© 2004, Kevan Hashemi


We arrive upon a planet populated by homo sapiens for the most part, with other humanoids, and also androids. We have some money in our pockets, and we are on the run from the law. This place is remote, and we traveled in the hold of a transport ship, smuggled aboard by one of the mates. Nobody knows we are here. Nobody checks our identification. It's a wild planet, unexplored for the most part, with metal roads running across its deserts and cutting through its jungles, connecting its cities, where the locals dig diamonds from the earth.

We stay in a cheap hotel. We have to find work, or we will starve. Human life is cheap here. Everyone is armed. There are police, but they protect property, not life. It does not take us long to figure out that it is the androids who are in charge, and it is their lives that the police protect.

We lie to the owner of a trucking company. We tell him we can drive trucks, and have done so before. You jump up into the cab of one of them and fire it up. You drive around the truck lot a couple of times, and the owner is convinced. He lost four drivers last week and two cargoes on the Plantation Highway. He needs more drivers, and he's not picky about who they are. The roads are straight, but the rest stops are dangerous.

We pull out of the lot with a cargo of frozen beef carcasses and start driving at 200 mph down the highway. So long as we are going that fast, noone will try to stop us. After four hours, you are getting tired, so we switch drivers without slowing down. You shift over, I grab the wheel, and then you crawl over me and into the passenger seat.

It's late at night when we pull through the iron gate of the Gladman Pitstop, and lock the doors for the night. We crawl into the bunk bed at the back of the truck cab, and spend the night in one another's arms. We are elated at our success. It looks like we are not going to starve, or be forced to steal.

We're tired of stealing.

In the morning, we buy guns and fire them for an hour in the Gladman Pitstop's firing range. We climb into our cab, and roar out of the pitstop with the sun shining in our faces. In the late afternoon, a car pulls up beside us, and the passanger leans out the side and takes a shot at our tires. I'm driving, and I yell at you to do something. You pull out your gun and lean out the window, across me, as I'm driving, and empty your magazine through the window of the car. You hit the passanger in the arm, and the car drops back and away. I down-shift and we get up to 250 mph, whooping in the cab.

When we reach Plantation, we get paid a thousand dollars, and we pick up our next cargo. And so we live, driving fast for eight hours a day. Working out in the pitstops. Sleeping in our cab. Spending our money in the cities we deliver to and pick up from. We end up buying a lot of guns, and we blast our way through any number of attempted robberies. We start taking driving the routs that none of the young drivers will drive, and we drive fast, and throw our truck around on the road when we are approached. We get a reputation, "Those two want to die."

Maybe it's true, but we feel young, and we are in love, and we are living fast.

One day, when we are nearing the top of a pass in winter, our turbocharger blows, and the truck won't break fifty miles an hour on the way up. We are at fifteen thousand feet, and there is a foot of snow on the ground, and more coming down from the sky. In the back, we have a truck load of mechanical parts, and they are heavy. The metal road is slippery, and there is a hair-pin bend coming up. You are at the wheel, and we have just decided to stop and switch to our snow tires, which will take us fifteen minutes, when ten men and women in flak jackets drag a net of steel cable across the bend ahead of us.

"What shall I do?" you say.

"Let them have the cargo," I say.

"No fucking way are we letting them have the cargo," you say.

"Okay, so charge them."

You ram the truck into the netting, and it careers off the road and into the moutain side. The airbags in the cab explode, and the trailer rolls over and smashes open, throwing the crates of parts across the snow. We push the airbags aside, and we can hear bullets smashing into the back of the cab. We jump out the driver's side, drawing our guns, and start firing at our attackers. They are wearing jackets, so we have to hit them in the head, but they are afraid of us, and we are not afraid of them. We advance across the snow, and they start to hide. We pick them off one by one, but the last has a hand grenade, and she throws it at us. I catch it in mid-air and toss it up and behind us, but this turns out to be a mistake, because when the grenade goes off, the pass reverbrates, and we hear a rumbling roar.

We look at one another.

"Avalanch," I say, "Sorry about that."

You say, "Where is it?"

We look up and see a wall of snow a kilometer wide rolling down upon us. The surviving women shoots me in the leg. You kill her, but I'm down on the snow, bleeding. You kneel down and hold me in your arms.

"You might get away, darling," I say.

"I don't think so," you say.

We kiss one last time before the wall of snow picks us up and tumbles us down the mountain. "Oh my goodness!" you say, and I, "Oh yeah!"

It is a quick and painless death, and a good one for a couple in their seventies.