Fine Tuning

  She polished the sleek, curved fenders with care, making certain every glossy surface reflected her face with the sun behind it. With intimate delicacy she stroked each chrome-laced wheel till it lanced her eyes with brilliant light. When she was satisfied with the surface details, she slipped a fine-boned but strong hand to the hood latch. Without a sound, the well-oiled hood rose to reveal the power beneath. The outside was a thing of beauty, to be sure, but here, on the inside, lay the heart and soul of the machine, that which was its true splendor.

  She held the chamois cloth over the engine, wondering where to begin. Her fingers slid over the oil stick, its nubby hardness cool against her skin. She stroked the long, slim shaft as it rose from its place deep within the metal heart. She smiled, pleased to see the slick wetness of the lubricant was exactly as it should be. She cleaned it in a single, long stroke before sliding it back down into its den. With a quick, deft flick of the chamois, she removed a drop of dark golden oil from the lip of the housing. Moving on, the soft cloth grazed the piston covers, removing road grime like dirty clothing to expose the naked metal beneath. Under this lay the muscle, 8 hard rods waiting to pound fuel into power with the merest touch upon the accelerator. Until then, the simple turn of a wrist would bring the vehicle to purring life. She smiled, catlike herself, as the thrill of the chase rose like ether to her racing heart. Cables and hoses ran like arms, embracing the power they fed. She closed her hand around each one, feeling every surface for any sign of weakness. A brief frown said that she would tolerate not a single one. She was not disappointed however. Every hose and cable was flawless under her questing fingers.

  When she asked it to, this machine would scream out its perfection in reply to her care. Her eyes gazed longingly over the chrome fittings and her nose took in the pungent scent of fuel. The cloth traced shape after shape, molding itself to brief memory then moving on to leave only light behind. When every surface had been explored by at least one of her five senses, she tugged once at the hood. It fell into place with an echo of a groan, its secrets hers alone.

  With the grace of wind, she stepped to the door to take her place as ruler of the storm. Sliding into the driver's seat, she sunk into the touch of leather worn soft and smooth with time. Reminding her of long nights past, she let the familiar feeling bring the old smile to her lips. The smile broke into a grin as the hot metal key turned in her fingers and was answered by a throaty growl that settled quickly to a lion's rumbling purr. Hand gripping the gearshift, she thrust it into drive, eager to feel the world spin by as she was consumed with the need to ride the power. Rubber squealed with delight as the tires turned that power to sound. She squealed behind the wheel as her hair flew back in golden wisps against the breeze of sudden motion. Mere moments later, shrieking was replaced with growls of pure power as the motor thrust the car forward into the nothingness of an open road. Rushing metal clove the guarded doors of air like flower petals under hail. She plunged into its midst with laughing abandon, excitement sheening her face in rosy dampness. One more echo of her pulse down through her legs and onto the gas pedal changed growls to thunder as she raged against the road. It erupted behind her in smoky waves, conquered by precision and power. She slowed as her pulse shifted from wild throbbing to mildly erratic pounding. Finally returning to cruising speed, she left the race behind to the mercies of the dusts of time, only her smile bearing memory of their passage.

SMT 2000

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