quite astute at throwing pebbles at him and he slows down and stays in his lane so as to lash out at me without stopping. If I am judicious with the throws I can keep him contained as we pass the more populous sections of town. Every once and awhile he heads in for a pit stop either to get more gas or to repair any damage. I find that purposefully destroying any part of the vehicle only gets more lethal additions inserted as replacements.

So instead I sabotage the gas station and add repairs of my own. I install dampeners to slow us down, and remove the rounds from the weapons – but I cannot keep him off the road.

As we take off, often people rush up and give me tools or refreshments. This one woman keeps giving me water and food that confuses me. Why should I feed George? “Its for you”, she yells, “Take care of yourself, we are depending on you!” So I take a drink and realize for the first time how thirsty I have become, how long I have gone without nourishment.

Later someone hands me some pills. “What are these for?” “They are for you”, he yells back. I take a pill and instantly I feel better. George runs over a whole mess of people and I could care less. The woman runs by and hands me coffee. “Wake up”, she yells. “This is no time to lull yourself into a stupor!” I wake up and toss the pills away. Why did I ever take them anyway?

At one pit stop, a young woman dressed in a fireproof suit walks up and gestures for me to get out. “Its my turn.” Stepping out I almost fall to the pavement, I had not realized how tired I was. The woman helps me to a seat. As they take off, I see the young woman has installed a second steering wheel, what a great idea. She has restricted George’s wheel to large movements, while she has gained control of the finer movements. Now she can maneuver around people even as George steers right at them. She also regularly siphons off his gas so he has to stop more often. I notice she has also found numerous ways to get him pulled over and cited.

After a while I find myself running after her with an oven mitt to replace her glove. “Keep up the good work”, I yell after her. “We are all depending on you!”

Katrina C. Hopkins©2002

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