Need For Speed: Topeka

Elijah Kampsen

Elijah Kampsen

August 16, 2010 1:08 AM EDT

This story begins in Wanamaker, just south of Best Buy, and heading South(er). Hannah and I, accompanied by another car full of associates are on our way to another evening of summer independence, when sure enough, a fellow racer pulls aside me. I'm in the left lane and he's in the right, and I can tell that despite the lack of a green light or go flag, the race is on. Oh, you didn't know? Topeka is known for its street racing scene.

The small, red sports car, piloted by two young Hispanic men quickly tries to swing around in front of me. But I'm not about to let that happen. I jam the gas pedal into the floor and quickly close the gap between me and the car in front of me (who is not racing at this moment, but is no doubt another opponent I will one day face.) Hannah sits in the passenger seat and suggests that I don't race, but who am I to deny my urge and will to succeed? The red car eases back, and so in order to keep things interesting, so do I. The man has his windows down, but seeing as we haven't made eye contact, he keeps his thoughts to himself, and so do I.

He hammers the gas; he's going for it! But so am I! I throw things into overdrive and once again diminishing the gap, leaving no space for the man to merge. He's slows back and in an attempt to follow in behind me, I hamper his attempts and hit the brakes. The 22-year old-ish man appears to be frustrated and becomes enraged. One more time he tried to pull in front of me, and it's a no-go. The champion in me is not about to lose.

Hannah has her window down, and though making intense gestures, I have mistaken her fear for excitement. My colleagues in their wagon behind me have been out of my sights as I've given it all I've got. The man swings his car back next to me, inciting that real feeling of testosterone and musk. He keeps a steady pace with me, and begins to yell from his car. It seems Hannah's emotions are not the only I've mistaken.

"Pull over, pussy!"

I say nothing.

"Pull over, you pussy! Pull over and I'll kick your ass!"

My mouth is glued shut. I ease on the brakes, but so does he. I've nowhere to go and my heart has gone from a good beat to a bad pulse. He shouts, he's angry, he's not about to let me get away. I'm scared @#$%less as Hannah says "I told you he didn't want to race. I told you not to try and race him."

But he punches it and fills the enormous gap I've left between me and the leader. He's in the right lane now, and he's ahead of me! Has he intimidated me into a loss? Was it all just part of a plan to defeat me? He's hangs a left at the next stop light, and the race is over. I've lost. But that's not what's racing through my mind. I've put myself and my girlfriend in danger and I don't intend to ever do it again. I'm terrified; I'm watching all the entrances onto the road, just waiting for a red car to swing in next to me. I'm anticipating the T-bone, the gunshots, the screaming. The terror.

But all is well.

We arrive at our destination unscarred, unbludgeoned, undead, and I am finally able to relax. I'm finally able to catch my breath.

But my friends have another side of the story.

"He wasn't trying to race. He had his blinker on, he just wanted to merge," explain Drew and Will.

@#$%.