221/366 – The Risk

Day 79 of 100 Word Prompts: Collide


“Don’t do it, Nathan,” Geoff said, shaking his head as he looked down the hill. “It’s too steep for too long. Something bad is definitely going to happen.”

“What would you know?” Nathan shot back, strapping his helmet on. “You’ve never done anything even remotely extreme.”

“How many bones have I broken?” Geoff asked rhetorically. “I like to think that I live safely.”

“Don’t you see all the padding? What about carbon fiber? The helmet?” Nathan asked. “I do things as safe as I can, but it’s about the rush, man.”

“That’s why I’m just your publicist,” Goeff replied, stepping back from the end of the track. “It’s not my job to go down the hill in a gravity-powered cart.”

“Nope, but that’s also why you’ll never get the world record for it either,” Geoff said with a wink as he put his mouthguard in place.

“Godspeed,” Geoff said as he watched Nathan slide into the tiny cockpit of the car. Additional straps were put in place to stop him from moving as much as possible in the eventual stopping of the vehicle.

“Ready?” a technician asked Nathan.

Nathan nodded, his head only able to move a fraction of an inch with the restraints.

Geoff watched the technician pull the blocks from the tires, holding his breath in anticipation.

The car began rolling forward ever so slowly. Each inch the vehicle moved, seem to take forever until it reached the point of no return. The car picked up speed rapidly from Geoff’s perspective. He watched the spiral painted tires become a blur as it continued to gain momentum. The vehicle reached terminal velocity a moment later, flying past the speed camera at the bottom of the hill.

Geoff watched in horror as the gravity car continued traveling up the opposite hill, and vanished from view.

“Oh, no!” Geoff said as spectators raced to the top of the next hill.

Geoff arrived at the top of the next hill a few minutes later to find the wreckage of the gravity car scattered across an intersection. A stopped truck told him everything that he needed to know. The gravity car had made it so far but had run a stoplight, entering the path of the vehicle. The EMT team that had been on-site in case anything went wrong had already reached the site, and ran from their car around a corner, vanishing from view.

Geoff ran down the hill, rounding the corner, expecting to find Nathan in a mangled heap. Instead, he found him sitting on the curb as an EMT shined a light in his left eye while he laughed. The truck driver stood nearby, visibly shaken from the accident.

“Nathan, you idiot! What happened?” Geoff said.

“The brakes failed,” Nathan replied with a shrug. “Nothing too out of the ordinary.”

“You could have died!” Geoff shouted, throwing his arms in the air. “Nothing out of the ordinary? I’m sure that the truck driver would agree with you as well, right? I thought you were supposed to put in a backup to the brake system?”

“I decided against the failsafe in the design. It took up too much space and would have affected the aerodynamics of the car,” Nathan said as he pushed the EMT out of his face. “I’m fine, really. Please leave me be.”

“You’re not fine, Nathan. Something is really wrong with you. Why would you not have the failsafe in place?” Geoff asked.

“How fast did it go?” Nathan asked. “It felt like I hit one-hundred by the time I reached the bottom of the hill.”

“I don’t know because I didn’t ask, Nathan,” Geoff spat. “I was too concerned about my friend’s safety and health after he vanished from view.”

“Do we have the backup?” Nathan asked, ignoring the statement. “I think I can beat it. I think if we set up on this side of the hill as well, the second hill will give me another boost.”

“No, you’re not doing that again,” Geoff said. “You didn’t put in a failsafe and aren’t even remotely concerned with the result of the first trial. I think you get what you get this time. If you want to try again, you need to make sure that a failsafe is put in the next model.”

Nathan stood up, sliding his helmet under his arm. “I’m going to see the officials. I need to know.”

Geoff stormed up the hill after his friend. He thought seriously about hitting him for his stupidity, but he knew the man never listened to anyone. It would one day be the death of him. As they reached the top of the hill, the spectators at the bottom near the official erupted into cheering and applause.

Nathan threw his arms in the air as he saw the digital board, where the result was measured.

87.3 MPH

The bright numbers on the board calmed Geoff down. Nathan had done it. He had broken the world record for gravity cars, which meant they would move on to another project. They didn’t need to do another try.

“Do you still need another run?” Geoff asked, considering the second prototype they had brought.

“We did it, buddy!” Nathan said, spinning and hugging him. “We broke the record! I thought there was a chance I was under, but damn that felt fast.”

“What should we do with the other car?” Geoff asked. “We could sell it, or keep it in the-”

“Get rid of it,” Nathan replied with a beaming smile. “Donate it to a museum or something. If no one will take it for posterity, sell it and donate the profits to charity.”

“Which one?” Geoff asked, pulling his phone from his back pocket.

“It doesn’t matter if they know what they’re doing, right?” Nathan replied. “I don’t care about it anymore. I just need to prep for the next one.”

“What could you possibly want to do next?” Geoff asked. “One world record isn’t enough?”

“Highest skydive?” Nathan replied with a grin.

“With all the proper equipment,” Geoff said. “No skimping, no risks, no cheating.”

“Deal,” Nathan replied as he began the trek down the hill toward his fans.

 

 

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