Endless Laps

Samuel stared at the throbbing red machine with awe. “Where did you get that from?” he said. “That go-cart costs four thousand dollars! How did you get your dad to buy it?”

“He didn’t buy it,” said, Adam, looking so pleased with himself that he could burst like a punctured watermelon. “But I own it.”

“So you stole it – good work!”

Adam looked even more pleased with himself, which was barely possible. “I didn’t steal it. I got it free. You can get one too if you’re quick. The dealer has gone bankrupt and has to get rid of his stock immediately, but he’s not allowed to sell them. Don’t ask me why. My dad says it’s to do with tax on cross-border trade. He’s giving away a hundred go-carts. Go and get one.”

Samuel wasn’t sure if he was being taken for a ride. He made a move to go but then turned back and said, “Are you kidding me? You had better not be. Can you take me down there?”

“I’m sorry, I can’t. My dad said I could only have the cart if I promised not to ride on public roads. It’s illegal. I can’t drive it along the Lucerne Valley Road.”

Samuel saw a car two kilometres away, ran into the road and stopped the driver. He explained his desperate situation and got a ride into town. He arrived not a moment too late, bagging the last go-cart going. He was over the moon.

The issue then was to get it home without driving on public roads. This was no problem for Samuel. He rode through farms, along forest tracks, across people’s yards, and made it back to his private road.

Every kid in Lucerne seemed to have a go-cart. Roaring was heard all around the valley, growling in forests, bouncing off cliffs, and collecting in the old quarry and caves. The valley seemed to be inhabited by spirits, a place of legendary monsters.

Kids were allowed to race carts in the Industrial Park. Though it was technically a public amenity, it was legally owned by a private entity. Village Hall behaved like an administrative Cyclops, and chose not to see.

The races became a weekly fixture, and the air on Sunday nights was filled with growling beasts. Samuel made excuses for the first few races, but then was noticeable by his absence. People began calling him a chicken. It couldn’t last. He had to appear on the race track soon but he was afraid. He was afraid of driving fast. He was afraid of losing. He was afraid of killing someone. He was afraid of dying.

On Saturday night he hardly slept. He was thinking of making another excuse. It was a sunny day, he could say he went to the lake.

“Samuel, it’s for you.” His father handed him the phone. “It’s your grandfather.”

His grandfather? Why was he calling? He only called once a year at Easter. He picked up the phone. “Grandpa Albert?”

“Yes Samuel. I hear you’re racing today. Wait for me. I’m coming.”

“Why are you…” His grandfather hung up.

Just before the race, Samuel sat in his go-cart, sweating. He would lose. He would kill someone. He would kill himself.

A thin figure walked towards him, bent over and whispered in his ear. “You are the driver. Have no fear. Don’t worry about what may, or may not, happen. Just drive.”

The figure removed all of his clothes. The crowd gasped. His whole body was tattooed with black and white checks, a living GO.

The starting bell sounded. While everyone stared at Grandpa, Samuel roared away. His Grandpa understood that Karma depended on action. He also understood the Tao. His black and white body encompassed yin and yang, enabling universal motion, or at least his grandson’s.

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