It begins in subtlety, a slight breeze against your ear, perchance the beating wings of an insect or a hummingbird larvae, but they have long since gone south or preserved themselves in crystals. You brush your ear but the sensation doesn’t go away, instead growing into sound. Yes. You can hear it now. It’s definitely something, real, not in your head. So quiet though, and you survey your surroundings but it doesn’t seem to be coming from anywhere in particular. For lack of a better idea you check under your shoe. No, nothing.
The sound grows, mechanical in nature. Snow blower? Ice auger? It has been cold for so long that these are the only things you can think of. No, there’s more than one, definitely more than one, perchance an army of ice fishermen all armed with augers.
The noise increases. It moves faster than that. Ice fishermen cannot make this kind of haste. The magic of internal combustion is at work, here, certainly a pack of engines. But what? Snowmobiles? If so, Polaris or Arctic Cat? For once you are alone and over the approaching din you shout at the top of your lungs that in all honesty you have no preference, no preference at all, and you think that the two camps should just pick a weekend to meet on Lake Mille Lacs with their snowmobiles and just have it the fuck out.
A duel will settle this.
But that is for another day, as a chorus of tortured engines are approaching. The noise becomes unbearable, the belch and choke and stutter that is the siren’s call of weekend mechanics everywhere, and finally it appears. With a final shot at the accelerator the leader blasts over the horizon, airborne and glistening in the frigid sunlight. The suspension protests as it hits the ground, skidding sideways but correcting, always correcting. And then the full army appears, a hundred strong, and you know what is headed your way.
That’s right, a legion of monster trucks, frankentrucks if you will, hideous pickup zombies that have been coerced into living again, if only for a weekend. Cannibalized from the remains of hundreds of other trucks, the only thing that frankentrucks despise as much as their own existence is the species with the audacity to bring them back to life. To this wild pack you are the one, the manifestation of their agony.
The air fills with noise, the sun dims behind dark clouds of exhaust. You can taste the atmosphere, it is thick, it is palpable. The pack sees you now and they are headed for your position. They will not stop if you stand your ground. They will not give up if you run.
They are honking. They are flashing their lights. These are not warnings, these are promises. The ground shudders with their approach.
The first one is a Chevy. You have five seconds. This is your battle. You expect no outside intervention. You fold your hands into your pockets and rock back onto your heels.