We had just about gotten to the top of the hill. It was pretty hard going, and both Ward and I were sucking for air. The go-kart was fun and all, at
least when the motor was running, but it seemed like it weighed as much as our old cow when the engine was dead. The flat tires weren’t helping
either. I’d warned Ward ahead of time we shouldn’t try to go down the hill to begin with, but Ward never listened. In fact, I think any sort of
caution from me to him was always received more like a dare.
“Ward, I wouldn’t pick that rock up from the campfire no matter how cool it looks, it’s probably really hot!”
“OWWWEEEeeeeee OW OWWW, HOT, VERY HOT…AAAAIIIieeeeeeehhhhh….HOT!! YIKES!”
“I tried to tell ya, Ward, but did ya listen???” It was always like this with Ward.
Anyway, the story of how we had gotten to the bottom of the “hill” which, from the bottom, looked like Mt. Rainier was actually quite a tale.
We’d have plenty of time to mull over the different versions of the events on the way back up…pushing the go-kart. According to Ward things
started to go haywire right about the time we broke the sound barrier. I reminded Ward that the sonic sounding boom he’d heard was actually the
engine self-destructing right behind us. Testing out the new fuel concoction on flat ground would have been just fine, but no, we had to try to break
multiple records all at the same time.
“You know Ward, I don’t think we really needed to actually add the fuel to the gas tank and really use it to run the motor.” I said. “I think
we could have just put it in a coffee can and put a match to it and used it like rocket fuel”.
Ward thought for a moment, always a dangerous thing, and replied, “Yeah, I’m pretty sure adding all that magnesium to it probably didn’t help,
but I’m already thinking about some mixture revisions.”
(Gawd help us!) I thought to myself, as I reached up to see if I could touch my face now. A few minutes ago the windburn on my face had made it too
painful to touch. I mean the ‘g’ forces of the acceleration alone had made me realize the helmet I was wearing was pointless, so I’d taken it
off to reduce the drag. At least this way I could hold my head up straight, rather than looking straight up at the sky, and perhaps even see the
boulder, parked car or tree which would be our demise. I also took a moment to make sure all my parts were still attached. All was good except for
the scorched jean jacket and a missing glove.
The idea started out simple enough. Well, not really, but we won’t get into that. Ward had a go-kart, and to a 10 year old, anyone who had a
go-kart was cool…no matter how crazy he was. And Ward was crazy with a capital “C”! I could never tell Mom I was going over to Ward’s house
because she’d get all exited and all of a sudden remember 10 different chores which needed taken care of right away. Funny about that.
Now the go-kart itself wasn’t much. I mean it rolled, sort of, and it did have an engine, sometimes, and it steered, kind of. It sat two and
really that’s all that counted. Ward always had to steer it a little to the left because left alone it liked to drive in circles (which is a whole
Ward had gotten a chemistry set for his birthday (big mistake) earlier that week and he’d been working on making some experimental fuel for the
go-kart. It started off with some simple gasoline and some apple-jack moonshine Dad had in the back of the shed. From there Ward just added stuff
(randomly) from his chemistry set until we had a mixture that glowed and was surely highly toxic. It wasn’t really a liquid, and it wasn’t really
a solid…and it wasn’t really a gas either. The experimental fuel was kind of like all three rolled into one. This was gonna’ be great!, I
thought to myself. If things worked out even remotely close to how we’d planned we’d break our Earthly bounds and be on our first test flight to
“Ward, why don’t we start the go-kart up while we’re still close to your house, so in case it doesn’t work….?” I asked.
“’Fraid it might catch the garage on fire! You ‘member the turbo incident, right?” He said.
“Yeah, how could I ever forget that episode!!!”
Ward must have been very concerned about this new experimental fuel because we were now pretty far from his house. In fact, we were almost all the
way to the top of Bingham’s hill.
“Ward, if we don’t start now we won’t be able to get it stopped before we get to Bingham’s hill” I told him.
“Yeah, I’m thinkin’ we just start right at the top and go down it! It’ll be a blast!” (he was more right than he knew).
After it became clear my exited pleas were not going to change his mind we set about the task of preparing go-kart for the test. “Saftey
harnesses?” “Yep, got some rope, check” “Fire extinguisher?” “Nope, left it in the garage, too much weight anyway” “Helmets?”
“Yep, got my WWI German helmet with the spike on top, and there’s your plastic pretend motorcycle helmet…we’re good!”
Now Bingham’s hill was quite the hill. We could have probably coasted down that hill at 80mph or so. Testing the new experimental fuel while going
down Bingham’s hill was a death-wish if I ever saw one. Ward had really outdone himself this time!
Surprisingly the engine started right up on the first pull. There were no explosions or flames so I guess that was a good sign. After some minor
duct tape work to one of the engine mounts we were ready to go. We both hopped on, roped ourselves in, put our helmets on and found things to hang
onto. This was gonna’ be fun!
Everything started off normally enough, in hindsight I guess there must have been some residual fuel in the gas tank and carb. Ward released the
brake (his tennis shoe) and off we went. I don’t know if the motor was really even pushing us at the start, we were really more just rolling down
Bingham’s hill. Then just past the crest of the steepest part I heard this shrieking wail. It was after this point were things got a little
I’m not sure if the shrieking I’d heard was Ward, me, both of us…or the engine. I wish we’d had some kind of a ‘g’ meter because I’m
pretty sure we hit about 25 ‘g’s in the first second or two. The shrieking had now turned into a deafening roar. The road in front of us started
narrowing to a single point. I think at one point we might have even gone backwards in time for a bit. My neck was now bent backwards at 90 degrees
and I was looking straight up at the sky. The visor on the helmet was a really bad idea. I used my one free hand to undo the strap on the helmet and
it vanished into the smoke and flames behind us. No need for that anymore! Like I said I think we went back in time a bit because I think we passed
my old dog who had gone to doggie heaven a couple years before. Right when we started to enter the next dimension we passed my older sister when she
was younger than me (shoulda’ stopped so I could have given her a wedgie). I think we were just about warp speed when there was this gigantic
Ward was screaming and crying and I was paralyzed on the verge of losing consciousness. Everything was a blur. Then, all of a sudden, there was
another BOOOOM!!! Suddenly we were going sideways, then backwards, then sideways again…and this went on for what seemed like a couple hours or so.
In retrospect a drogue chute probably would have been a good idea, but oh well.
edit on 3/1/2017 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)