The beginning of August was horrible. It was too hot. I saw this film, and I forget what it was called, but it was about being too hot, being in love and going crazy. It turns out that some countries call that torrid weather the "dog days." Well, I was like the beautiful woman in this film sick of the weather, men, everything.
Feeling depressed, I went to the summer terrace at the Lawn Tennis cafe. Now that turned out to be a good move, because I met Yury there. Or rather, I first met his Mercedes, which I rammed from behind with my BMW Mini.
He rushed out of the cafe, but I was faster, demanding immediate compensation for the psychological damage I suffered. He didnt really have much choice but to invite me to dinner. O.K., hes not Vin Diesel, but he does look a bit like Paul Walker, and hes a real drag-racing fan. Yes, I was in luck.
What do I know about drag racing? Well, Ive seen "The Fast and the Furious," though I havent seen the sequel yet. I also know that there are drag races in Moscow every weekend, and that all you need to join in is a drivers license and a car youre not afraid to wreck.
When the weekend came, Yury and I headed for the place where the drag racers meet. Its somewhere midway along Krylatskaya Ul., not far from Krylatsky Most and the rowing canal. When you get there, it just looks like any old big bunch of people and their cars. About 1,000 cars turn up, but less than 100 actually take part. The racers have to go through several stages to register. First, you register by calling 8-926-218-4767, and then you register again at the actual race venue.
Yury said there are people who actually make a buck out of racing. Not in drag races, but in street challenges. As I understood it, thats when you race through the city streets from point A to point B. Its an American invention.
"Its easy," Yury informed me. "You look around at night for a car, say a Porshe, testing its limits on the streets and suggest a race. They see your Mini and take the bait. You agree on the price, and then you just go out there and win. These guys often forget about what goes between the wheel and the seat."
Well, I didnt really get all the details, but I figured that if I lose my job, at least Ill know one way of getting rich, all the more so as Im pretty good at making eyes at someone and then getting out of there quickly.
I liked the atmosphere at the races. It was fun. There was beer, music, this big corridor of spectators and the roar of the engines revving up. I was afraid for my Mini and got behind the wheel of Yurys Benz instead. I thought the car would get flattened, but it wasnt so bad at all and I enjoyed it. Next weekend Im going to go back. And when summer ends, Im going to race reindeer sleds. But for now, Ill work on improving my driving qualifications and earning some money to pay for a trip to Kaliningrad to look for amber on the beaches up there.