BETTY WHITE WAS BURNING RUBBER. You didn’t get to be her age without knowing a few things, and one of those things was how to handle herself in a high-speed chase. The Charmin Bears had almost taken her and Idris out. Her beloved potted plant named Rose was laying shattered on the asphalt a few miles back. She hadn’t wiped her ass in a month.

Betty was in no mood for this bullshit.

The Bears had already left the parking lot before she found a car, but what a car she had found! A 1970 Dodge Challenger, 440 cubic-inch V8, white. Straight outta the movie Vanishing Point. Totally cherry, totally badass, and someone had left it unlocked. It took her no time to hotwire that mutha . . . because you didn’t get to be her age without knowing a few things . . . and then she was in hot pursuit.

She threw the shift into low and floored it. The car shot forward, rear tires churning back dirt and stones. The tires squealed with rage.

“I’m comin’ to get you, you steaming shitgibbons,” she said. You didn’t get to be her age without knowing a few words. The sun was scorching her eyes. Betty fumbled in the glove box to find some shades. She found an old mix tape too. She glanced at the label, laughed, and slammed it into the cassette deck. Guitars and drums filled the air. Then:

‘No stop signs, speed limit, nobody’s gonna slow me down . . .’

Betty loved AC/DC. She threw the devil horns with her left hand, gripped the wheel with her right. The engine roared like a dive-bomber beneath her. She threw back her head and sang right out loud: “I’m on the highway to hell . . . “

The Bears’ van had gotten a huge jump on her, but she was catching up quick.

Betty lifted her fuzzy pink slipper-clad foot from the gas pedal. She braked hard, spun the wheel, then hammered the accelerator. The Challenger slid around, backfiring, roaring, throwing gravel and dead squirrels for a quarter mile.

Weaving in and out of traffic, boys and girls and moms and dads were making O’s with their mouths. It’s Betty White, it’s Betty White. Omigod, did you see that, it’s Betty White. And Betty was gaining on the Bears, no more than a block ahead.

And the music pounded and Betty White sang, “I’m a live wire, I’m a live wire, gonna set this town on fire . . .”

She mashed down on the pedal. Felt the dizzying surge of the car rocketing forward. Her foot was hard to the floor, a part of the machine itself. The music was pounding like her heart. The Challenger growling and howling around her.

She thought, I haven’t felt this young in a long time.

Then she saw one of them in the back window of the van. That’s when she realized it wasn’t metaphorical, that they weren’t just some gang calling themselves Charmin Bears. Oh no, they were actually the for-real Charmin Bears. Like in the commercials.

She saw the toilet paper too . . .

. . . through the window . . .

. . . just before she rammed the back of the van . . .

. . . and the entire world tumbled over and over and over, upside down, through the downtown streets. Just before there was chaos and sound and everything started exploding all around her . . . before everything went up in flames . . .

. . . and, somewhere from the middle of the fire, AC/DC announced that someone had been thunderstruck.

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