Cannonball Run 4 1/2: Qualifying Run

AN:Welcome.
By now, you've probably heard that I've been chosen to write Cannonball Run 5. I had an idea to write a little two chapter prologue similar to various shorts detailing background information that sometimes accompanies full length features. This is something like that, showing how one qualifies for a race such as the Cannonball.
The cars featured in this fic will be from the video game "Need For Speed: Underground" and are named after their body kits. The characters featured are the properties of their respective creators and are not mine either.
I'd also like to thank Turbo Man for his suggestions for chapter two since I was having a little trouble with it.
And so, enjoy.

San Diego...

The usual daily traffic drove by the city center. Then, a bronze colored Nissan Skyline with a vinyl graphic of a checkered flag and a demon holding a fireball drove by and performed a few doughnuts. After that, it drove off.

The Skyline drove past a green Ford Focus and a red Peugeot 206. Both cars were plastered with decals depicting what aftermarket companies had parts in them. The Focus had a graphic of an angel and feathers and the Peugeot had a graphic of a dragon and flames. Leaning against the Focus was secret agent Joanna Dark.

A dark-haired woman named Cate Archer walked over. "Well, Joanna." she said. "What's this about?"

"Lara's team is one short since several of our members are busy elsewhere." said Joanna. "I'm thinking of suggesting you, but I need to see if you're up to the challenge."

"I see." said Cate. "Let's give it a shot."

"I get the Focus." said Joanna.

"Oh, no problem." said Cate. "I've driven Peugeots back home."

The two girls took to their cars and drove to the next intersection. "On green, we go." said Joanna.

The music started to play as the girls revved their engines. Then came the green light and they were off.

We're talking away.
I don't know what I'm to say.
I'll say it anyway.
Today's another day to find you.
Shying away.
I'll be coming for your love, okay

Starring Hank Hill (King of the Hill)
Bobby Hill (King of the Hill)
Groove Champion (Interstate '76)
Taurus (Interstate '76)
George Segal as Jack Gallo (Just Shoot Me)
David Spade as Dennis Finch (Just Shoot Me)
Max Payne (Max Payne)

Joanna took a straitaway with Cate right behind her. The two cars approached a bus and swerved around it.

Take on me. (Take on me)
Take me on. (Take on me)
I'll be gone in a day or two.

Kim Possible (Kim Possible)
Ron Stoppable (Kim Possible)
Dominic Purcell as John Doe (John Doe)
Seth Green as Duane Cody (Rat Race)
Vince Vieluf as Blane Cody (Rat Race)

So needless to say.
I'm odds and ends.
But that's me stumbling away.
Slowly learning that life is okay.
Say after me.
It's no better to be safe than sorry.

Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green (Friends)
Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay-Hannigan (Friends)
Eric McCormack as Will Truman (Will Grace)
Sean Hayes as Jack MacFarland (Will Grace)
Don Johnson as Nash Bridges (Nash Bridges)
Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk (Monk)

Joanna and Cate rounded another turn to find a car accident a block ahead. A flatbed lowered its ramp to take away one of the wrecked cars. Joanna used the flatbed to tilt onto her left wheels and maneuver through the carnage. Cate, on the other hand, drove up the ramp and jumped the accident.

Take on me. (Take on me)
Take me on. (Take on me)
I'll be gone in a day or two.

Peter Griffin (Family Guy)
Brian the Dog (Family Guy)
Emilio Sanchez (Midnight Club)
Larry Muller as himself (Midnight Club)
Michael Ealy as Slapjack (2 Fast 2 Furious)
Amaury Nolasco as Orange Julius (2 Fast 2 Furious)

Oh, the things that you say.
Is it life or just a play my worries away.
You're all the things I've got to remember.
You're shying away.
I'll be coming for you anyway.

Keifer Sutherland as Jack Bauer (24)
Elisha Cuthbert as Kim Bauer (24)
Takeshi Kaga as the Chairman (Iron Chef)
Masahiko Kobe (Iron Chef)
Ted Danson as Sam Malone (Cheers)
Woody Harrelson as Woody Boyd (Cheers)
Michael Richards as Cosmo Kramer (Seinfeld)

Joanna raced around the next corner and let the car drift. Cate did so as well and the car spun out. A couple of spins later, she corrected and continued on her way.

