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The “Baby on Board” events used another type of mishap flag. Understandably, public reaction was somewhat less jolly at the sight of a speeding car weaving through traffic with an infant carrier and baby seemingly forgotten on the roof.
Shot Dunyun ( Party Crasher): The auctioneer starts the bidding at fifty dollars, saying, “Do I hear fifty? Who wants to give me an opening bid of fifty dollars for Lot Number One?”
This is Sammy’s Towing, so this must be Tuesday night. The Wednesday police impound auction is at Radio Retrieval. How organized is this? On Fridays, we’d be at Patrol Towing to preview the cars. Police crime impounds. Abandoned cars. Cars seized in drug busts or for unpaid parking tickets. Cars towed out of pay lots and never claimed, they all go for chump change to the highest bidder.
To find a car you can drive for a few days, paint and glue shit all over, and ram into another junker car, here’s your market. Marked with neon-bright grease pencil, yellow or orange, in the windows of some cars you can read “Brken Tming Blt.” Or “Eng Mnts crakd.” In one big four-door, still messy with “Just Married” toothpaste and hanging tin cans, Auction Lot 42, written on the windshield it says, “Cam lobs scord.”
The car up for bid right now, dented and crumpled, you’ll find dried blood and hair still caked on the dashboard.
From the Field Notes of Green Taylor Simms: The infant doll and the carrier were, of course, bolted in place. Most teams used the same drilled hole and carriage bolts each week, switching the baby carrier for the coffee mug for the bag lunch. Other teams, as their vehicle accumulated dents and scratches, becoming less attractive as a target, these teams would expand on the basic theme. Instead of a coffee mug, they might bolt an espresso machine and a tray of demitasse cups and saucers to their roof. A basket of pain au chocolat. A silver bud vase with a single red rose trembling in the slipstream.
Shot Dunyun: The auctioneer’s chanting, “Seventy-five, seventy-five, who’ll give me eighty? Who’ll bid eighty dollars? Do I hear eighty dollars…?”
Rant and Echo are still poking around the lot, looking under hoods. Echo pointing at bashed, rusted minivans still decorated with shreds of crepe paper and poster-paint words that say “Go Team! Tigers Go to State!” The seats and floor littered with snacks and fast-food wrappers left when the team bailed on a Soccer Mom Night.
Echo opens the driver’s door of a coupe, a faded artificial Christmas tree still tied to the roof. With one finger, she punches a button on the stereo, but nothing happens. She punches it again, hard, and a disk pops out. “My favorite chase mix,” she says, waving the disk for Rant to see. Echo goes, “I thought I’d never hear it again.”
From the Field Notes of Green Taylor Simms: Approaching Thanksgiving, the simple misplaced-coffee-cup theme would expand to include papier-mache turkeys, painted and varnished to a glossy brown. Sloshing stemmed goblets of red wine. Salt and pepper shakers. And tall white candles in brass holders, their flame bulbs glowing, battery-powered. A display of this extent usually signaled the last event in which a team planned to drive a particular automobile: Mounting dishes of yams and green beans required drilling dozens of holes through the roof and headliner.
For these elaborate vehicle send-offs—known as Funerals or Final Runs—teams arrived at the event grid, or field, no less than an hour before the window. Until the play officially began, these cars would parade and model their decorations, bidding one final, grand farewell before the night’s play would leave them in a junkyard.
Shot Dunyun: The script artist inside me still looked for events worth out-cording. I’d reach back and touch my port, ready to switch it. Maybe out-cord an interesting moment of my awareness. The way a rusted car looked. Or the way Rant smiled at Echo when it’s just her ass end stuck out from under a half-open hood, her voice muffled by grease and sheetmetal, saying, “This butterfly valve is fucked.”
A few wrecks away, a bashed hardtop sits up to the rims in mud. Written across the trunk lid in bright-pink paint, sparkle-pink fingernail polish, it says “Cherry Bomb III.” Next to the wreck stands Tina Something.
When Tina’s fingers curl into fists and she starts stomping through the mud, advancing on Echo’s ass, I switch my port to out-cord the carnage.
