The pins and clips that held my bones together had long since fused into irrelevance. I missed the feel of the metal against bone; the need for stainless steel in my body. The thrill of ruin on my flesh.
I stared at Catherine over the circles of our dinner, steaming needlessly, blown smoke redolent with the propane fire of the stove. We no longer tasted our meals. We experienced them as plants devour sun or tectonic plates slowly fold the earth.
Our eyes were open doors facing across a hallway. In folded hands cigarettes burned forgotten lives that only existed to us as a final pinch of heat against our fingers. Catherine was beautiful, I was beautiful, but in the same rectangle again and again we were players in a play so old and tired the audience had long since left.
The phone rang. It was an operator from Tokyo. She spoke perfect English and yet I could hear and not hear the Japanese beneath, some dark and lurking animal.
"Dr. Toyoda," he introduced himself.
"Yes," I answered, acutely aware of the buzz deforming the waves that reached my ears.
"I have read about you. I would like to invite you and your wife to the Tokyo Crash Circle. Toyota would like to accelerate your sexual geometry."
My heart beat faster and my blood grew richer with each step closer to boarding our flight to Tokyo. On the plane Catherine sat in my lap. Between kisses we talked of fantasies of violent depressurization, of oxygen deprivation, of the thin-aired cold of high altitude. Her lips tasted of salt and she told me she wanted to freeze and break, crumpled in the collapsing rows, the plane fracturing and spilling out its ruined bodies like an overturned morgue. Burning, still alive, unable to leave the seat. Compound fractures so exquisite the limbs would require amputations and cadaver grafts.
The flight was too long. Our fantasies could not sustain us over the endless ocean. The gravity of life reasserted its lithologic grasp. In Skymall I found a ramp for feeble dogs to exit cars with dignity.
1.3 kilometers, four lanes, the surface a mixture of gypsum, concrete, and a proprietary nanofiber blend designed to protect firefighters on Japanese submarines. Inside the climate-controlled dome even the Mistubishi turbines could not exhale the entirety of the exhaust from the automobiles.
"Full recall test," Dr. Toyoda said.
He was accompanied by his brother who wore nothing and carried a video camera. His erect penis flexed again and again as if clenching and unclenching an unseen fist.
The Avalon was appointed with a leather interior and a wood finished dash. Catherine opened her shirt and exposed her breasts. Invisible vortices formed as the AC blower washed cold air over her nipples, molecules of her perfume circled the car.
I pressed my foot against the accelerator, down, looking at her and not the track. She dragged a finger across the activation button for the backup camera. A screen bloomed to life in black-hot infrared, the world receding and lightening, chased by a white nothing. The passenger mirror clipped the safety rail and sheared off, dragging away across the slow-deforming curves of the Avalon's body.
Catherine moaned and I pulled at the wheel, my lips catching hers as the car slammed and turned, rolling over, the accelerator stuck down and my foot torn away by the jarring force of yaw, pitch, and roll. The familiar rectilinear world spun into a vertiginous spiral of percussive thumps and shrieking bodywork and we exhorted the thrill of our bodies nearing destruction.
The semen ejected from my penis with the same force that crazed the safety glass of every window. Catherine's arm fractured by the crumpled door and was seared by the sizzling air bag. The cabin stank of gasoline, bottle nitrogen, and the powder that covered the thermoplastic skin of the air bags.
Catherine smiled at me with red teeth.
When the Toyota team finished cutting us from the crumpled body of the Avalon I hugged Dr. Toyoda.
The Camry pushed itself faster and faster with no encouragement. Catherine's hand was down my pants. Her other arm was in an air-cast. My nose was plugged up to stop the bleeding.
The car would not slow. I cornered, cornered again, scudding the rail here and there to a pop or snap of peripherals and bodywork. The Camry shook at speed. A tire burst. I freed a hand and let the car drag itself towards the center island as I unbuttoned her pants. At this speed we might die. Catherine was so god damned wet. Her love for me was as intense as femoral avulsion and as wonderfully forever as ten thousand spinal cord intrusions.
The car began to spin at speed and my temple smashed against the seatbelt post. Centrifugal motion flung blood droplets like rubies and left a carmine web drizzled across my face. The water barrels loomed in and out of view as we spun.
The many air bags deployed on impact and Catherine screamed with ecstasy, her ribs cracking as loudly as the inflation charges. She gasped and I loved her so much when the blood came spitting up from her nose and mouth. We both had a laugh at that, hers more painful than mine, the ennui of our suburban prison as far away as Mars. The many arms of bent metal and cracked polymer enfolded and cradled our bodies.
My shoulders and arms hurt from gripping the wheel during impact. This was the midnight pain - the later pleasure, Catherine called it - a second treat of the crash. Athletes know this pain well. When the body has passed its threshold and begun to do itself harm.
I was most excited for the Prius. Dr. Toyoda had promised us complete brake failure during the hybrid transition. It would take some practice to find this sweet spot. We drove quickly around the track. I resisted the temptation to collide with a rail or post and the brakes performed flawlessly. Catherine became listless.
It was only with several attempts that I discovered the exact transition speed and used it to our advantage. The silent electric engine took over from the gasoline engine and the brakes failed to engage during a turn. The car locked, skidding across the roadway almost as if hydroplaning. Catherine moaned and tore at her clothes. My vision was blurred, but good enough to see the post.
There were several of them, driving at us like the lances of a cavalry charge, my orgasm so close now I could almost feel the impaling force of the post entering the window. Still so far, my head turned, the Prius lifting up with its front bumper to the ground. The posts at this angle just right to-
The hydraulic shovels lifted the wreckage from the gypsum, concrete and proprietary nanofiber track of the Tokyo Crash Circle. Dr. Toyoda's brother stood nearby, his camera recording each rivulet of hydraulic fluid and each stream of piss and blood. In this sublime, entangled state the gore was as much a part of the system as motor or seat. Dr. Toyoda's brother leaned close to smell Catherine's perfume lingering on the flensed horror of her torso. His penis flexed up and down as if opening and closing an unseen fist.
Dr. Toyoda turned away, his mind resolved. The reports from America were true. His cars were killing people.
Exactly as he planned. Accelerated sexual geometry. There would be no recall in this moment of triumph.
Not what I had in mind when I ordered an Italian gondolier. This is literally just a tiny toy. Needless to say, the Italian businessmen were not impressed and I looked like a damn fool. We lost the pizza pie account and will have to lay off half our factory.
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