Academic journal article Chicago Review

Horst and His New Opel

Academic journal article Chicago Review

Horst and His New Opel

Article excerpt

Captain take us with you, spacious

six-seater, six cylinders, pan

oramic windshield, stretching right

back into the side panels, ride quality of

the big Americans, the really big ones

wheels, thirteen-inch, with super balloon

tires, wide shark's mouth grille, enormous

trunk, with courtesy light, no

carefully rounded forms or pontoon

bodywork any more, 4.8 meters long, fenders

chromed in a galvanic bath, just

thinking about it causes galvanic

skin reactions, rust-proofing, two-tone

paintwork, pastel shades, Opel dealers everywhere, uni

versal GM dealer network, Horst

proud owner of a Kapitan / Kapitan L, road

cruiser bristling with canon, privateer on the prowl, when

it suddenly emerges it frightens the senoritas on the road

sides, athletically built new-world hunter, always too

fast, Shell AG (60 pfennigs a liter)-"that's how

to fill up!"-makes driving a real pleasure,

the driving force behind asphalted lawns, playing-fields

Opel's test track on land, on water, in the air, looking

down from the bridge onto the freeway, onto feeder roads with

great swooping spans, top speed 140 kph, real

power under the hood, where pistons work, pansexual

out for a spin, no nesting, no resting, no rusting, no

settling down, nowhere, look ahead not behind, eyes

glued to the highway,

stopping, turning, reversing are forbidden, you follow roads

without intersections, bypassing towns, straw man with

a straw bag in the stowage space, gets mobile still foregoing

family happiness, Horst in his new Opel, swinging

its shark's snout in the airstream, air cooled,

lord of the situation, lieutenant of the street, steering obliviously, aim

lessly, seeing himself as something of a man for the ladies, the

most impressive figures out there on the street, take me with you

Captain on your long-haul trip, take me with you

if there's an accident, the paramedics appear

many accidents are caused by the dashboard,

recognised as being fatal more often than not, the

force behind the rush-hour, the wrecking force

composed of mass and velocity

buckling the chrome finish, bursting the radiator, skulls through

the windscreen, passenger's teeth punched

into the metal dashboard, jaws broken

my driver's not coming back the whole model a solitary

single-purpose machine "pedal to the metal

get me through this" small consolation for

the man at the wheel, after seven-tenths of a

single second-as demonstrated by Detroit

dummies-it's all over, the trip ruined,

no longer innerly secure, the journey

to the demi-monde in a chassis from Opel's trained

demiurges now over, that's how

everything was supposed to be, of course I'd give up

pay, rank, and status, changing that "just

depends what the whole story costs"

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