She clicked the shifter down a notch and blipped the throttle, the RPM kicking up five or six digits. In her mind she could picture the route: after this corner would be a long straight. He was packing a 1.8L and what sounded like a supercharger. She only had a 1.6L, tuned for a screaming top-end.
She could not screw this up. No, not in front of “Sidebrake” Yamanaka, master of the Devil’s Sidebrake where he would pull his Integra Type-R in front of you, engage his side brake, and then blast off as you tried every brake in your car to avoid hitting him – no lights, all panic.
He had already tried that once, but she knew to dive down the shoulder. No, this was not going to happen again.
Willfully ignorant of the screaming yellow Integra, she flicked the wheel left then right, the diminutive Civic dancing into a gap between a minivan and a tanker into an open lane and 4th gear. Still the Integra caught up, worming its gaping maw into her rear view.
A sinking feeling began to rise in her stomach. It was an ugly thought, one that the as-of-yet undefeated street racing champ in the Tri-County Area never acknowledged, partly out of superstition and partly out of fear.
What if I lose? There was much at stake. Races to be won, egos to be crushed, and good times to be had.
No, she reminded herself. Not today. There is always a gap.
Her eyes scanned the road ahead when one opened up in front of her between two silver nondescript sedans. She guesstimated it was around 160 inches, no more than 165 – just right for her tiny Civic. In her mind she could see herself wedging into that gap, accelerating away, and winning.
Deep breath. She floored Civic towards the stratospheric 11,000 rpm redline. The shift light blinked furiously as she came closer and closer to the rev limiter. There was no mistake. This gap had to exist and she was the only person it existed for.
The Integra was beside her at this point, but there was a giant bus in his lane. The race was over if she could simply make the gap. The two sedans kept their distance to the inch.
No time to think. She spun the wheel, floored it, and the Civic slipped right into the gap as anticipated. The Integra? Not so lucky. She heard his brakes locking up and the car skidding precariously close to one of the sedans.
She imagined him screaming in frustration, in anger that he was not the one would defeat the Great Exalted Number One Prodigy of illegal street racing. It was a beautiful noise.
The lights grew dimmer and dimmer in her mirror as she kept her foot down, engine screaming at full-tilt into the endless night. It didn’t matter that nobody could hear her or share her joy. It only mattered that she was there and she heard.