Take on me. (Take on me)
Take me on. (Take on me)
I'll be gone in a day.

with Joanna Dark (Perfect Dark)
Cate Archer (No One Lives Forever)
Phil Keoghan (The Amazing Race)
Enrico Colantoni as Elliot DeMauro (Just Shoot Me)
Thunder Bob (Roadkill)
Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing (Friends)
Erik Estrada as Frank "Ponch" Poncherello (CHiPs)
Larry Wilcox as Jon Baker (CHiPs)
Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani (Friends)
Noel Gugliemi as Hector (The Fast and the Furious)
Boomhauer (King of the Hill)
Jeff Perry as Harvey Leek (Nash Bridges)
Bitty Schram as Sharona Flemming (Monk)
Skeeter (Interstate '76)
Megan Mullally as Karen Walker (Will and Grace)
Robert Davi as Jake Fratelli (The Goonies)
Joe Pantoliano as Francis Fratelli (The Goonies)
Dice (Midnight Club 2)
David Hyde Pierce as Niles Crane (Frasier)

Take me on. (Take on me)
I'll be gone in a day.

-"Take On Me" by A-Ha

Joanna and Cate stopped in front of the San Diego Convention Center and got out of their cars.

"Very good." said Joanna. "You drive quite well."

"I thought I did pretty well considering I'm used to shifting with my left hand." said Cate. "Remember, we drive on the left in England. So, tell me. Am I worthy?"

"You bet." said Joanna they walked past the Convention Center.

As they walked away, a red pickup pulled into the Convention Center. The truck stopped at the back of a long line of cars.

"So, Bobby, what do you think about being in the Cannonball?" asked the driver, Hank Hill.

"This is by far the most incredible experience in my life." said his son, Bobby. "Then again, I'm only fifteen."

Just then, Hank noticed the cars were not moving. "Oh, great." he said. "This is line is never going to move."

"Maybe you should honk, dad." said Bobby.

"I'd like to, Bobby, but that car doesn't look friendly." said Hank as he looked at the old Mustang in front of him. The car had a gun turret on the roof.

XXXXX

"Hey! Move the wreck!" yelled the Mustang's driver, auto-vigilante Groove Champion.

"And people wonder why we bolt guns to our cars." said his partner, Taurus.

"I can't believe we're gonna miss the Cannonball because of this dumbass!" groaned Groove.

"Let me drive." said Taurus. "I'm good with high-stress situations."

"Yeah, by pawning them off on me." said Groove as he climbed into the backseat.

Taurus slid into the driver's seat and rammed the car in front of them. He then drove up on the curb and drove around the wreck. Hank followed him.

"Nice work, Taurus." said Groove.

"Yeah, I'm so good, they should name a car after me." joked Taurus.

XXXXX

"Did you see that?" asked Elliot DeMauro, a photographer for "Blush" magazine, as Taurus shoved his way through the line of cars.

"Yeah, that was cool!" said his partner, Dennis Finch. "I bet Jack wishes he saw that."

"Dennis, someone could be hurt!" snapped Elliot.

"Who could be hurt?" asked retired "Blush" Editor in Chief Jack Gallo.

"The guys in that car." said Elliot.

"Yeah, that was funny." said Jack.

"What are you doing here, Jack?" asked Dennis.

"Maya called me up and said she wasn't sure you two could pull this off, so I came to take part." explained Jack. "Besides, this is the craziest thing I've never tried and I figured I was about due."

XXXXX

A taxi pulled up and a man in a trenchcoat climbed out.

"Here you are, Mr. Payne." said the driver.

"Thanks." said the man, undercover cop Max Payne. "What's the damages?"

"Uh, never mind." said the driver. "It's taken care of."

"Thanks." said Max. He took in the sight of the Convention Center and said "And so it begins." He looked up at a pair of parachutes.

XXXXX

"Couldn't you think of a better way to get to the Convention Center?" asked one of the skydivers, teenage secret agent Ron Stoppable.

"Are you kidding?" asked his partner, Kim Possible. "There is no better way! Think of this as the little fun before the big fun."

"Hey, I just think it would've been safer to take the bus." said Ron. "I wish Rufus could've joined us."

"Sorry he couldn't." said Kim. "Hang on, we're almost on the ground."

XXXXX

"Well, here I am." said the man. His identity was lost to amnesia, so he just went by John Doe.

"I don't know what the Cannonball is supposed to mean for me, but it must mean something." he said as he looked at the invitation he'd been given. He knew it was important because unlike just about everything else, he saw it in color.

XXXXX

"Okay, you know what the plan is, right?" asked Duane Cody.

"Uh huh!" mumbled his brother, Blane. He had just had a tongue stud removed, but was still having trouble being understood. (Try to imagine his dialogue being said by someone with a numb mouth.) "I wade for the sick-nal and den I preten to have fawn off the wah." (Translation: I wait for the signal and then I pretend to have fallen off the wall.)

"Very good." said Duane. "Now, what is the signal?"

"You cream 'Someone joss feh!'" mumbled Blane. (Translation:You scream "Someone just fell!") Just then, Kim and Ron parachuted past them.

