I’ve been teaching Bullet to drive and so far it hasn’t been too stressful.
Apart from one or two brushes with near-certain death, things have gone fairly well and I haven’t hit him, nor has he struck me. Both of us, however, almost got out and murdered the gobshite who leaned on his horn for five minutes while Bullet struggled to get re-started at a roundabout, cutting out each time under the stress of the jerk behind us blaring his inadequate little peeper.
Right, Bullet, I said. Out of gear. On with the handbrake. Start it up and ease out the clutch. Plenty of power now. That’s great.
Bullet is of the X-Box generation whose hand-eye co-ordination is honed to a better level than an F-16 pilot. The only drawback is his tendency to fire indiscriminately at people in the street and his complete disregard for human life.
I, on the other hand, come from the keyboard school of gaming. Prince of Persia 1 and Doom 1, wandering around NAMA-style desolation-scapes, firing a pump-action shotgun at pig-demons. This makes me a much safer driver than the youth of today. The only time I lose control of the car is when I involuntarily slam it into a revenant and cut it to pieces with a chainsaw.
Luckily, Bullet, though young, is into retro. He likes Motown and shit, which is more than I did at his age, and which speaks volumes for the self -assurance of today’s kids. That’s why he always brings a chain-gun, a pump-action shotgun, a rocket-launcher and a BFG-9000 on our learner-driver trips. You never know when you might be attacked by a cacodemon, a mancubus or a baron of Hell while out practising your hill-starts.
A quick burst from the chain-gun quietened the fool blowing his horn but it took all the good out of the day. We’d been looking forward to an afternoon of reversing around corners, blasting arachnotrons and taking out Hell Knights with a super shotgun. But you know how it is. Some days, one small annoyance can knock you off balance and nothing is any good after that.
And so it happened that, as we approached the roundabout and I was carefuly advising Bullet to take it nice and easy, we were attacked not only by a Spider Mastermind, but also by a Cyberdemon.
Jesus Christ, some days just get worse and worse.
Look, I advised Bullet. Pull up the handbrake. Relax. Start the engine. Put on the invulnerability sphere and fire your BFG-9000 at the Spider Mastermind.
Ok Dad, he said.
Good lad, I told him. Meanwhile, I’ll fire a rocket at the Cyberdemon, see if we can get them fighting.
Dad? said Bullet.
Is this going to be in the test?
No son, I assured him. The most you need fear in the test is a pig-demon sitting into your car. A chain-saw will sort that out.