I knew in order to be a great Reality Traveler I’d have to be able to drive, so I went to Driver Training School. For the Training you had to Hit The Road with The Driving Professor, and he told you all the rules and booby-traps to watch out for so you could get The Driver’s License. He was originally from TheSwamps of Louisiana and had reptile eyes and a giant crocodile sharptooth mouth. He seemed like he should’ve been bellyflopped and chomping on a riverside instead of teaching you how to make a car go.
The car was the fastest, heaviest, and most expensive thing I’d ever tried to control, and I could easily imagine how much damage would be done if I accidentally hit something with it. Every time I drove I went really slowly and didn’t make a move until I was absolutely sure I could without crashing.
“How come you not relaxed?” The Driving Professor said once.
I didn’t answer cuz I was afraid I didn’t know the right answer. The Driving Professor’s scales looked extra jaggedy that day.
“Rmm,” he said, “take this next left.”
A left turn was hard cuz sometimes there was no traffic light with a left turn arrow, and then you had to anticipate a gap in the cars, and if you mistimed it you would hit one.
“How come you hold your breath every time you make a left turn?” The Driving Professor said.
I didn’t know how to answer again. His eyes were extra yellow and slitty that day. His back spikes rose high. The light reflected off his fangs and made them sparkle.
“How come you never speak?” he said.
“I don’t know,” I said.
“I don’t know.”
“No one else in Driver Training as scared as you. What’s the matter? You don’t like it?”
“I don’t know.”
“Seems like a lot you don’t know.”
“Rrm, turn on this two lane Road, to practice lane changes.”
Lane changes were hard cuz if you didn’t check first there might be someone else already in the lane and then you’d hit them. The Driving Professor told me to go from the right lane to the left lane.
“Holding your breath again,” he said.
Then he told me to change back from the left lane to the right lane. This time I tried really hard not to hold my breath, but then I forgot to check the lane first. When I started to move there was another car already there, and he honked at me, and it was the worst sound I’d ever heard.
“No!” The Driving Professor Crocodile roared. “You gotta check first!”
His mouth opened up and you could see a lot of his teeth points. He looked like something so vicious it should’ve been killed off with the rest of the dinosaurs, but here he was in modern times. I was scared and pulled the car over to the side and stopped.
“What you doing?” he said.
“I don’t want to anymore,” I said.
“I don’t want to drive anymore today.”
“Huh? What’s the matter with you?”
“I don’t know.”
“Let me explain something to you…”
“Anyone can drive.”
“Do you know why?”
“Cuz it’s easy.”
“You don’t have to be a bird to fly this. Teenagers and grannies and handicapped people, everyone out there are all driving, cuz it’s that easy.”
“But it’s hard for me.”
Then the Driving Professor growled and opened his jaw all the way and snapped back down quickly.
“You think this is hard?” he said. “Man, I’m from TheSwamps. You’re from from the Suburbs. You don’t know what hard is. Now turn back on the Road.”
I didn’t move the car.
“Get back on the goddam Road!”
His words grabbed me by the neck and took me under the water with him, and then I was too bitten to do anything.
“You just gonna quit then?” he said.
“Yeah,” I said.
Then we both had to get out of the car and switch seats so he could drive me home.