"Good." said Duane. "Then, we'll see what they'll do to prevent a lawsuit." He stepped away, slipped, and fell back towards Blane. Blane caught him, but was knocked off the roof.

"Blane!" yelled Duane.

Below them, Kim and Ron got hung up in the trees. "Well, the landing didn't go exactly as planned, but we're here." said Kim.

"Great, let's get down from..." said Ron just before a loud thud hit his parachute. He looked up to see Blane had landed on the chute.

"Than cool!" mumbled Blane. (Translation: Thank you.)

XXXXX

"I can't believe you talked me into this!" said Rachel Green.

"Oh, stop complaining." said her friend, Phoebe Buffay-Hannigan. "You've been waiting for an opportunity to let off some stress for some time."

"Yeah, dating Ross really takes it out of you." said Rachel. "Hey, if we go by Los Angeles, maybe we can pay Joey a visit."

"Yeah, we could do that." said Phoebe.

"Hey, I know you!" said someone. Rachel and Phoebe turned to see a man walking up to them. "I saw you perform at Central Perk a few years ago." he said. "I can't believe you're here."

"Oh, nice to meet you, Mr...uh..." said Rachel.

"Oh, sorry." he said. "Will Truman, attourney at law."

"I swear I didn't know it was loaded!" shrieked Phoebe.

"I'm off duty now." said Will.

"Oh." said Phoebe. "Well anyways, nice to meet you."

"So, you seeing anyone?" asked Rachel.

"Actually, I'm gay." said Will.

"Oh." said Rachel. "Well, nice meeting you."

XXXXX

Will walked away from the girls and was soon joined by his friend Jack McFarland.

"Will!" called Jack. "You wouldn't believe it! I kept asking this cute guy for his number and he gave it to me."

"Let me see." said Will. Jack handed him the phone number and Will looked it over. "Jack, this is Jenny's phone number!"

"What?" asked Jack as he took the number back. "Holy deception, Batman! He gave me a false number! Although, I do admire the way he blew me off using an 80s music reference."

"Jack, we're not here to pick up guys!" said Will. "We do that after we win and use the win to pick up guys."

"Ah." said Jack. "Very good, master. This plan is foolproof."

XXXXX

Another taxi pulled up and a nervous-looking man in a suit got out. "Here's your change." said the driver. "Now, get out!"

"But what about your tip?" asked the man, former police detective Adrian Monk.

"Keep it!" yelled the driver as he sped off.

"Is it my fault you can't keep a clean cab?" asked Monk as he walked away, organizing his money. Next to him, a yellow '71 Hemi'Cuda drove up and the driver honked the horn.

"Yo, Adrian!" yelled the 'Cuda's driver.

"Nash Bridges." said Monk. "As I live and breathe."

Nash got out of the 'Cuda and joined Monk. "Stottlemeyer sends his regards." said Nash. "So, what are you doing there?"

"The cab driver got my change all mixed up." explained Monk. "The denominations are out of order, the bills are folded all wrong, and half of them are upside-down."

"Are you sure the other half aren't upside-down?" asked Nash.

"Very funny, Nash." said Monk. "Way to pick on someone with OCD." Nash laughed.

XXXXX

"Can you give me a descrption of the car that hit you, Mr. Griffin?" asked a cop.

"Sure can." said Peter Griffin, driver of the car that Taurus hit. "It was one of those big SUVs, all chromed-out, driver probably hopped-up on crack or something. Just came barreling through, didn't even wait for us to get out of the way. You might want to use deadly force, officer. He seemed dangerous."

"Why do you do that?" asked Peter's dog, Brian, as the officer walked away.

"Do what?" asked Peter.

"Try to make yourself look like less of a jerk." said Brian. "You could have explained to the nice officer that the guy in the Mustang got impatient because you were sitting there sorting through your CDs."

XXXXX

"Hey, ladies!" called a latino man known as Orange Julius as he walked into the Convention Center. "The man is here!"

"Hey, tone it down a bit!" snapped the man's friend, Slapjack. "We're here to race, not make fools of ourselves."

"Hey, I'm here to impress one way or the other." said Julius. "We're gonna show these guys how it's done in Miami."

"So, you're the racers from Miami I've been hearing about." said another latino man. "Well, we ain't no slouch in New York either."

"Who are you guys?" asked Slapjack.

"We're from the New York chapter of the Midnight Club, a worldwide street racing team." said the other man's partner. "He's Emilio Sanchez and I'm Larry Muller. They don't mess with me in Queens."

"The Midnight Club?" asked Julius. "Sounds to me like a bunch of wannabes."

"Yeah, I can't wait to show you why I get mad props." threatened Slapjack.

"You got props?" asked Emilio. "No, no, not from Emilio, you ain't."

"Hey, we don't need your props." said Julius. "You ain't got a chance against the lords of Miami."

