By Michael Cornelius
As the Burly Green Shreddin' Machine entered the maw of the rusty gray tunnel
the engine roar coming from the 30 feet of straight pipe reverberated into a
deafening growl. The towers of NYC faded behind us, like granite mountains
worm-holed by some peculiar parasite. The air in the tunnel was chokingly foul
and hot. Blasts of engine heat entered the windows of the bus as other trucks
and cars passed us at a crawl. We were all awake except for Bam-Bam who, as
usual, was sleeping like a rotting corpse on the floor in everyones way,
reeking. I was trying to stay comfortable in the heat, looking out the windows.
Tony was ranting at the wheel. We only had two hours till sound check and the
rush hour traffic was grinding to a halt at the bridge out of the City.
Tony asks for an "all clear on the right" and when he gets the go from Greg
he cranks the big black wheel. "Oh shit! We almost got that guy" said Greg. "We
barely missed him". The right lane oozes across the bridge and we gain a little
speed. Greg says "That asshole we cut off is following us, look at him!" We
check the back window and see the guy going nuts. He's shaking his fist and
slamming his fist on the wheel of his Buick ameritank, Caddy wannabe. We get
bored after laughing at him for a while and go back to doing nothing. He follows
us for mile after mile at the buses¹ 50 mph pace. He pulls up beside us on one
side and then the other to yell out of his car window. "I think he wants us to
stop so he can kick all 9 of our asses" Brian said.
We pull off of the freeway in the general vicinity of the gig with the mad
dog road warrior still on our tail. We pull into the gravel parking lot of some
chicken shack of a convenience mart. Mr. Youaintgonnagetawaywithcuttinmeoff guns
the sled and it throws gravel as it lurches into the lot. He jumps out and slams
the door, heading for the bus. I can't hear what he's yelling because all of us
are yelling at him. I know he was saying something stupid and I could almost
smell the cheap aftershave and whiskey on him. His shirt was undone to his navel
and his gold chains were getting tangled up in the mat of black hair on his
"Do you want to die asshole? Or do you just want all 9 of us to stomp the
shit out of you?" Greg says as he produces a .357 from somewhere. Mr. Pitbull
backs up but doesn't shut up. As he backs toward his car he takes off his
wristwatch and throws it at the bus, hard. We were stunned into silence. Tony
slams the bus door and grinds into gear. We roll out of the lot, leaving Mr.
Thatwillshowyou! standing there giving us the finger, his watch shattered into
junk in the gravel lot.