A thin layer of sand

The Nissan Patrol was Saïd’s car of choice – but only the 90’s version – the turbo charged V12 engine. They don’t make them like that anymore. The muscle car of the wild outdoors, an alpha 4×4 – roaring up a desert dune like a heavy, slobbering Tolkienesque beast crawling out from the underworld.

Half-deflated tires, worn out seats and a speedometer that didn’t even work and wasn’t required to – just like the seat belt.

Saïd slotted himself into the car without shoes or sandals. His stubby dark feet with grubby nails and cracked souls rested onto the clutch and accelerator.

In the footwell, a thin layer of sand covered the sun bleached black rubber matts.

GRRR-BRRR-ERRR and into third gear, growling up the dune’s steep gradient and swerving upwards, till we were coasting along a dune’s crest and gripping on by a grain’s width. G-BRRR fourth gear… the horizon ahead stops: who knows what’s ahead or below.

I clutched onto the glovebox handle.

We accelerated towards the horizon, the girls screamed. I clenched my teeth. We dropped over the horizon.

In the footwell, the thin layer of sand slid forwards; became a thin line.

Underneath the suffering and roaring beast, the dune avalanched with us, rendering the wheels redundant as we uncontrollably sped down a slope steeper than the pyramids. Saïd yanked left and right on the steering wheel, guiding us down the avalanche onto level ground. What a ride.

My heart was racing and I’m not too sure I particularly enjoyed it. I know the girls didn’t.

We waited at the bottom watching the following cars make the treacherous descent.

A few years later, I heard that Saïd was found covered in a thin of layer sand.