"Oh yeah?" said Larry. "You reckon you got a chance against the Queen of Ki...I mean the King of Queens?"

The four men stared at each other for a few seconds before Emilio grabbed Larry and said "Let's go." They left. Larry cringed when he heard Slapjack and Orange Julius laughing hystericly.

XXXXX

A man named Jack Bauer and his twenty-year-old daughter Kim walked into the Convention Center.

"What are we doing here?" asked Kim.

"Tony asked me to look into suspicious activity here." said Jack. "He managed to get us into the Cannonball's qualifying run so we can investigate."

"What kind of suspicious activity?" asked Kim.

"He said a major drug baron is paying close attention to the race." said Jack. "I think he's planning something involving smuggling or possibly sneaking an assassin into the race to kill some head of state or someone."

"What will the qualifying run be like?" asked Kim.

"That's unknown." said Jack. "All I know is that it will most likely be a long-distace drive, although much shorter than the actual race. I know, it's going to be another long day."

7:45:48...7:45:49...7:45:50

XXXXX

A taxi pulled up into the parking lot. A Japanese man wearing a white, red, and green outfit climbed out.

"(Mr. Chairman, we are here.)" he said in Japanese. He opened the taxi's rear door and another Japanese man, wearing one of the most foppish outfits possible, climbed out of the backseat.

"Arigato, Kobe-san." said the Chairman. "(You know why you're here, don't you?)"

"(Yes, Kaga-san.)" said Kobe. "(Morimoto gave me some pointers on driving in this country. He used to live here, you know.)"

"(Correct.)" said the Chairman. "(Once we qualify here, we can then go on to conquer the Cannonball itself.)"

XXXXX

Boston bartender Woody Boyd stood around taking in all the sights. Shortly afterward, his boss, fellow bartender and former baseball player Sam Malone, walked over with a black eye.

"Sam, what happened?" asked Woody.

"I ran into a group of Padres fans." said Sam. "They still remember when I pitched the Red Sox to a win over them. Funny thing is I don't really remember myself because that's when I was drinking."

"Wow, that's ironic." said Woody.

"It's something, Wood." said Sam. "Come on, let's find where we're supposed to go."

XXXXX

A bus pulled up in front of the Convention Center and a tall man with a stack of hair got off. The man's name? Kramer.

"Thanks for the ride." said Kramer. "I'll send you a postcard."

The bus pulled away and Kramer said "Time for the Cannonball to fall to the forces of Kramer."

Just then, a voice came over the loudspeaker. "May I have your attention, please? Anyone here to take part in the Cannonball qualifying run, please report to the parking lot. Thank you."

XXXXX

After reporting to the parking lot, the Cannonballers spent some time getting to know each other.

"Get out! You're from New York too?" asked Rachel.

"Oh yeah." said Kramer. "I try to get into all the great places by using my alias, Martin Von Nostrand. Although, I've actually been outplaced by some lady named Regina Phalange."

"Hello?" said Phoebe. "Right here."

"Sammy here used to play for the Red Sox." said Woody.

"Oh yeah, I saw you play that game against the Athletics." said Nash. "I had twenty bucks on that game."

"Oh, I guess I owe you some money then." said Sam.

"Sometimes, I think I'd like to move out to the southwest." said Max Payne. "It seems a little simpler out there."

"That's how it looks, but the reality is much different." said Taurus.

"That's right." said Groove. "I took on a gang of highway bandits last week. I was just going out for milk."

"Tell me something." said Emilio. "Is there a Midnight Club in Arlen?"

"I'd doubt it." said Hank. "You might have to talk with Boomhauer though. He's our neighborhood gearhead. One warning though: he's kind of hard to understand."

"Yeah, I've been there." said Larry.

Just before eight o'clock, the bronze Skyline roared into the parking lot and performed a couple more doughnuts. Finally, the Skyline stopped and the driver's door opened. Out stepped "Amazing Race" host Phil Keoghan. "Damn torque steer." he muttered.

He then saw the Cannonballers. "Greetings, Cannonballers, and welcome to the qualifying run of the Cannonball Run." he announced. "As you know, there are five openings in the lineup for the main race. That's what you are racing for today. The first five finishers will go on to the race, the rest will go home. For this qualifying run, the destination is the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington."

"I'm aware that some of you did not bring cars, but that's not a problem. We have some cars that have been specially modified for the race and we're about to hand out the keys right now."

With that, Phil dug into the bowl of keys he had brought and said "You might have seen the cars when you were coming here since they are elsewhere in the parking lot. They are also color-coded so you can find them sooner." He pulled out the first set of keys and said "Hank and Bobby Hill, you get the Snyper."

Hank walked over and picked up the keys.

"Snyper. That sounds like a cool name for a car." said Bobby.