From the Field Notes of Green Taylor Simms: As I’ve mentioned, for sheer spectacle nothing surpassed Tree Nights. At those rare events, cars old and new arrived early to show off. The original idea had been to tie an evergreen Christmas tree to the roof of your vehicle, as if you were a happy family bringing it home from the corner lot or the forest. But, like the simple coffee cup that evolved into the feast, soon a plain green pine tree wasn’t sufficient.
Teams used artificial trees, of course, tied lengthwise, usually with the stump looming above the car hood and ropes holding it secure to the bumpers. Beginning with the original Tree Night, teams draped their branches with silver tinsel. Teams wired bright stars to the crown that hung and bobbed above the car’s trunk. People glued or wired shining ornaments among the needles. As early as two hours before a Tree Night window, Party Crashers will parade; atop their cars, their trees twinkle with colored lights, and a cord trails through a window to their cigarette lighter or vehicle wiring harness. Christmas carols will boom from every car stereo.
The moment the game window opens, those Christmas lights go black. The parading cars go silent. Teams scatter, and the real hunting begins.
Shot Dunyun: The auctioneer is saying, “Forty dollars. Do I have forty dollars? Come on, folks, it costs more than that to fill a gas tank. Do I have thirty dollars…?”
Echo’s still leaned over, with both arms buried up to the shoulders in engine, her face cheek-to-cheek with a valve cover, when Tina Something comes to stand behind her, saying, “Hey, whore!”
Rant’s planted both elbows on a front fender, peering under the hood at Echo.
The auctioneer’s saying, “Do I hear twenty-five? Twenty-five dollars…?”
And Tina says, “You, stop calling bogus fouls on me.” Talking to Echo’s butt, Tina says, “You foul me out and I’ll phone in fake shit on you.”
From the Field Notes of Green Taylor Simms: With their Christmas lights extinguished, the Tree Cars become black, shaggy, scratchy…monsters. The soft tinkle of swinging glass and crystal drops, a faint clue. A team might drive past any dark hedge or bush only to see it blaze into a hundred colors in their rearview mirror. A squeal of tires, and that mass of sparkling light and color will sideswipe their vehicle and again vanish into the night.
Shot Dunyun: The auctioneer is saying. “Twenty dollars? Can we start the bidding at twenty…?”
And from inside the engine compartment, her face still against the firewall, Echo says, “Forget you. I don’t even know your current plate.” Still giving Tina nothing but ass, Echo goes, “How do I call fouls on you if I don’t know your plate?”
The auctioneer says, “Twenty! I got twenty. Do I hear twenty-five? Who wants to bid twenty-five…?”
Rant watches Echo, still propped on his elbows, leaning into the fender. Me, I’m still watching, out-cording so I can live this at home later.
Tina says, “Hey, Day Boy…” To Rant, louder, she says, “You, with the black teeth! Day Boy!”
Rant looks up. His shirtsleeves rolled back to show the bite scars on his forearms.
And Tina says, “Has your girlfriend told you what she does for work? How she makes the cash she spends on wheels?”
Rant says nothing. Just from habit, I spit. Spit again.
One of Echo’s arms pulls back, out of the engine compartment, the elbow bending to show a hand. The hand stuffs an adjustable crescent wrench into one back pocket of her pants.
And to Echo’s ass, to the wrench poking out of her pocket, Tina Something says, “Your girlfriend you like so much, she fucks for money.” Tina crosses her arms over her chest, leans back, and yells, “Your little girlfriend is a gaddamn whore.”
From the Field Notes of Green Taylor Simms: The day following a Tree Night, the streets sparkle. They gleam. Gold and silver strands of tinsel flicker and flutter in the wind. Shattered glass ornaments crunch under passing tires.
Shot Dunyun: The auctioneer is saying, “…I have twenty-three. A bid of twenty-three dollars. Going once…”
Echo steps back, stands, and turns to look at Tina.
And Rant says, “Is that true?”
The auctioneer says, “…going twice…”
Echo twists her head to both sides until her neck pops, and she says, “Is what true?”
Rant says, “What she said.” He says, “Are you really my girlfriend?”
And the auctioneer says, “Sold!”

Echo

Canada Mercer ( Software Engineer): My wife and I hired Echo Lawrence after a dinner party. A couple we knew, the Tyson-Neals, had just given birth to their first child, and the baby’s needs kept interrupting the meal. After the mother had disappeared to tend it for the umpteenth time, the father remarked, “I’m glad we experimented with three-ways before we started a family.” With a newborn, he said, they’d never have the time and privacy necessary to experiment with bondage and vibrators and police uniforms. But now all of that was behind them, so they had no regrets about this baby. They seemed very happy.

