I had just merged onto a high speed 3 lane road in Winnipeg that is normally busy, but except for a lone sporty Japanese car in the far left lane, was empty for a few blocks back. The motorcycle under me churned happily, now that I had the radiator facing into the wind again. I needed to turn left, and he was closing slowly, a comfortable distance back. 4 signal blinks, a shoulder check, and rolling on some throttle to even the closure rate, I move into the left lane. This apparently was a grave insult. Accelerating to close the distance quickly, the car came uncomfortably close behind me. The gleaming new car began an aggressive pass on the right.
So I said to myself, "what the fuck?" "Invalid query" self exclaims in return. He's a little literal sometimes. "Does he look a little aggressive to you?" "More than a little", self agrees.
50 meters ahead, the car slams on the brakes with a squawk of the tires, and ends up behind me. Repeating his performance, he passes me with as much acceleration as he had to call upon. Seconds later, we roll up to the red light, the car on the right, me on the left. We're both first in line. The driver is staring at me with a look that seems like he wants me to burst into something. Flames I guess.
Myself automatically begins tallying options. As I don't have any nuclear weapons on me at the moment, the rules of engagement falls to the bottom of the list. Because the driver repeatedly demonstrated erratic behaviour, Escape and Evade bumps one place higher than Ignore. "Allow the fhithead to go through the intersection before you, and turn left to escape" self recommends to me. I agree wordlessly. Yourself already knows what you're thinking when you're talking to him.
It's a long light. Lots of time to think it through. "Watch the intersecting traffic for people running the red", myself reminds me. A quick glance around shows an impatient soccer dad on the right waiting to invade the territory of the oncoming traffic and turn left across our bow. An additional consideration floats upwards and begins to tickle the bottom of the list of emerging possibilities. I might be able to convince the nearly adolescent driver of the car to leave me behind and get through the intersection so far in advance of me that he doesn't see what happened to me.
I nod at the car and blip the throttle a few times. The stare of hatred twists into a snarl, and then a predatory grin. The wind kept me from hearing anything, but if I could, I would probably hear a Klingon style low throaty growl. Driver, having an automatic and not knowing what to do with that wide pedal and the skinny pedal at the same time, is having difficulty coordinating blipping the gas.
Self executes an automatic timed situational awareness scan and pops up a priority alert. "Police cruiser 150 meters behind, in the lane behind our opponent. They will arrive before the light changes", self reports. I thank myself and return to scanning. I relax a bit. At least there'll be a reliable witness now.
The KLR650 I'm riding is a bit of a tractor. It's not fast, and in a stock configuration, nearly silent. The car, tricked out with a "performance" sounding exhaust, was able to garner more attention with his erratically bouncing revs.
Completing the scan with a glance in my mirror, I notice the officer's eyes locked onto the driver of the sports car, like he was ready for the driver to burst into something. Handcuffs I guess.
"Self," I say to myself. "There's no way he's stupid enough to follow through with this, is he?" "You've been wrong before," self reminds me.
The officer has a look on his face that I've seen before. I try to place it. Self takes the initiative and checks the archives. "Canadian Infantry vs SWAT", he reminds me. That's right, as a teenager I had just arrived at the paintball field near another large city I used to live in. The Air Cadets had brought me out to the field in time to witness an infantry squad square up against a visiting SWAT team that was in town for a conference or something. It was the look that happened when the paintball marker safeties came off. Lives were on the line. Target acquired, missiles armed, thumb over the button. Serious stuff.
I look at the driver beside me, and nod at the light. He drops the grin and starts watching for the yellow. The blinking amber man counts it down.
The soccer dad gets through the intersection safely.
Traffic clears in the block ahead of us.
One last shoulder check to my left.
The driver tenses and leans back.
The police officer's hand reaches towards his dash.
The wind flaps a nearby flag like a starting pistol.
The scene erupts in a cloud of smoke, the howl of an exhaust note, the sound of squealing, the wail of sirens, and a fast moving flash of red and blue. Still sitting at the white line, I burst into something. Laughter, I guess.
"Invalid query" self informs me. I ignore him.