"Bobby!" yelled Hank.

Phil took out the next set of keys. "Groove Champion and Taurus," he said "you get the Ace."

"As far as names go, I like this car already." said Groove as he walked over and took the keys.

"Hey, they can call this car El Perfecto and it could still be a piece of junk." said Taurus. "Names mean zip."

Phil took out the next set of keys. "Jack Gallo and Dennis Finch," he announced "you get the Renegade."

"Thank you." said Dennis as he ran up and got the keys.

"Remember, I'm driving." said Jack.

"Max Payne," announced Phil as he took out the next key "you get the Shadow."

Max walked up and took the key. "Let's see how this works." he said.

"Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable," announced Phil "you get the Strike."

Kim ran over and got the keys. "This is gonna be cool." she said.

"Oh yeah." said Ron.

"John Doe," said Phil "you get the Flash."

John walked up and took the keys, then looked at the color-coded tag. "Uh, one thing." he said. "I'm color blind. Which car does this go to?"

Phil looked at the yellow tag and said "The 240SX." He then took out the next set of keys and said "Duane and Blane Cody, you get the Wolfpack."

Duane ran up and got the keys. "Alright, let's show these guys what we can do." he said.

"Zass juds wah wurz meh." said Blane. (Translation:That's just what worries me.)

"Rachel Green and Phoebe Hannigan," said Phil "you get the Spyder."

"Spyder?" asked Rachel as she took the keys. "As in convertible?"

"Oh great." said Phoebe. "I finally get a cool car and I'm taken."

"Will Truman and Jack MacFarland," said Phil "you get the Type V."

Jack ran up and took the keys. "Ooh, I like this color." he said as he looked at the pink tag.

"Did you phone ahead?" asked Will.

Phil took out the next set of keys and announced "Nash Bridges and Adrian Monk, you get the Vortex."

Monk ran over and took the keys. He analyzed the tag on the way back. "Is this scarlet or crimson?" he asked.

"Red." said Nash.

Phil took out the next set of keys and announced "Peter Griffin and Brian, you get the Crank."

"Hey, are you talking about me?" asked Peter.

"Sure, he leaves it to me to fetch the keys." said Brian as he went up to get the keys.

Phil then took out the next set. "Emilio Sanchez and Larry Muller, you get the Storm. Also, Slapjack and Orange Julius, you get the Frenzy. Since you both are rival street racing teams, there will be a 50,000 bonus for the pair that finishes before the other."

"Hey, yo, yo, you're gonna learn to race like a man!" announced Emilio.

"From you?" asked Slapjack. "I think we'll need a substitute."

Phil took out the next set of keys and announced "Jack and Kim Bauer, you get the Blast."

Jack ran up and took the keys. Phil said "I'm told you have something to arrange with me?"

"Yes, I'd like you to know that this is not a bribe to let us qualify." said Jack. "Tony wanted to arrange a member of CTU to work with your crew to improve security. I will give you the contact information at the end of the race."

"Thank you very much." said Phil as he took out the next set of keys. "Chairman Kaga and Masahiko Kobe, you get the Rage."

The Chairman walked up and took the keys and gave them to Kobe. "Arigato, Kaga-san." said Kobe.

"First thing to remember:" said Kaga. "They drive on the right here."

"Sam Malone and Woody Boyd," said Phil "you get the Vapor."

Sam ran up to get the keys. "Hey, Sam." said Woody. "Doesn't Dr. Crane live in Seattle?"

"Yeah, he does." said Sam. "Maybe we can visit him after we finish."

"And finally," said Phil as he took out the last set of keys "Cosmo Kramer, you get the Mantis 2."

"Mantis 2, you say?" said Kramer as he went up for the keys.

"Yes, the 2 is because there was a car called the Mantis in last year's race. Now, you all have your keys and you know where the cars are. We're just about ready to begin. Since this is only a qualifying run, we couldn't justify bringing out a full-fledged all-star band."

"So, what does that mean?" asked Phoebe.

Phil reached into the Skyline and took out a boom box. He placed it on the car's roof and turned it on. "Let's see." he said as he looked at the Blur CD in his hand. "Oh, this is appropriate. 'Song 2' is the second track." He put the CD into the boom box and selected the song.

"Okay, we're ready to start." he said. "On your mark. Get set. Go!"

With that, he hit "play" and the drivers took off. A drum beat filled the air as the song began.

Whoo hoo!

"Dad! I see the car!" yelled Bobby as he spotted the Snyper, a white Volkswagen Golf GTI with a vinyl of an orange background and a funny little man.

"Good eye, Bobby!" said Hank as he ran to the car.

Whoo hoo!

"This is our car?" asked Groove as he saw an orange Honda Civic, the Ace. The car had a vinyl of a diving eagle and stars on it.