As we left that dinner party, Sarah and I felt so far behind the curve. Here we were considering a child of our own, and we’d never even tried anal. We’d never even discussed a three-way. A few days later, we phoned the Tyson-Neals and asked how they’d met a woman who’d consider intimacy with a couple. They knew a young lady who worked with no one except couples our age. A Nighttimer girl who’d be happy to come to our apartment after the curfew.
Echo Lawrence ( Party Crasher): Forget it. The police never found the fucker that smashed into my family. The last I remember of my parents, we were driving. We were always driving. My mother always drove a gray car that came with her job, so covered with dents it looked like tinfoil someone had balled up and then tried to press smooth. As an infrastructure engineer, my mother always lectured me on service flow rates: Level of Service E versus K. She’d stop in the middle of an overpass so we could look at the roadway below with the traffic passing under us, and she’d quiz me about Hourly Volume and the Peak-Hour Factor of measuring traffic flow.
I was asleep across the backseat of that gray car when someone smacked into us, head-on.
Sarah Mercer ( Marketing Director): When she arrived, the young woman had what I’d call a withered arm. One of her elbows was crooked, bent a smidgen, and that hand seemed stunted. The fingers curled into the palm, and she never used them to grasp or lift anything. Her leg on that same side was shorter, and she seemed to swing it from her hip with each step, walking into our living room with a pronounced limp.
She would’ve been very pretty if it hadn’t been for a palsy or paralysis that seemed to leave the left side of her face slack and immobile. The poor dear, she’d come to the last word of a sentence, then stop with her mouth gaping open, clearly trying to force out the exact word. It was agony, the effort it took to not jump in and finish her every thought. After a glass of Merlot, she told us her handicaps stemmed from a single brain injury, caused when her mother had struck her in the head.
Echo Lawrence: I do. I tell people that. My mom did hit me. So did my dad, but not the way I let people imagine. Well, technically, I hit them. At the pulse of the car accident, I came rocketing out of the backseat and hit them both in the back of the head. The officer at the scene never put this on paper, but I broke both their necks. My head slammed against my father’s so hard it compressed my right temporal lobe. The tiny arm I have now is the arm I had when I was eight. My leg’s grown, a little. The aphasia, when I struggle for words, that’s a little put-on. I’ll pretend the last word in a sentence is almost choking me to…and I’ll pause…death. Like I can’t quite force out the right…word. That tension makes people really listen to me.
The car that hit us was another gray sedan owned by the county traffic division, exactly like the one my mother drove. Dinged and dented all over. A head-on collision, and they never found the other driver. Sounds…wait for the word…fishy.
Sarah Mercer: The girl had grown up an orphan, dating anyone who asked. One of her boyfriends escorted her to a private swingers’ club where people do their business in front of each other. He convinced her to have intercourse standing in the center of this club. Entered her from behind. She’s the first woman to arrive that evening, so they have plenty of unwanted attention. To endure this, she shuts her eyes, tight. The entire time, her boyfriend holds her withered hand, whispering “Meine kleine Hure…” in her ear.
Secretly, she’s flattered by all the attention, dozens of strange men bothering to watch. When the ordeal is finished, she finds her skin running with something more than sweat. She’s awfully glad she kept her shoes on, because she’s standing in a little puddle. All their sperm is dripping off of her. Grotesque as it sounds, apparently that evening did wonders for her self-esteem.
Until then, she didn’t even know that particular boyfriend spoke German.
Canada Mercer: The subject of venereal disease came up, and she insisted it wasn’t a problem. The Lawrence girl, she explained that sex workers regularly perform oral sex as part of foreplay. She told us the true purpose of the act is to routinely test a client for illness. Syphilis, she said, tastes like curried chicken. Hepatitis tastes like veal with capers. Gonorrhea, like sour-cream-and-onion potato chips. HIV, like buttered popcorn. She looked at my wife and said, “Let me lick your pussy and I can tell if you’ve been exposed to venereal warts, and if you’re at risk for developing cervical cancer.” Most forms of cancer, she said, taste similar to tartar sauce.
