Authors: Todd Strasser,CRAIG PHILLIPS,Sammy Yuen Jr.
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Sammy Yuen Jr.
New York London Toronto Sydney
Over the loudspeaker they were announcing the final heat.
“Guess I better get going,” Kennin said, and got into the Corolla.
Angelita reached into the car and patted him on the helmet. “Have fun.”
He lined up next to Chris in
Slide or Die.
The two drivers nodded at each other.
Derek stepped between the cars and bent down so he could speak to both drivers at the same time. “Glad you two could make it,” he said, obviously pleased that Kennin and Chris were running against each other in the final heat. “Now remember. It's not just about winning. It's about the show.”
Check out all the books in the DriftX series:
Slide or Die
Available from Simon Pulse
And get hooked on some of Todd Strasser's other Simon & Schuster booksâ¦.
Can't Get There from Here
Give a Boy a Gun
Impact Zone series
How I Changed My Life
How I Created My Perfect Prom Date
Here Comes Heavenly
Buzzard's Feast: Against the Odds
If you purchased this book without a cover, you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”
This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author's imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
An imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
Text copyright Â© 2006 by Todd Strasser
Illustrations copyright Â© 2006 by Craig Phillips
All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.
SIMON PULSE and colophon are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Designed by Sammy Yuen Jr.
The text of this book was set in Trade Gothic.
Manufactured in the United States of America
First Simon Pulse edition July 2006
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Library of Congress Control Number 2005930632
This book is dedicated to Lia “Check Out That Jag” Strasser
I would like to thank the following organization and people for their mostly helpful (and sometimes humorously wiseass) comments and assistance:
Amanda Sohr, Dan Carluch, DGTrials.com, Troy “Driftmonkey” Holloway, Chachi, Alex, Thoraxe, LookOutMatt, Gram, I Love Sweatpants, d4vech3n, EunosGangstarr, Darkbane, 1.8turbo510, Shiftnslide, Die Screaming, Airjockie, Dr. Baby, Drift Machine, Thon, Dragracingunderground, VQ Driver, ECDA, Knives, Kata, Toycoma, Mikespeed95, fraggleSTICKcar, Ichi-Go, Dominican Drift, Drew, Davis, Mistatwo, Thrwnsprkz, Moorefire, Saru of the West, Forsaken TH, Trunk, Dave Chen, Dori FC, Vosko, Mranlet.
a blur of broken images and sensations going back to the start of the battle drift. The moment the 240 SX broke traction, he'd felt a shimmy in the steering. He should have quit the tsuiso then, but he didn't. Going into the first turn, he'd felt a heavy vibration. Then something let go. The right front dropped and the car slid sideways and began to spin. Yellow and orange sparks flying everywhere, the car swinging wildly around, he'd veered off the road. Rocks, brush, and dust flew in the air and pelted the windshield.
And then â¦
He'd been pinned inside the 240 SX. He remembered the hiss of escaping coolant and the smell of leaking gasoline. But most of the other memories and sensations from that night had been muted, if not entirely washed away, under a wave of searing, throbbing agony from his leg. There'd been
the high-pitched whine of the fire department's saw cutting the car open. Red and white lights flashing chaotically in the dark. Hands reaching in, grabbing his clothes, and tugging him out of the wrecked vehicle; every movement a blast of unbearable red-hot pain. More hands lifting and laying him on a gurney. Faces staring down at him, lips moving, jumbled words and questions. The scream that tore through his throat, born of intolerable pain, when they'd placed the temporary inflatable cast around his left leg and then strapped him down. He hadn't even felt the injection, just the welcome relief as the painkiller went to work.
Then the bright lights inside the ambulance. A female EMS tech with brown hair squeezing his hand and saying he was going to be okay. Next they pulled the gurney out of the ambulance and rolled him through the cool air into the hospital. Long fluorescent lights in the ceiling of the hospital emergency room. More faces hovering over him, lips moving, hazy jumbles of words. The antiseptic smell of alcohol. Big gray sheets of X-ray film being passed around. Rolling down a corridor and into a cold room with lots of polished stainless steel. A clear plastic mask over his nose and mouth. Someone told him to count to ten.