"Yeah, this is the new generation of hot rod." said Taurus as he jumped in.

Whoo hoo!

"I think this is it." said Finch as he looked at the Renegade, a dark green Dodge Neon. The car had a vinyl of a ninja woman in the middle of an explosion.

"Remember, you're driving." said Jack Gallo.

Whoo hoo!

"You've got to be joking." muttered Max Payne when he saw the Shadow, a jet black Hyundai Tiburon. The car had a vinyl of a skull and a checkered flag on the side.

I got my head checked
by a jumbo jet.

"Hey, that's a nice car." said Ron when he saw the Strike, a blue Toyota Celica with a vinyl of a snake on the side.

"And it's all ours." said Kim.

It wasn't easy,
but nothing is.
No.

"Let's see." said John Doe when he saw the Flash, a yellow Nissan 240SX with a vinyl of a Mega Man like robot on the side. "'91 240SX, lowered about four inches, body kit adds about five pounds..."

Whoo hoo!
When I feel heavy metal...

"There it is!" said Duane when he saw the Wolfpack, a silver Mitsubishi Eclipse. The sides had vinyls of a trio of ninjas with the moon behind them.

"Rah and row!" mumbled Blane. (Translation:Rock and roll!)

Whoo hoo!
and I'm pins and I'm needles

"It IS a convertable!" said Rachel as she spotted the Spyder, a maroon Mazda Miata with a vinyl of a rose on the side.

"Let's go!" yelled Phoebe. Rachel opened the door and climbed in while Phoebe jumped onto the trunklid and dropped into the passenger seat.

Whoo hoo!
well I lie and I'm easy

"There it is! There it is!" squealed Jack MacFarland when he saw the Type V, a pink Acura Integra with girls' portraits on the sides.

"You designed this car, didn't you?" yelled Will.

all of the time,
but I'm never sure
why I need you.
Pleased to meet you.

"Nash, are you sure this is the car?" asked Monk when he saw the Vortex, a red Mazda RX-7 with a wave vinyl on the sides and an angel on the hood.

"Adrian, it's the only red car in the lot!" said Nash as he got into the car.

I got my head done
when I was young.

"This is it." said Peter when he saw the Crank, a dark blue Nissan Sentra SE-R with a vinyl of a dragon on the side.

"Here we go." said Brian.

It's not my problem.
It's not my...problem.

"Now, this is a car!" said Larry when he saw the Storm, an aqua Subaru Impreza with a vinyl of crackling electricity on it.

"Yeah, baby!" screamed Emilio.

Whoo hoo!
When I feel heavy metal...

"Look at it!" squealed Slapjack when he saw the Frenzy, a bronze Toyota Supra with a vinyl of a ninja slicing through water on the side. "It's almost the same as mine!"

"Yeah, nice." said Julius.

Whoo hoo!
and I'm pins and I'm needles

"Kim, there it is!" said Jack Bauer when he saw the Blast, a gold Acura RSX with a vinyl of a robot with rocket engines on the side.

"I'm driving." said Kim.

8:01:15...8:01:16...8:01:17

Whoo hoo!
well I lie and I'm easy

"(Chairman, the car!)" said Kobe when he saw the Rage, a purple Mitsubishi Lancer ES with vinyls of a jet engine on the sides, hood, and roof.

"(Let us proceed to our inevitable victory.)" said Kaga as he and Kobe climbed in.

all of the time,
but I'm never sure
why I need you.
Pleased to meet you.

"Remember our strategy." said Sam as he and Woody climbed into the Vapor, a gunmetal gray Nissan 350Z with vinyls of steel plates on the sides and a radioactive symbol on the hood.

"I got it, Sam." said Woody. "Drive like crazy."

Yeah yeah!
Yeah yeah!

Kramer found the Mantis 2, a lime green Honda S2000 with a vinyl of a serpent with rider on the side. He climbed in and quickly got tangled in the seat harness.

Yeah yeah!
Oh yeah!

-"Song 2" by Blur

In short order the cars were started and raced out of the parking lot. A few seconds later, the only sounds heard were the echoing roar of the cars' engines as they headed for the highway...and the whirring of a strangely noncompliant Honda starting motor. The Ace had failed to start.

XXXXX

On the radio...

"We've got seventeen drivers out there trying their best to qualify for the next Cannonball Run. Who will it be? Call me, Thunder Bob, to voice your opinion. Hello, caller, who do you think will qualify?"

"Hi, this is Chandler from New York. I've got a couple of friends comprising one of the teams."

"Nice to hear from you, Chandler." said Thunder Bob. "Do you think your friends are a solid contender for qualifying for the Cannonball?"

