Drive, He Said

by Tom Chick

January 5, 2001

It's Trevor on the phone and Shoot Club starts in a half hour.

"I'm sick," he says, "I have bronchitis."

"That's cool," I tell him, "Get better and we'll see you next week."

"No, I'll be there. I just wanted to make sure you knew I was sick. You know, in case I seem like I lose more often than I normally do. That'll be why, because I'm sick. My frag finger only goes up to about five this week."

"What? Your frag finger?"

"Yeah. It's just a little phrase I'm coining. 'My frag finger only goes up to five.' You can use it if you want."

"Well, we're going to try some driving games. I know you don't like driving games, so if you'd rather stay home and rest, I understand."

"Driving games? Come on, we do enough driving in real life. I suppose next Shoot Club we're all going to sit around and play The Sims? No one wants to play driving games."

"I thought we'd try a couple. Midtown Madness 2. The latest Carmageddon."

"I don't think this is a good idea. Hold on, I'm coming right over."

Within fifteen minutes, I hear Trevor's Honda pull up. It makes a distinctive sound because there's some kind of tricked-out muffler on it. It also has one of those racing louver/wings on the back and orange and blue racing stripe along the side. Two years ago, he bought it used from a kid named Ramirez. He thought it looked cool and I guess it does, but Trevor's the only white guy I know who drives a car like that. It even still has the fuzzy seat covers. There’s a sticker on the back window of Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes peeing.

"Oh, no, you're serious," he cries when he sees I've set up my steering wheel controller on one of the computers, "Driving games?"

"It's not racing," I reassure him. Racing games are no fun unless everyone's on an equal skill level, which certainly isn't the case at Shoot Club. I explain to Trevor that we can play something called Cops and Robbers in Midtown Madness 2. On the four computers, we'll have two teams of two. We can group experienced players with new players to even out the teams. There's one bag of gold. You grab the gold and bring it back to your base to score. You can also steal the gold from another car and score. It’s kind of like capture the flag with cars.

"I don't know. I don't think this is going to go over very well. But as long as I'm on your team," Trevor says.

"There's a new guy coming over who's never played these games before. I figured he should be on my team. Mike's on your team."

"No, not Mike," Trevor says. Mike is bad at all games. He's horrible. But his morale is unshakable. No matter how badly he's losing, he wants to keep playing. Unlike Peter, who instantly hates any game he starts losing, Mike loves all games equally and is equally bad at them all. Mike is a tribute to the indomitability of the human spirit.

"Well, do I at least get the steering wheel?" Trevor asks, rocking it a little as if to test the play.

"We should draw straws for the steering wheel. It's only fair."

"Man, I got a bad feeling about this." For once, I don't think he's quoting Star Wars.