Demolition Derby

The cars took position in the muddy arena under generous applause. Their freshly washed, freshly painted bodies glistened under the blazing sun. It was high noon. The drivers were blinded, hearts pumping, adrenaline coursing through their veins as they waited for the officials to signal the beginning of the hostilities.

The mud offered little traction to the souped-up engines. The roar of the crowd accompanied the revs and crashes as the cars heaved themselves bodily against each other. Some were impatient to enter the fray and get their first dent. Oil leaked, engine lights blinking madly as the engine bled out into the arena. Headlamps were shattered on impact, a horn was blaring non-stop, adding to the sound and fury. The dust rose into a cloud that hovered over the scene, obscuring the sun and foreboding the slaughter.

Two rivals were locked hood to hood, wheels spinning madly, spraying the nearby combatants, their drivers urging their mounts forward through clenched teeth. The squirmish was fruitless, both opponents of equal strength and resolve. Already, there were a few bodies strewn about. The weak ones had succumbed quickly under a single fatal blow or a vigorous push that left them stunned. A warrior hid strategically behind a heap of metal, a sniper patiently waiting in the shadows. He was booed copiously – the people wanted blood and gore. They wanted heroics, destruction, passion, not intelligence or coolness under fire. This was not a spectator sport, more of a down-and-dirty rolling in the mud, until total exhaustion took over.

The sun was heating up the crowd, boiling its blood. The announcer was describing the combat zone, pitting the vehicles against each other, taunting the drivers for the benefit of the masses. The crowd was moving as one, sending a wave across the stands. There was a lull. The cars that were still moving were asked to retreat to a secluded area while the wrecks were pushed or towed to the side, or lifted off the ground by a crane and left hanging overhead, like fish caught unawares, waiting to be swallowed whole.

The combat resumed. Both warriors and spectators were slowing down, fatigue taking its toll. Loudspeakers were blaring heavy metal, trying to whip up a frenzy. Mud-splattered cars were eyeing each other, slow to engage, running on fumes. A black car was circling, teeth showing from the torn-out grill. A small car was attacking in a flash and retreating quickly, nipping at the tailpipes, distracting and irritating other drivers with its constant feints. The incessant snaps were grinding them down. The boat-sized white car was on high alert. It suddenly reversed into the black car to the crowd’s delight. The white car ricocheted off its opponent and onto the low barrier. The black car was hissing and steaming, engine overheating, flapping metal hanging limply, metal shrieking and throwing sparks. The firemen waited in the wings.

The white car smiled. The small nimble car with its annoying nip barrelled into sight. It was no match for the heavyweights. The black and the white cars turned on their common foe. They both wanted the kill, sensing an easy win. In their haste, they got into each other’s way, rubbing fenders and stripping paint off with abandon. The small car was still full of pep, its energy far from exhausted. It rear-ended the white car at full speed, sending it forcefully into the black one. The white car was inconveniently sandwiched between its aggressor and its victim when it gave up the ghost. The black car was immobilized against the low wall, squeezed out of the game. If it could not disengage, the small car would get the honours.

The black car could not disentangle itself from the mess. A full minute passed without movement. The small car was smirking and had already started gleefully etching donuts into the dirt when the announcer declared the win. The crowd dispersed quickly, with scattered applause, already in search of more gore and excitement, as tow trucks mournfully swept through the field to cart away the remains. Dust was settling back as the quiet returned.

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