"Could they BE a better contender?" asked Chandler. "Rachel is a rather ambitious little lady. And Phoebe is...well, she's there, too."

A pickup truck driver listened while driving on the San Diego highway.

"Do you have any advice to your friends, Rachel and Phoebe?" asked Thunder Bob.

The pickup truck driver looked in his rearview and his eyes widened in shock. The field of Cannonballers raced around him a second later.

"Uh, yeah." said Chandler. "When the fuel gauge is near 'E', please, by all means, stop for gas. Boy, did I learn that the hard way."

XXXXX

The Cannonballer tryouts raced down the highway.

Orange Julius gripped the steering wheel at "Ten" and "Four" and laughed as he cruised along.

Max Payne slouched down slightly as he raced down the highway.

Rachel raced along with her hair blowing in the breeze.

Finch bopped his head left and right to the music on the stereo while Jack leaned back and smoked a cigar.

Kramer leaned over the steering wheel while sawing it back and forth.

Nash laughed as he tore down the highway. Monk gripped the armrests while cringing.

XXXXX

Emilio and Larry raced down a back road.

"Just a few more hours." said Emilio as he worked with a video camera. "Then we can really show up those guys from Miami. Gonna get the Emilio treatment big time."

"Yeah, then we can claim bragging rights for the East Coast." said Larry. "Whatcha got there?"

"Making a video to show Keiko and Kareem how we did it." said Emilio. "Got something to say?"

"I really don't have anything to..." said Larry. Then Emilio turned the camera on him and he sang "Look at the stars./ Look how they shine for you./ In everything you do./ Yeah, they were all yellow."

"Very funny, vato." said Emilio.

"What?" asked Larry.

XXXXX

On the highway, Kramer tried to open his map while he was driving.

He laid the map across the steering wheel and checked for the best route.

He was greeted by the blast of a horn from a car he almost hit.

He turned around and yelled "Sorry!" He then turned back and noticed the trailer parked at the side of the road and realized he could no longer avoid it.

The Mantis 2 smashed into the back of the trailer and tore right through it.

After the car was back on the highway, Kramer peeled the map from his face and discovered the trailer's occupant, a little old lady, had landed in the passenger seat.

"Would you like to stay for dinner?" she asked. "I just made noodle soup."

XXXXX

Back in San Diego, Groove repeatedly tried to start the Ace.

"Maybe it's the humidity." said Taurus.

"Japan is humid." said Groove.

XXXXX

Two California Highway Patrol officers, Jon Baker and Frank "Ponch" Poncherello, cruised along a Los Angeles highway on their motorcycles.

"I heard the Cannonball's supposed to be starting up again soon." said Jon.

"I'm kinda glad they made it worldwide." said Ponch. "Means less trouble for us."

Just then, the Frenzy raced by them.

"Looks like someone's getting in some practice." said Ponch.

He and Jon turned on their lights and sirens and chased after the car.

Orange Julius looked in his rearview and yelled "Oh, Hell no!"

"Come on, lose him!" begged Slapjack.

"I can't! Look!" said Julius as he pointed to the traffic jam up ahead.

"Pull off. Pull off." said Slapjack.

Julius pulled to the side of the highway and stopped. Ponch and Jon stopped right behind them and got off their motorcycles.

"What now?" asked Slapjack.

"Relax." said Orange Julius. "I've got a brilliant plan. This always gets me out of tickets back in Miami."

Ponch and Jon walked up to the window and Julius lowered it.

"May I see your license?" asked Jon.

"(Forgive me, please! I do not speak English!)" said Orange Julius in Spanish.

"(Then this is your lucky day!)" said Ponch, also in Spanish.

Apparently disagreeing, Orange Julius slid down in his seat and pulled his beanie over his face. Slapjack just covered his eyes and shook his head.

XXXXX

Rachel and Phoebe cruised around the streets of Los Angeles in the Spyder.

"So, where does Joey live?" asked Phoebe.

"I'm looking." said Rachel.

Just then, a police car appeared behind them and turned on its lights and siren.

"What's the speed limit through here?" asked Phoebe.

"Thirty." said Rachel.

"How fast are you going?" asked Phoebe.

"Thirty-two." groaned Rachel as she pulled over.

After Rachel parked, the female police officer got out of the police car and walked over to the Spyder.

"Well, I don't suppose you have a license somewhere. Do you, leadfoot?" she asked.

"Hold on a sec." said Rachel.

"Hey, Rachel! Phebes!" yelled a muscular man with dark hair.

"Joey!" yelled Phoebe.

Joey walked over to the car.

"Hey, Joey." said Rachel. "How's it going?"

"Are you getting that license or not?" asked the cop.

"Okay, a couple questions." said Joey. "First of all, what did she do? Second of all, how you doin'?"