Echo Lawrence: As an adult, I found riding the bus made my hands sweat. Riding in a taxi, I could hardly take a deep breath. Driving, my heart would pound in my ears, and my vision would lose any awareness of colors. I’d get that close to fainting. I was so sure I’d be rammed by another car. On an unconscious level, my memory of the head-on collision was controlling me. It got so bad I couldn’t cross the street for fear that a driver might run a red light.
My world kept collapsing down, getting smaller and smaller.
Sarah Mercer: Canada will tell you. We had this dear, sweet crippled girl here, and she’d brought along a black leather shoulder bag that she set on the dining-room table. At some point in the evening, she set down her glass of Merlot and went to the bag, unzipping it and unpacking these…things. Long thick pink rubber things that were so worn in places that you’d be terrified of them breaking in half inside of you. Pink rubber that looked stained and smudged. Brown stains that might’ve been old blood. Black deposits, where the batteries had leaked. Things, I couldn’t say what they were. Handcuffs and blindfolds. An enema bag with a nozzle that didn’t look any too clean. Latex gloves. Some horrible spring-loaded things that looked like jumper cables—she called them “tit clamps.” Everything just reeked of chlorine bleach.
All these horrors, this girl was putting on my polished Drexel Heritage dining-room table, right where we set the turkey at Thanksgiving. And a speculum, oh Lord, so old it had a crack in the clear plastic. I remember her saying, “You can do any of these things to me…”
Echo Lawrence: My routine—where I talk about tasting people for hepatitis or gonad warts—I was saying that long before I met Rant Casey. The fact he could actually do that trick, it was un-fucking-believable. He licked me one time and told me to lay off eating whole eggs. From the taste of my pussy, he said my cholesterol was too high. Later, the blood work came back that he was dead-on.
Canada Mercer: This girl, Echo, she took out a thick white candle and lit it, telling us to let the wax melt so we could pour it onto her bare breasts. She shook out the match and told us, “I don’t want you to torture me just because you feel sorry for me. I want you to really enjoy hurting me.” She said, “I want tonight to be about you.”
The young lady said she despised what she called “Pity S&M.”
Echo Lawrence: Get this. The ideal therapy came to me: If I could just stage an accident and survive it, then I might start to get past my fear. If I could just bump my car into another car and cause a fender bender, then I’d see that fatality accidents are so rare they’re not worth the worry. So I started stalking other drivers, looking for the perfect car to bump. The perfect accident. Just one perfect, controlled accident.
A certain car might look perfect, but when I drove close enough to smack my fender, I’d see a baby seat in the back. Or the driver would be so young you knew an accident would destroy their insurance rates. Or I’d trail someone until I could tell they had a terrible minimum-wage job and the last thing they needed was a sprained neck.
Nevertheless, the role reversal helped my nerves. Instead of waiting to be killed by another reckless driver, I’d become the predator. The hunter. All night, I’d be looking. You can’t count the number of people I shadowed, trying to decide if I should plow into their car.
Canada Mercer: No, we never did have three-way sex. The girl never took off her coat. A week later, I came home to find Sarah sitting in the kitchen drinking tea with the girl. We paid her two hundred dollars, cash, to drink tea for an hour. Sarah kept telling her how pretty she looked. The week after, I came home and Sarah was washing the girl’s hair in the kitchen sink. Sarah gave her a permanent wave with blond highlights, and paid two hundred dollars for each of the three hours it took.
If Sarah could boost her self-esteem, we hoped the girl might find a new career. Talking to her, praising her, we lost track of our plan to have a child of our own. The girl cost so much and took up so much of our free time, I couldn’t afford to buy a dog. To this day, we still see her every week. And I do think we’re making some headway.
Echo Lawrence: My perfect accident turned out to be some guy with a dead deer tied across the roof of his car. Some fucking Bambi-killer, a guy wearing a camouflage jacket and a hat with ear flaps. He’s driving a fuggly four-door sedan with the dead deer roped lengthwise, its head laying at the top of the windshield.
In the city, a dead deer’s not something you can lose sight of very easily, so I keep my distance and track him through neighborhoods, biding my time, looking for the perfect spot to nail his killer ass. Somewhere an accident won’t block traffic or endanger bystanders.
