[Episode 1 is here]
“Ok. Now take your foot off the brake and put it on the gas. Ease the pedal down gently til you feel the truck start moving.”
Chi’s heart raced like he was running. He had no business being behind the wheel of such a giant, powerful machine. Before today, the biggest thing he’d ever driven was his old delivery bike, which hadn’t had gears or even a seat.
Gingerly as he could, he pushed the oversized pedal forward; even with the seat moved all the way up, his foot only just reached it. The engine grumbled and growled like some off-camera screen monster. A moment later the whole thing lurched forward, so sudden Chi panicked and slammed down the brake with both feet.
Dick Pynchon sighed and rubbed his head like it hurt.
“Not bad, kid. Let’s try again.”
Chi shook his head. He didn’t want to try again. Pynchon gestured forward, through the windshield, to the cracked pavement and faded yellow lines of the abandoned state park parking lot they were in.
“There’s nobody out there. Nothing to hit. We’re just here to learn the basics. Nothing complicated.” He chuckled. “I’ll do the getaway driving. But we’ll make better time on the highway if we can take shifts. Even I have to sleep sometimes.” A thought struck him. “I probably will, more and more, the longer it takes us to get where we’re going.”
A thought struck Chi.
“There’s something wrong with your head,” he said. Pynchon smiled, reassuring.
“I just need a tune-up, is all.” He knocked on the side of his head. “My generation’s more… robust.”
“Than your last partner?”
“The one who…?”
“Kicked all our asses and took your girlfriend?”
Chi looked at the empty parking lot in front of him. The afternoon light was fading, thanks to the mountains to the west, the rays slanting gold and pink through the thin canopy. He took his foot off the brake, set it gently on the gas.
“You have a strange idea what robust is,” he said, and pressed down.