Sunday Snippet, Flash Fiction, Hot Rod On Mars by Bill Chance

“We earth men have a talent for ruining big, beautiful things.”

― Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles

A painting I bought at the For the Love of Kettle event at Kettle Art in Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas. The artist is Jeycin Fincher

Hot Rod On Mars

After a hundred years of terraforming the air on Mars was finally breathable. The colonists had developed their own culture – often seen as odd and ridiculous from the point of view of their friends and relatives left on earth.

One of the most inexplicable cultural oddities was the popularity of hot rods on the red planet. All kinds of replica American muscle cars from the fifties, sixties, and seventies became the ride of choice across Mars.

Craig was very proud of his replica 1970 Dodge Challenger. I was white, like the car in the ancient film, Vanishing Point – one of the few classics that survived the great purge. Craig couldn’t resist though, and had a garish red and blue lightning bolt painted on the room.

But Craig’s testosterone was more powerful than his driving skills – plus he never understood that late-20th century muscle cars were designed for pavement and were dangerous and unstable on cross-country jaunts. The designers never intended their cars to be driven across the rocky plains of Mars.

It was inevitable that he would find a steep ditch and plunge the front end down into the gap, bury it in the dust that filled and hid the furrow. Craig climbed up onto the elevated back end to get a bit better satellite cell reception and decided to stay there as he waited for the star-shaped tow drone to fly to where he was. It was going to be an expensive accident… Maybe he would learn from this.

Probably not.

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