Get this. I’m hunting him the same way he stalked that poor four-legged creature. Waiting to get my best shot.
I mean, I’m really getting off on this. I’m so fucking excited. I scoot through yellow traffic lights, staying a field of cars behind him. I slow and drop back when he turns, then make the same turn. I let cars slip between us so he won’t notice how long I’ve been in his rearview mirror.
At one point, I lose the fucker. A light goes red, but he runs it and cuts a right turn around the next corner. All my months of tracking, and my perfect accident’s escaped. The light goes green, and I sprint to find him, turn the same corner, but he’s gone. Down another block, I’m scanning my way through intersections, hoping for a glimpse of that deer corpse, that poor, sad murdered deer, but there’s nothing, fucking nada. Nobody. My watch was ticking toward morning curfew, and the last thing I needed was a fucking five-hundred-buck ticket for getting caught outside in the daylight.
Sarah Mercer: We called the Tyson-Neals, and they admitted to never having sex with the girl, either. The reason they’d finally decided to have a child was because it penciled out as cheaper than seeing Echo every week.
Echo Lawrence: Listen up. I’m driving home, at least happy that I won’t get a past-curfew ticket or be facing some redneck hunter over his crushed quarter-panel—when I see the dead deer. The car’s pulled off the street, idling in the drive-through lane of a fast-food place. The driver’s window is rolled down, and a bearded face is barking at the menu speaker. In the fluorescent drive-through lights, the car looks spotted with rust. The paint, scratched. Most of the car is piss yellow, but the driver’s door is sky blue. The trunk lid is beige. I pull over and wait.
A hand passes a white bag out the drive-through window, the driver gives the hand some paper money. Another beat, and the piss-yellow car eases across the curb, moving into traffic. Before he can disappear again, I’m on his tail. I pull my seat belt tight across my hips. A heartbeat before my front bumper should smack his backside, I take a deep breath. I shut my eyes and stomp the gas pedal.
And again, fucking nada. The car’s jetted ahead, darting between other cars so fast the deer’s dead ass waves its tail back and forth in my face.
Chasing him, I forget I have a bum arm and leg. I forget that half my face can’t smile. Chasing him, I’m not an orphan or a girl. I’m not a Nighttimer with a crummy apartment. The deer’s ass dodges through traffic, and that’s all I see.
Up ahead, a light turns red. The piss-yellow car, its brake lights flare red as it slows to turn right. For a blink, the deer’s gone, until I follow it around the curve. And there, on a quiet side street, without bystanders or police, I shut my eyes and…kah-blam.
The sound, that sound’s still recorded in my head. It’s time frozen solid. My only wish is that I’d out-corded the chase and attack, but I’ll still never forget it.
My front end is buried so deep in his trunk that the dead deer’s swung loose. The ropes broke, and the deer’s busted open. At about the belly, the carcass has torn into two pieces. And inside, instead of blood and guts, the deer is—white. Solid white.
The driver throws his door open and climbs out, bearded. His camouflage jacket quilted and huge. The ear flaps of his hat flapping with every step toward me.
I say, “Your fucking deer…” I say, “It’s fake.”
And the guy says, “Of course it’s fake.”
I say, “It’s…Styrofoam?”
The deer, turns out it’s a life-size deer target for bow hunters to shoot at.
And the hunter, he goes, “Where’s your damned flag?” Walking around to the back of my car, looking at my license plate, he says, “You better believe I’m calling fouls on you—no flag, way too much impact—multiple fouls.”
Canada Mercer: We never did get around to experimenting with bondage and police uniforms. For Christmas, we asked Echo what she wanted Santa Claus to bring her, and she told us a “fisting dildo.” Instead, we chipped in with the Tyson-Neals and a few other couples and bought her a car. It would seem she’s a terrible driver.
Echo Lawrence: Those fucking blond highlights, I couldn’t wait for those to grow out.
Sarah Mercer: To this day, I still have no appetite whatsoever for tartar sauce.

A History

From the Field Notes of Green Taylor Simms ( Historian): For myself, personally, my reason for participating in Party Crash events is quite simple: I hold my life as precious. I adore my friends and family. I treasure my health and the myriad capabilities of my aged yet healthy body and mind.