He opened his eyes. He was in a hospital bed with metal rails, his left leg suspended in the air by a pulley hanging from a rack overhead. Tubes ended in needles stuck into the
crook of his arm and the back of his hand. Dull throbbing pain rose from his left leg. His sister, Shinchou, was sitting in a chair against the wall reading
magazine. He closed his eyes.
When he next opened them, the room was dark. A machine close by was beeping, and he could hear the sound of steady breathing. Someone was asleep in the bed next to him. His leg hurt, his throat was dry, and he was incredibly thirsty. A plastic cup with a straw sat on the night table beside his bed and he tried to reach for it, but the tubes attached to his arm stopped him.
A male nurse named Leon helped him sip orange juice through a straw. Leon wore a blue hospital shirt and pants. He had dark skin, mischievous eyes, and huge hands. He gave Kennin a button to push whenever the pain got too great. Leon said, “This is your joystick, baby.”
Kennin used the joystick sparingly. He'd feel the pain from his leg creeping up, but he'd wait, daring the agony to make him give in. At first it was no contest. The pain roared down on him like an avalanche and there was no fighting back. He'd pump the joystick and grimace until the drugs brought relief.
Leon came back. “How's it hangin', dawg?”
“Okay, I guess,” Kennin answered, lifting the joystick slightly. “As long as I have this.”
“Oh, yeah, push that button and life is easy.” Leon grinned.
“What's the story with my leg?” Kennin asked.
Leon's eyebrows went up. “They didn't tell you? Lemme see.” He picked up a chart hanging at the base of the hospital bed and thumbed through the pages. “Busted up pretty good, my friend. Broke in two places. You got a few screws here and there, but not enough to open a hardware store.”
“How much longer am I in here for?” Kennin asked.
“Short as possible,” Leon said, flipping to another page on the chart. “You're our least favorite kind of patient.”
“What kind's that?” Kennin asked.
“The nonpaying kind. No money, no health insurance, no nothin'.” Leon closed the chart. “What'd you do, crawl out of a hole somewhere? Who takes care of you, dawg? I mean, when you're not in here.”
“I take care of myself,” Kennin said.
“Oh yeah?” Leon looked at Kennin's leg, suspended in the air. “Don't look like you're doing a real good job, bro.”
Kennin shrugged. “So, I didn't get an answer to my question. How long am I here?”
“Hey, I ain't no doctor, but based on what I've seen, they gotta wait for the surgical wounds to start to heal. Soon as the wounds look like they're healing okay, they'll probably wrap that leg in plaster and kick your sorry butt into the street. Free up this bed for some paying customer.”
“But that'll be what? A few days? A week?” Kennin asked.
“I'd guess a week or less,” said Leon. “Why? What's the rush?”
Kennin wanted to know what had happened to the car. Why it had gone out of control right at the start of the tsuiso. It wasn't like he'd done anything to cause the crash. He'd hardly gotten going. And why, just before the start, had he heard that impact wrench?
The answer he gave Leon was, “Who wants to be in a hospital?”
“That's the spirit, dawg.” Leon grinned. “Get out of this bed and let us make some money off someone who can pay.”
Leon left. Kennin settled back in the bed and clicked through the TV channels. Here in the hospital he had close to twenty. Sure beat the five they had in the trailer.
Shinchou came back. She had dark rings under her eyes, and her long black hair, usually so well kept, looked stringy and unwashed. She was thinner, too. Her clothesâstained and dirtyâhung off her as if she were a human clothes hanger. Her skin was so pale it almost appeared translucent.
“How are you?” she asked.
“Okay,” Kennin said. “How about you?”
She shrugged and pulled her yellowed, nicotine-stained fingers through her dark hair.