Maxed Out 

Killing the Golden Goose: Part I

Let’s suppose it’s a nice, sunny day in Sea-to-Sky land and you have an irresistible hankerin’ for the last of the fresh strawberries and, as good as they are, you want something better than whatever’s been picked over down at Nesters or maybe the last time you went in there you couldn’t find where they’d hidden the produce and you’re more than willing to be patient with the new reno because it’s definitely going to be better but, like I said, it’s a great day for a drive to Pemberton anyway.

So you go.

You climb up into your trusty, tan Ford Explorer – Orvis Edition, nicknamed Trout – and slip a Best of Boomers compilation CD into the player ’cuz you know your kids won’t let you get away with playin’ that crap when they’re in the car, point it north, open the sunroof, adjust the creamy leather buckets, crank the volume a couple more notches and congratulate yourself for turning off your cell phone and pager.

Somewhere on the flat stretch of road before you get to the underpass followed by the tight righthand turn at the bottom of the hill, you’re distracted looking for the "repeat" button on the CD player because you want to start the Rascals’ Groovin’ over again since it seems to have captured your mood and you’re having flashbacks to a girl – or guy, equal opportunity fantasy – whose name you can’t quite remember but whose taste 30 years later is almost as strong in your mouth as those strawberries you’re driving north to pick off the bush.

Your left rear Firestone Wilderness AT, that you’ve been meaning to have replaced but haven’t gotten around to yet because it’s not like we live in a particularly hot, demanding climate tirewise and you don’t really have too many miles on ’em anyway, blows; the tread separates like peel being stripped from a ripe apple and the next thing you know your world is a topsy-turvy carnival ride of broken glass, flying coffee cups, loose papers, McDonald’s wrappers, dust, gravel and the sound of metal being scraped into scrap.

Then it’s over. For long seconds the only sound you hear is your own blood rushing through your ears and your heart pumping like a whole rhythm section of voodoo drums on human sacrifice night down in the bayou. But you’re alive and unhurt. You’re also upside down, hanging from your seatbelt, increasingly aware you’ve peed your pants and beginning to draw a crowd unsure whether they’re about to find a living human or meat. All’s well that ends well.

Except your Explorer is a wreck and your favourite compilation CD is forever stuck in the player. The insurance company tells you it’s a writeoff – the Explorer, not the CD – and offers you several grand less than you think it was worth. You tell the bloodsucking bustads to fix it instead since you’re fond of tilting at windmills. They tell you the parts alone would cost $85,000. You find this hard to believe since the whole thing new only cost $40,000. Digging into it, you find out they’re right. Isn’t life strange?

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