I consider myself to be enormously gifted with good fortune, but accidents do happen. Annually in this nation, approximately sixteen thousand people are murdered. During the same period of time, approximately forty-three thousand die in motor-vehicle accidents.

Every time I operate a motor vehicle, all of what I treasure can be taken. Stolen in an instant without due process. When you’re aboard a motor vehicle, death passes within a finger’s length every few moments. Anytime a vehicle passes mine in the oncoming lanes, I could be subjected to torture more violent and painful than anything the world’s dictators would ever stoop to inflict. Perhaps another driver has eaten nothing except hamburgers for his entire life, and as his car approaches mine on the freeway, his clogged heart fails. Blind with pain, he clutches his seizing chest. His automobile veers to one side, colliding with mine, and forcing me into another car, a gasoline tanker truck, a guardrail, over a cliff.
Despite my lifetime of declining rich desserts, my evenings spent jogging, regardless of all my careful moderation and self-discipline—I’m trapped, wadded inside a shell of steel and aluminum. My body, violated in countless places by fragments of broken glass. My low-cholesterol blood rushes to abandon me in hot, leaping spurts.
Despite all my care, the heart-attack victim and I will both be just as dead.
Accidents do happen.
Echo Lawrence came to Party Crashing to help resolve her personal history. Mr. Dunyun, to experience an actual event after his life spent boosting other people’s recorded adventures. And I’d speculate that Rant Casey simply enjoys being among other human beings. I came to Party Crashing because accidents happen. People you love will die. Nothing you treasure will last forever. And I need to accept and embrace that fact.
Irene Casey ( Rant’s Mother): I recollect, come about this time we got a letter from Buddy. Tucked in the same envelope was a snapshot of him kissing some strange boy. I didn’t know what to think of that. In one photo, Buddy looked dressed up in a shirt and tie for a friend’s wedding, so Chester said there was still hope. Buddy wrote us that he was working for a bug exterminator, and he had his own apartment. He wrote about going to a dentist. A girl he met was teaching him yoga. A girl, thank God.
We wrote back to say Cammy Elliot had asked after him at church. She’d just got her last round of rabies shots. In case he got hungry with his new friends, I sent him a batch of fudge. The kind he likes best. With plenty of chopped walnuts and thumbtacks.
From the Field Notes of Green Taylor Simms: Prior to the inception of the Infrastructure Effective and Efficient Use Act—the I-SEE-U Act, as people refer to it—when transportation engineers endeavored to make the system carry more vehicles, their first tactic was to study the ways traffic flow fails. What was the chain reaction that starts with a sideswipe and backs up vehicles to the horizon in every direction? Much of this you’ll have to swallow on faith. No Freedom of Information paperwork is going to confirm something this confidential. There exists no official mention of the mercenary Contractor Cars. On paper, the government refers to the project as “Incidence Event Prompting.”
Irene Casey: Some of the other snapshots Buddy sent, they showed his new best friends. Another snapshot showed a girl who didn’t look healthy. Her one arm was, oh my, like a skinny praying-mantis arm. Just a itty-bitty arm, with the hand pulled up to her chest. The little fingers held one end of this pink baseball bat, so long that the top of the bat rested on her shoulder. She was sitting cross-legged on the carpet, and her other, regular hand looked to be rubbing the baseball bat with a square of sandpaper. In other photos, the girl is rubbing smudges of shoe polish on her pink baseball bat. That girl wouldn’t be doing messy work like that, not on my carpet.
From the Field Notes of Green Taylor Simms: Incidence Event Prompting boiled down to trans-staff engineers requisitioning old, unmarked pool cars and intentionally colliding with each other on busy arterials during peak traffic times in order to study the effect. The project killed two birds with one stone: First, obsolete four-door sedans went to the scrap heap to better serve humanity. That, and the traffic engineers accumulated video documenting how drivers react to an accident in their immediate presence.
None of the engineers impacted with enough velocity to hurt their comrades, and none of the events was worse than paint scratches and sheetmetal body damage. Still, on video you see traffic immediately slow to a voyeuristic crawl. The infamous and bothersome rubberneck effect.
Brannan Benworth, D.M.D. ( Dentist): According to our files, Buster Casey made a single visit to our office. I have one hygienist who still talks about his teeth. The worst stains she’s ever seen. Mr. Casey was referred by a longtime patient, a favorite among the office staff, a young man named Karl Waxman.
