I know I’ve seen that car before. A ’72 Chevy Nova SS Series IX still covered in primer.

Yes; I was with a friend named Matt, and his parents, stuck in traffic just coming off the Oneida Skyline Bridge, headed south into Menasha. The traffic lights were out, maybe due to the storm, and an Appleton policeman was directing—poorly—traffic by hand.

I’m sure it was the July 4th weekend; had to then be 1987; that was the one of the last times I remember seeing Matt or his parents; a holiday camping trip; the long parts of my hair only just down to my shoulders, still cut into a squib and bleached platinum blond and straw-like by the campground pool that was more chlorine than water on account of the legions of children and drunks pissing and shitting in it.

(As an aside, I actually saw one of those vile, ugly little bastards take a dump in it. He looked like he thought he was just going to fart, then he began grappling his swim trunks in terror until a hunk of shit the size and shape of a potato floated to the surface. Panicked, he pulled the turd underwater with his bare hands and smeared it on the bottom with his bare foot, which actually succeeded in hiding it for probably two days.)

Anyway, we must’ve been headed back from the weekend because I was depressed, which could mean only that I was headed home.

The Chevy was directly in front of us, the strains of some obscure thrash metal version of another somewhat better-known heavy metal song just dying out. Four young men in the car, giant fucking tanned glam metal muscles, all wearing stringed, mostly neon tank tops, their hair in puffy, ratty, pom-like explosions barnacled on their thick skulls, like a gang of wild pro wrestlers out looking for shit to suplex.

I can make out a logo and some words on one of the tank tops: Grim Reaper…Fear No Evil.

Our cars inched closer to the intersection, the now red-faced cop waving his hands wildly, his whistle going off in such a constant stream of mania it was impossible to tell what purpose any of the peeps may have had.

There was some kind of argument in the Chevy; the front passenger was holding a cassette in each hand with a confused and angry look on his face. Blasts of pig-like honking and braying and grunting in place of words, perhaps some sort of orc dialect, the car shaking back and forth as their bodies were heaved by their arguments over what to play next.

Their growling spills from the car, louder and louder, dripping with venom and wrath.

Matt’s parents seem to have some kind of silent objection to all this, but also seem powerless to do anything about it. And afraid. So they tut-tut in whispers, wave their hands gently in disbelief. They’re joined by all the other parents in all the other cars.

Finally, some kind of consensus is reached in the Chevy and the passenger jams one of the tapes into the player.

There’s a silent lull, and the four monsters comply with it, still, unmoving, their oinking and orc-moaning finally ceased, the car drifting forward with the glacial pace of the directed traffic, summoned slightly forth by the cop, who eyes them uneasily.

Suddenly the drums kick in, and it’s loud, like I mean fucking loud. The four are all keeping perfect time with the drums, pounding along in unison with the double bass drums and the ride cymbal, banging on the car, the roof, the floor, wherever can be pounded and drummed. The whole car is rattling, rocking back and forth like a ship being pitched in a turbulent, angry sea.

The rhythm guitar slices in, and the driver switches from drums to that.

Then the lead and bass announce themselves, and both right-side passengers start laying down massive air chops. Their heads are swinging wildly, banging off the seats and the roof, fretboard fingers delicately kneading the air. They’re now in position to be the next car to finally cross the intersection. The cop has his hands on his hips as he considers the muscle car and the wall of sound emanating from it like some sort of sonic weapon, curdling and wilting all the frail, wholesome things it touches. He starts to walk toward the car, signaling to cross-traffic to remain stopped, the entire intersection now at a halt.

The cop’s about one foot away from the Chevy when the vocals detonate, all four orcs screaming along with singer, right front passenger dropping the air guitar and picking up an air mic with his left hand, igniting his voice falsetto along with the song; his right arm is flung stiff out the window, the middle finger raised high above the roof. On that arm he’s wearing a forearm-length pink leather gauntlet.

The muscle car bursts forward, tires screeching, smoke being raised into a dark cloud the size of a small house, the car missing the cop by inches. The cop runs to his cruiser. I notice that the gauntlet is laced, like a very tall boot, and it occurs to me there’s no way he could’ve tied it by himself.

The cop peels out in pursuit, sirens blaring and lights flashing, but it’s useless, too late. Large, black, leathery wings rippled with pulsing veins unfold outward from the car, flapping, lifting it high into the air. Teeming showers of sparks fall from the engine and spinning wheels to the earth. It appears to sprout chrome fangs. The pink gauntlet glows brightly but diminishes fast, a neon cinder, garish and bright and suddenly gone. The car’s flying directly toward the lush full moon, moving so fast streaks of flames shoot out from the chassis. Then it’s gone, disappeared behind gathering massive black storm clouds ushering in the rain, twilight and evil.