Ride 1E

Double-J pulled out onto the road before asking Butch where he lived.

“Smith Street. It’s like, two or three stoplights, on the right.”

“I know where Smith Street is.” He noticed Butch was looking around the interior of his car with wide-eyed appreciation, like a child on an amusement ride. “That’s like, two miles from here.”

“No, it’s only like a mile.” Butch’s voice sounded confident.

“Hmmm. You walk home from school a lot?”

“Sometimes, only when — ”

“How long does it take?”

Double-J could feel the confusion running through Butch’s mind. “Aw — about half, three-quarters of an hour, I think.”

The car stopped at a stoplight, the first they had come to since Butch had entered. “You mean to tell me you think it takes you almost 45 minutes to walk one mile?”

“Well I am pretty slow, on account of me being out of shape. My mom keeps telling me I need to lose some weight — ”

“The average human being walks at a speed of 2 to 3 miles per hour.” The stoplight turned green, and Double-J accelerated the coupe through the intersection. “If you’re making it to Smith Street in 45 minutes, you’re actually doing pretty well.”

“But — Smith Street’s only a mile away.”

It’s — two!” Double-J pounded the steering wheel twice, accentuating each word. “Two miles!”

“Are you sure?”

“What? You think — hold on.” Double-J turned suddenly into a parking lot that had come up to their right. Nearly abandoned, the parking lot allowed the coupe to turn fully, back onto the road they had been travelling, in the opposite direction.

“Where are you going?”

“I’m going to prove to you that it’s two miles from the school to Smith Street.” The stoplight they had just passed was now signaling yellow. Double-J accelerated, zipped through the intersection as the light turned red. “When we get back there, I want you to read my odometer. You can even write it down, if you want, I got some paper and a pen in the glove compartment.”

They reached the Bark Bay High School campus. Double-J pulled up to the closest entrance doors. After confirming that this was where Butch exited to begin his walks home, Double-J asked Butch to read his odometer.

“Seven, eight, two, oh, seven, point, three. You’ve driven 78 thousand miles with this car?”

“I’d have to have been driving since I was ten — which I was, just not legally. No, bought it used, two years ago.” Double-J accelerated the coupe out of the school parking lot.

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