A Quick Ride
SUMMER RACIN', vol. II The other night, my brother Timmy and I were headed out to the airport to pick up the folks from their multi-week vacation in the motherland (Norway). During the trip, we had to make a stop at the Anderson Foothill Library. While Timmy was inside haggling for books from the Hold Shelf and trying to take the latest Stephenie Meyer book forcibly out of some poor youth's hand, I was hanging out in the car. Dad's car. The 2001 white Toyota Camry. Vroooooooooom! While fiddling with my seat belt and pondering the nature of the glove compartment, out of the corner of my eye I noticed a face that I swore I recognized. Turning, ever so slightly, I glimpsed the man, the machine, the machismo that IS... Ralph Becker (and aid, close in tow). Mayor of Salt Lake. Small town celebrity. I mean, this man has TOUCHED David Archuletta, where most of Salt Lake has only been touched BY the Arch. That's a huge distinction. It was an honor just to be in the same parking space, let alone the same zip code. Well, as fortune would have it, Timmy came out to the car just at that moment, moaning something about "The video wasn't on the hold shelf for ME, it was just on the hold shelf." And I caught his arm, pointed to the next car over and he said "Oh! That's Ralph Becker." And that's when the street race began. Pulling out of the library parking lot as if he didn't know what was going on, Ralph Becker's Aid nonchalantly signaled left, when in fact he turned right. Timmy's veins engorged, his knuckles gripping the faux leather steering wheel, looked over at me, raised his cupped hand and said "Shall we, brother?" "Indeed, brother!" I roared, meeting Tim's hand with my own, and we were off! We peeled out of the library parking lot at a leisurely pace, allowing Mrs. Johnson and her kids to cross the sidewalk first. But from there it really picked up. We pulled up along side the BeckerMobile waiting its turn to turn left onto Foothill Avenue. Muttering something about "He didn't need to change the City logo...that was an unnecessary use of city funds...!" Timmy gunned it as soon as the light turned green. Still, Ralph Becker's Aid feigned ignorance and meandered through the light. FOOL! We screeched out of there and smoked our way up to 45 mph in a matter of seconds. White lightning had us rolling!!! That wouldn't be enough, however. Although we had all the power that a V6 Japanese engine can afford, we were forced to stop again at Sunnyside and Foothill by the man--to borrow a word from the Stephenie Meyer lexicon for burgeoning big word readers, the "omnipresent" red light. "NO!!!!" we both screamed. Slapping the dashboard and whooping in frustration, I could just imagine Becker fidgeting with his street light remote control, trying to even up the fight. You KNOW that mayors all have that remote control, right? Well, there we were. Revving the engine, staring down Ralph Becker' s Aid. The excitement of the moment had me shivering, the sweat rolling down my neck and soaking my collar. Timmy kept grinding his molars and alternately slapping his head with his hands trying to vent the frustration. We counted down the pedestrian walkway...fourteen...ten....eight....five....three... two... one... "VRRRRRRRRROOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!" Off we flew, leaving the BeckerMobile in a cloud of our dust and asphalt. And yet Ralph Becker's Aid persisted in his stony faced naivete, plugging along at a comfortable 40 mph, smiling away at life and the birds. "What are they playing at?!" I croaked. "They're gonna try and fake us out!" Timmy panted, still refusing to let the steering wheel breathe. "Not on our watch!" I offered hopefully, still wondering what possible motive Becker could have to NOT engage us in road warrior combat. ....and suddenly, the BeckerMobile vanished. Gone. Like a puff of smoke or a campaign promise. "Like I said," Timmy whispered, "shifty as a crow, that ol' Becker." Wondering why Timmy had slipped into ol'-timer speak, I rocked backwards as my face started to melt back into my skull. Timmy had punched it. 40 mph....45...47...50! We were cruising down 400 South, whipping past fast food chains and the Main Library. 51. "Lay up, brother!" I cried from the seat fabric, tears staining the upholstery. "She can't take much more!" 52. "Have faith, brother," Timmy said, squeezing my hand reassuringly. 53. "Grrbdifflhgiench!" I managed to moan as the G force pressed the air out of my lungs. 54. "WE GOT HIM!!!" Timmy declared heartily, raising both hands in the air and slamming them down into the dash in triumph. "Haaarudlfem, Beidcker!" I stammered, trying not to black out. Peeking out the passenger window, though, I could see that we had beaten Beaker to his lair--the City County Building. Rolling lazily into the parking strip, the little white city vehicle carrying the mayor himself like some chariot of ire angled in at 45 degrees and took her spot. And to the end of my life, I will swear that Ralph Becker's Aid opened the door, humbly stood at attention, saluted us, knuckles to brow, and wiped a tear from his eye. Driving with Timmy is always exciting.