Appetite For Destruction

Things that go bang in the night and the men who love them

Suhr circles around the dead cars, trying to find DePoy, but without a radiator he hasn't got much time. Suddenly he's T-boned hard, knocking his car a good 10 feet sideways. The radiator quits, and he's disqualified. DePoy soon follows. David Schueller, a DePoy teammate, wins the derby a few minutes later.

Horn and Suhr regroup in the pit area. "Oh well," Suhr says. "At least we took out Eric."

Tractors pull off body after body, but not Horn. His mortally wounded Impala is still running, much to his dismay.

This was meant to be a suicide mission. Horn looks at the mutilated heap in disgust. It's either finish it off tonight, or live with it until the next derby, in April. "No way am I taking this thing home," he vows.

Although the main derby is over, the women's powder-puff remains. It's Horn's last chance. With his radiator gone, he knows his car has just a few minutes of life left. All he needs is a woman. "Maybe we should put a wig on Jolee and let him race," Slick suggests.

Horn kicks a tire, then turns to survey the pit area where a few wide-eyed fans wander between wrecked cars.

The furrows in his brow disappear as he spots a woman standing nearby. He's on her in an instant. "I'm begging you to kill my car. There's still just enough life left in it that I can't stand it, please, please."

The woman does not say no immediately, and that's all Horn needs. "Listen, after your first hit you're going to love it. Forget your instinct about not hurting other people, forget everything but reverse and forward. And no brakes, there's no need for brakes here." The woman remains unconvinced. "How hard are the hits?" she asks.

Horn is honest. "The last powder-puff here was brutal, worse than the men. It's like women don't care about the rules." She takes a step back but he continues. "Look, you're not going to go much faster than 20 miles an hour, maybe 30. Of course, a head-on when you're both going 30 is like hitting a brick wall at 60 . . . but you'll be okay." She looks terrified. He realizes he's losing her, and pulls out his trump card. "Here, get in. Just sit behind the wheel and see how you feel."

She lets loose of her daughter's hand, steps up on the hood and eases into the seat. Grabbing hold of the steering wheel, a wide grin blooms across her face. "Um, can I start it?" she says. "Sure," Horn says, smiling widely. He shows her the switch, she flicks it and the roaring engine makes her shriek in delight. "All right!" she shouts over the engine, "this is great! Now what do I have to do, just go hit people?"

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