Thursday, February 01, 2007

obama and i

some of you have complained that my creative nonfiction is a bit too creative. apparently you want me to warn you whenever i plan to stretch the truth. well, okay. the following story is completely true. this really happened*.

yesterday morning, senator obama and i were carpooling. well, to be more precise, i was escorting baraka--that's what i call him; he laughs and calls me andrewgah; then i frown and return to my story. anyway, the senator has a driver's permit, not a license, and he needs another forty hours before he can take the driving test. thus, as a happily licensed driver, i was obliging baraka with some extra drive time before work.

i climbed into his sleek black lexus and buckled my seat belt. baraka threw it into reverse, peeled out of the driveway, and thrust the car into drive. then, after we barreled along the highway for several minutes, the senator asked me whether the red camry on our bumper looked familiar. i turned my head back and looked at the car. no, i said, i've never seen it before. we were approaching a red stoplight, but instead of braking, he pressed hard on the gas. the lexus leapt through the red light. stunned, i glance back at the camry. it edged into the intersection and then burst after us. baraka was right; something was amiss. as we darted through traffic, baraka warned me that things might get a little messy.
he had the look of jack bauer. i closed my eyes as he reached for the hand-brake, sending the lexus into a 180 degree spin. i heard the sounds of scraping metal and shattering glass, and inquired, am i dead?

'the camry hit a tree,' explained the senator. but now there was a honda on our tail. the car chase resumed in a busy shopping mall lot. baraka weaved through parked cars, old ladies, and shopping carts. somehow he managed to lose the civic as he skidded into a parking space at the local gas station and mini-mart. i took a breath and considered our position. there were no cars or buildings within 20 yards of us; nothing obstructed us from the view of that shopping center or the lights of that prowling civic. obama has his head bowed and his hands are rattling in his lap.

we're a bit conspicuous, i thought. searching the grounds for a plan, i spotted my good friend john brawner chatting with a gas station attendant. i figured that if we're being followed, the perps wouldn't suspect us if we're in a larger group. i stepped out of the lexus and waved at brawner. oblivious to my panic, he walked over and blessed me with one of his characteristic bear hugs. and then life slowed down. mid-hug, i saw obama bending over outside our car, i heard the desperate buzz of a floored honda, i felt john's arms tense as he sensed that something was awry. then time snapped back into the frenetic pace of real life. the civic tore through a yellow caution sign, jumped the curb, and slid to a stop 10 feet away; baraka, brawner, and i backed toward the lexus and scrambled into its black leather seats. angry screams burst from the honda and were muffled by the staccato of rapid gunfire. instinctively, i ducked, perhaps hoping that the engine block might somehow impede our assailants rounds. out of the corner of my eye i swear that i saw baraka obama smile and then mumble some wise words of passing. i shut my eyes and began to pray.

on the other side of my eyelids, the world erupted into bright colors: orange, yellow, red. a heavenly welcoming ceremony perhaps. but i was could still feel my legs bunched up awkwardly in the front seat. the fiery plumes of color faded to grey.

i opened my eyes and looked at baraka. instead of seeing a smoking corpse, i watched as the senator dusted himself off and turned the radio dial to npr. i straightened my body and surveyed the scene outside our car. a smouldering wreck sat in the place of the honda. obama grinned *and then i woke up. and, yes, that's exactly how i dreamed it.


beth said...

In your first sentence, don't you mean creative NONfiction?
Happy birthday!

Sean said...

Happy Ground Hog's day!

andrew said...

ha! that's true. without the non, it makes no sense at all! i really can't log and change it from work. oh, well.

and happy groundhog day to you too! i'm getting free chips and salsa for my groundhog day, how about you?

andrew said...

log in