Driving II

by Bara no hitomi

"Anthy," I said tightly, "It's getting closer."

"I know," she replied.

I tried to keep from looking in the rear-view mirror. I didn't want to be able to see the driver of the red convertible.

We were on Highway 14, just past Mojave. Outside the windows of our little rental car, the desert whipped past, red with a dusty sunset and utterly alien. A few moments before we'd both been commenting on how beautiful it was; now I watched the dead-looking, spiky brush fly past with a dry-mouthed dread.

Anthy floored the gas pedal of our small grey sedan and it whined that it wasn't meant for speeds like this. I glanced in my side mirror and saw the convertible gaining on us.

I could feel the little car weaving slightly in the powerful desert wind. The two-lane highway ahead was striped with cracks and patches that blurred together in the speed that Anthy coolly demanded from the little car. I was so intent on the road that I didn't see the tractor-trailer until we were almost upon it.


"I see it," she said, sounding slightly amused. It was a flatbed, carrying some large upright teal boxes roped together. Their tops were all white plastic.

"This is a no-passing zone!" I shut my eyes. I'm a lot more relaxed about her driving now, but I didn't have as much experience with it then.

Anthy laughed as she pulled across the yellow line to pass the truck. "Utena," she said, "It'll be fine." Then she actually giggled and made a vague gesture at the truck as she passed. I turned to look at the truck, totally bewildered. Anthy never made rude gestures at other drivers, and the truck hadn't done anything... All I saw was the enigmatic logo "Dear John" emblazoned on the white side of the cab, and then we swung in ahead of it and were away.

Behind us, I heard a muffled boom. Then a couple of others.

Anthy laughed, in that peculiar near-silent way of hers. I risked a glance in the rear-view mirror.

The truck appeared to be slowing down. Some of the boxes it was carrying had fallen off. One was lying at the side of the road. The box, I saw now, had a door-- it was a porta-john. Its contents, and the contents of others, were strewn all over the road. I couldn't see the Car.

"Anthy, what did you do?"

"The cable on the truck snapped," she said demurely.