My Speed Demon, the Prequal
What is My Speed Demon, you ask?
It's kind of like a part of me is possessed by a demon.
Yes, a Speed Demon is a demon, which takes hold of a certain part of your personality and drives you to, well, drive. Fast.
This is the origin of My Speed Demon.
It all started when I was very young. I wasn't aware of it at the time, but I was born with a genetic predisposition that would leave me forever susceptible to possession by a Speed Demon.
It wasn't really noticeable in the beginning. I wasn't ever drawn to cars as a child, but the signs were there: behaviors like doing stupid things on bicycles and skate boards – especially involving speed.
It wasn't just me, either, this thing is hereditary – apparently – it seems that it may skip a generation or more or something. I mean, a big chunk of my family has had a long-standing fascination with cars. And it should have been an obvious sign that I was vulnerable. My Grandfather, who raised me, was definitely infected from an early age, and in some ways, worked as an enabler. After all, I grew up on stories about daring driving escapades and the laundry list of modifications he'd done to his '67 El Camino. All of which seemed completely innocuous – all having a very reasonable explanation, as each and every one of them improved gas mileage, but the fact that they also increased horsepower wasn't left out. And the situations he found himself in with the added power were also plentiful.
I managed to avoid possession by a Speed Demon until I was 16, but it was all downhill from there.
I remember it vividly, the coming of My Speed Demon.
The thunder, the lightening, the thrumming, throbbing, rhythmic hum of its presence. The unnatural glow of its angry red eyes – both expressionless, and yet, somehow, conveying so much in conjunction with its dark red features.
It stalked me, slowly, deliberately, over days, weeks, and months.
I wasn't aware of it at the time, but it requires an opening – the right set of conditions to exist – in order for it to take possession.
It arrived just after I started driving.
Learning to drive didn't come easy for me. It was a real challenge, but one I was hell-bent on overcoming, and when I did, that's when the thunder and lightning show occurred. It scared me half to death as I laid there in bed, late one night, dreaming of getting behind the wheel again.
See, that's how it knew it was time. It was my yearning to drive.
The more I drove, the more comfortable I got, the more it thrilled me, the more susceptible I became, and it whispered, quietly to me. Sitting there like an ever-present passenger. Sometimes perched on my shoulder, sometimes, staring intently at me from the dash. Sometimes resting on the package tray of my Mom's '66 Mustang, so I'd see it in the rearview mirror.
I never mentioned anything to my Mom or Grandfather when they drove with me while I had my learner's permit, because they didn't seem to notice it and I didn't want to sound insane.
But it was there.
The more I drove, the more it was around – which, kind of makes sense, since I was driving more – but soon, it was ever-present, whether I was driving or not. It would be there in class with me, or on the pillow beside my head when I would roll over, scaring the bejezus out of me in the middle of the night.
When I finally got my license, it took hold, and it didn't take long. I mean, I got my license and the moment I got the keys to the car to take a celebratory drive for the first time on my own, that SOB pounced.
I was sitting in the car, about to put the key in the ignition, and there he was, out of nowhere, staring me in the eyes from the dash behind the steering wheel. I could immediately tell that something was different because he went from all creepy, soothing, devil-on-the-shoulder-demon to this look of animalistic predation. He was going to do something and I froze.
Then I screamed.
I flailed spastically.
I begged and pleaded.
And then it was all over.
I was permanently possessed.
So there I was, My Speed Demon now sitting beside me in the passenger seat. He already had his seatbelt on. He just looks at me with a blank stare, gives me a wink and says "buckle up buttercup, we're goin' for a ride."
That first outing I was gone 2 hours longer than I should have been and I poured engine oil down the transmission filler tube because there was a car problem and the friend I was with (not My Speed Demon) had been taking auto shop classes and thought that was where the oil went and I had no bloody clue.
I don't remember what the problem was, but it wasn't the oil. The transmission had to be flushed, and My Speed Demon already got me in trouble for the first time.