It was black. Black sheetmetal, black trim, black wheels. The interior was probably black, though it was impossible to tell through the not-entirely-unblack window tint, and the dash was almost certainly festooned with weird black controls that are labeled in black on a black background, and a little black light lights up in black to let you know you’ve done it. The children refer to this color scheme as “murdered out,” a term at which I have reason to quail.
Westbound on Interstate 44 runs three lanes, mostly; where the Broadway Distention comes in, the outer lane merges into the center, so that south-to-west traffic can enter on the other side of the junction without actually having to merge. A Ram truck in the color scheme described above executed a speedy merge from right to center, and its pilot decided that hey, let’s go all the way to the left lane. I thought this was a bad idea, since I (in a white car, if you want to ladle on the symbolism) was occupying that section of the left lane at the time, doing a modest, if technically too fast, 63 mph. Now you should know that there’s a lot of junction crammed into a small space; the left shoulder, into which I would have to escape the Ram’s apparent wrath, is all of 30 inches wide and is topped off with a seven-foot-high Jersey barrier. Sideways was therefore out; I had to evacuate forward. The request was sent to Gwendolyn’s engine room: second gear, stat. The tachometer spun clockwise toward 6000 rpm, and once I was able to breathe again, I muttered some suitably dark incantations. The Ram stayed behind me, but its velocity was diminishing: two lengths between us, then four, then more.
I slid down the Classen offramp, the Ram still in tepid pursuit. We wound up more or less side by side at the place where the Circle ends and the Northwest Distressway begins, and then I saw something that wasn’t black at all: a thirty-day paper tag, flapping in the breeze. The owner of this truck had only been so for a few days. Probably had just moved up from something purely proletarian.