Thursday, September 24, 2020
Bonnie and Clyde were returning from the company BBQ of a favourite body and paint shop one bright sunny evening. Not having won any door prizes, because of a curse placed upon him by a certain Norwegian fellow, Clyde was a little "bent. Seeing an opportunity to "open it up", Clyde puts the pedal-to-the-metal for a quick ride back to Cow Town. "Let’s see", mutters Clyde to Bonnie, "30 miles should take about 30 minutes for a regular car, but in this steed, I could do it in 15. Whadaya think?". Bonnie smiled but didn’t reply. Nothing she said would have mattered anyway, because when Clyde got an idea in his head, no matter how dumb, he always followed through.
Mashing the throttle down and quickly shifting through 4 gears, Clyde’s car is in 5th , turning about 3000 rpm. With 355’s in the rear, this is about 100 mph, Clyde figures, and he’s passing the holiday traffic at a real good clip. He doesn’t know the exact speed because his speedo is still out of commission, having been melted by falling on the hot exhaust headers a few weeks earlier. The cars disappear quickly in his rear-view mirror as he checks to see if anyone is on their cell phone calling the Bear, or shaking their heads in disgust. "They’re just jealous", all these old guys in ‘holiday mode’, afraid to push the envelope a little, and pissed at those that do", Clyde thought out loud. How loud it was was evident when Bonnie asked "What did you say?". Clyde replied "nothing", not realizing that he actually vocalized what he was thinking. "Good thing I didn’t vocalize my thoughts on Kelly’s girlfriend", this time just musing about the thought, not moving his lips.
A couple miles down the 4-lane divided highway, the radar detector on the windshield chirped once, at a level of 2, out of a possible 7 maximum. Not too concerned because a plane or cell phone tower often triggers the detector at a low level, Clyde keeps the throttle down. "Hell there’s another 60 miles per hour and another 3000 rpm left in this car, the car is just idling back to town."
Whoops! Another chirp, this time it’s a 3 and it stays on! Wondering if he should back off or not, he glances over to the other side of the highway, only to see the Bear in the fast lane, with no traffic in front of him. Dropping the throttle back to bring the rpm down to 2500, Clyde realizes it’s probably too late. He should have backed off at the first chirp. Watching in his rear view mirror for any tell-tale signs he was caught, he sees the Bear’s brake lights and flashing roof lights go on! Shit! "At the speed I was going, I’ll get dumped in the slammer if I get caught", Clyde quickly surmises.
"IF I get caught!".
There was only one thing to do, make a run for it. Clyde mashes the throttle again, and with his 500 horsepower under the hood, the engine responds by quickly jumping to higher rpm than before. "Clyde, What are you doing?, screamed Bonnie. "Not getting caught", was the terse reply. Clyde would not entertain any discussion of the matter. He was in deep enough trouble and didn’t want to have a conversation about it. It wasn’t the place or the time! "Are you sure you’re doing the right thing?", asked Bonnie, understanding that Clyde was in a fight or flight mode with adrenaline clouding his judgment. Clyde never replied. At high speeds and in traffic with a cop on his tail, he felt he had to concentrate. Realizing he had no chance on a major highway to really get away, what with the cops having all that fancy radio equipment and road blocks and all, Clyde figures his only way out of this is to take a side road.
At this speed, the approaches to the side roads whiz by pretty fast, but Clyde soon sees a line of trees which could be in the ditch of a road. Knowing that he’s well ahead of any traffic, Clyde slams the binders hard and skids across the slow lane putting the car in a serious body droop and twist as it responds to the rapid deceleration. With tires squealing Clyde jams the tranny down to second and just manages to make the approach at speed. "Damn! Gravel road", he yells. This car never travels on gravel at slow speeds, and now, with Smokey on his tail, it’s going to get a baptism by fire! "Man, there’s lots of gravel on this road!", Clyde moans as the high center of the road crushes his under-carriage with gravel. Trying to ride on top of the gravel instead of in the ruts is worse, not only because it’s making Bonnie nervous about losing control, but also because the wheels are picking the stones up and shooting them out like bullets. Or are the cops shooting at him?
At close to 60 mph for 3 or 4 miles, Clyde is looking for another road, because the idea is to zig-zag enough that any one following would have to make some tough decisions as to which road to take. Clyde thinks, "It sure is fortunate it just rained. There are no dust clouds to follow." He finds a road, takes it, goes up to the next intersection, takes another road, not really paying attention which direction he’s really going in. This would have been a reasonable thought had the sun been shining, but clouds were moving in and it started to rain. The sun was blocked out. Bonnie and Clyde were lost. Looking at the gas gauge, Clyde realizes that slowing down would be prudent because he’s running low on fuel. He has enough to get back to Calgary, if he knew where Calgary was!
It’s after 9 PM, it’s dark and the only lights that can be seen are acreage developments, no big city lights. Slowing down now, because Clyde hasn’t spotted any car lights following him since he took the side roads, he spots some lights up ahead on the road. Slowing down even more, he sees that it’s two men in separate vehicles, going opposite directions, who had stopped to talk to one another. Clyde realizes his performance car stands out like a jet-fighter in a McDonalds parking lot, and these two strangers could be doing a drug deal, or selling guns, but he has to take the chance. "I mean, what’s the chances of these guys being bad guys? Hell, I’M a BAD guy!"
Pulling up beside the first vehicle, Clyde opens his door so he can drop the window, an operation necessary because his rollbar won’t allow for the window crank to work when the door is closed. "Hi guys. Where’s Calgary from here?" he asked. Given directions to go up to the next intersection and then turn right, Clyde thanks the farmers and pulls past their two trucks. He finds the road, that eventually leads to a highway, but he’s been turned around by curves in the road and is heading back the way he came! Fortunately this highway is short and curves back, joining the main highway back into town. At the intersection of the two highways is a gas station that is still open at 10 PM.
The tank is now full, the cops are gone. No roadblocks. No choppers. As Clyde rolls away from the gas pumps, the young kid who filled the tank makes a rolling motion with his fingers, indicating "Do a burnout". At first Clyde hesitates because he doesn’t want to attract any more attention, but then the Devil whispers into his ear: "C’mon go for it, wimp!".
"Ahh man!" Clyde replies to his bad conscience. He pulls up about 10 feet, locks the front brakes bringing the rpm up to about 3 grand. With smoke churning from the wheel wells and the back half of the car dropping from sight Clyde pops the lock and the car lurches ahead, ending the 20 second burn.. The pump jockey got more than what he expected, but then that’s what you get from a showman… After it was all over, Bonnie says to Clyde, "Well, that certainly was an exciting evening! You realize of course we would have been home an hour and half ago had we stayed on the main highway? And no damage to your car?"
Clyde just smirked and rolled his eyes. The Bandit got away.