From the Field Notes of Green Taylor Simms: Community busybodies, thin-skinned control freaks, they complain about the traffic reports on DRVR Radio. The Graphic Traffic Updates. That voice announcing the tag line: “We Know Why You Rubberneck…” Naturally, the Transportation Department is behind that radio show. The transportation engineers simply wanted to see if drivers would continue to gawk if they knew exactly what they’d see. If a radio personality was telling them the grimmest details, would traffic still snarl?
The transportation agency monitors paramedic frequencies and passes the DRVR announcer the gory facts. A majority of the general public adores that show. People swoon over traffic accidents. A quick peek or a good long gape.
Echo Lawrence ( Party Crasher): Yeah, I wanted Rant to do yoga before Party Crashing. Everybody should, just to stay limber and avoid getting hurt. Yoga and stretching. I showed him the Down Dog pose and the Rabbit. We were practicing the Archer when he asked me about the hit man Tina Something goes around with, her boyfriend, Karl Waxman. Rant really admired the asshole’s teeth.
Tina Something ( Party Crasher): I don’t give a gaddamn what the police say. Wax did not kill that hillbilly.
From the Field Notes of Green Taylor Simms: Long before modern Party Crashing, the traffic engineers were running each other down. The videos show them, four geeks in each gray car: one engineer steering, one in charge of documenting with the camera, two engineers on lookout for other gray pool cars covered with dents and scratches. Each car the same government issue: four-cylinder, automatic-transmission, three-point seat belts, and a big “No Smoking” sign riveted to the dashboard.
The pool-car boys loved to hunt each other. Those gray pool sedans were so easy to find, especially after bankers’ hours ended. With full-coverage health insurance, driving a car not their own, with complete permission and encouragement to crash—and getting paid overtime wages, to boot—the infrastructure teams treasured their work.
Jarrell Moore ( Private Investigator): Our firm was able to locate one likely candidate who fit the client’s vague description for a biological father. An individual by the name of Charles Casey. That’s the good news. That Charles Casey, aka “Charlie,” attained Nighttimer status and housing under the I-SEE-U recruitment program. He did work a variety of city-government jobs while enrolled in college.
From the Field Notes of Green Taylor Simms: Event Prompting was so exciting that when the study window ran out and manpower was reassigned to flow studies and traffic-light timing, these traffic geeks couldn’t give it up. Even without a paycheck attached, and forced to wreck their own cars, those original engineers kept up their games. Naturally, outsiders caught on. No matter how diligently you keep something a secret—accidents do happen.
Jarrell Moore: The bad news is, the Charles Casey we found has been missing and presumed dead for almost sixteen years. He’d been a traffic-flow engineer for the city and died in a work-related car accident. It seems he’d requisitioned a car from the department motor pool, then ran it head-on into another car, driven by a female co-worker. The woman and her husband were both killed. Their daughter, who’d been asleep in the backseat of their vehicle, was left handicapped by the accident.
Charles Casey’s body was not recovered at the scene. The couple he killed, their names were Larry and Suprema Lawrence.
Irene Casey: By the last snapshot that Buddy sent home, you can tell that crippled girl, she’s not sanding and refinishing a baseball bat. That thick pink club she’s rubbing on with sandpaper and steel wool, and staining with shoe polish and old tea bags, it looks exactly like some giant’s sex thingy. A girl like that, with a gimp arm, making herself a dirty, bigman thingy…It’s a stretch to see that girl as the mama of my future grandbabies.
From the Field Notes of Green Taylor Simms: Strange as it sounds, emergency service personnel continue to channel Tina Something the gory details of each drive-time accident. Everyone with a government letterhead will deny this, but it’s true.
It’s all connected. The I-SEE-U Act. Team slamming. Night versus day. Graphic Traffic. Our tax money was the springboard for what eventually became the Party Crashing culture. The pool-car boys, those unsung engineers, their study recommendation split this country into day and night. And they brought us the number-one-rated daytime radio program in this market.
Echo Lawrence: Yes, fuck, yes. The name on my dad’s tombstone is Lawrence Lawrence. That’s not funny. But Waxman did kill Rant. Sure, he’s got great teeth, but the man’s evil.
Shot Dunyun ( Party Crasher): Beyond evil.

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