"I clocked this lady doing thirty-two in a thirty." said the cop. "Hey, wait, weren't you on 'Days Of Our Lives'?"

"Uh, yeah! I was." said Joey. "Joey Tribbiani, or as you might better know me, Dr. Drake Ramoray."

"No way!" said the cop. "I'm a huge fan."

"Oh, thanks!" said Joey. "What was your favorite scene?"

"Uh, can we go?" asked Rachel.

"Oh, sure." said the cop. "You were just two miles over."

"Catch you later, Joe." said Phoebe as Rachel drove off.

"So, you been a cop long?" asked Joey.

XXXXX

"Are you sure this is the right way?" asked Brian.

"Pretty sure." said Peter. "I've got this map which I'm using...oh, wait. This is a map telling you how to get to Disneyland. Your turn."

A pair of police lights appeared behind them. "Oh no." said Brian.

"Relax, we're good." said Peter as he pulled over.

While the police officer was getting out of his car, the Crank shook a little. By the time the officer got to the car, Peter and Brian had switched places and Brian was now behind the wheel.

"Go easy on him, officer." said Peter. "It's his first offense."

"Do you have a license?" asked the officer. Brian took off his collar and handed the officer his dog license.

XXXXX

Dennis drove the Renegade at high speed.

"Watch this guy, Dennis." said Jack. In front of them was the Strike.

"No problem." said Dennis as he turned and passed the Strike.

"Kim, he's passing us!" yelled Ron.

"Not for long." said Kim as she floored the accelerator.

"Jack, she's on our tail." said Dennis.

"It's taken care of." said Jack as he folded down the back seat and picked up a paintball gun. "Pop the trunk."

"We're taking back our position." said Kim.

"Why is his trunk opening?" asked Ron.

The Renegade's trunk opened and Jack leaned out with the paintball gun and started firing at the Strike's windshield.

"Hey, that's not the way to tint the windows!" snapped Ron after a few blue paintballs hit the windshield.

"That's what I call unsportsmanlike conduct!" said Kim. "Hold on, I've got a plan."

She turned on the windshield wipers and cleared off the windshield.

"That was your plan?" asked Ron.

"No, this is." said Kim. She flipped open the face of her watch and held her arm out the window. The sun shone through a lens and reflected off a mirror.

Dennis heard a small bang a second later. "Jack, what was that?" he asked. Jack climbed back into the car a second later with blue paint all over his face. "Okay, Papa Smurf, what did you do with Jack?" asked Dennis.

XXXXX

"(I am making a special sauce, so I know you'll be happy.)" said Kobe.

"(Very nice.)" said the Chairman. "(How is the meat coming?)"

"(I'm not sure.)" said Kobe. "(I'll have to check.)"

Kobe pulled over and released the hood. He climbed out and opened it, then checked the pan of ground beef on the intake manifold. He closed the hood and got back in.

"(A few more minutes.)" said Kobe.

"(Wonderful.)" said the Chairman.

XXXXX

The Wolfpack pulled into a truck stop to find the Snyper already there.

"Du-aye! Loog!" yelled Blane. (Translation:Duane! Look!)

"Yes!" said Duane. "We've got a chance to get a lead on these idiots."

They ran to the window and looked in. They saw the Hills picking up some food.

"Alright, we'll do this mean and nasty." said Duane. "We'll put them out of the race in such a way, they'll get the message not to mess."

While he was talking, Blane walked over to the Snyper, climbed in, and started reprogramming the ECU.

Duane looked away from his brother to keep an eye on Hank and Bobby.

Blane continued to work on the ECU while Duane kept watch.

Finally, Hank and Bobby stepped away from the counter and headed for the door.

"Blane, they're coming!" yelled Duane. Blane quickly got out of the Snyper.

The brothers ran and hid behind another car. Hank stepped out of the truck stop with a bag of lunch. Bobby followed with a slushie.

"You know what I like about slushies?" said Bobby as he followed his father behind a row of parked cars. "It's like liquid and solid are battling for your pleasure and they don't stop until they achieve mutual satisfaction."

The Codys stared in surprise as the Hills walked around a corner. A second later, two doors slammed and then the actual Snyper took off.

"Uh oh." said Blane.

"You should've checked the plates." said Duane.

Just then, a bald Hispanic man with a moustache stepped out of the truck stop with his own lunch. "See ya 'round, Hector!" said a voice from inside. "Come again!"

"You got it, hombre!" said Hector. He walked over to the car Blane sabotaged and got in. He then started it and drove it ten feet before it died and started generating smoke. "What the..?" yelled Hector. "Oh my God!"

Blane and Duane slowly returned to their car.

XXXXX

The radar detector in the Vapor started going crazy.

"Sam, the radar detector is going nuts." said Woody.

"Don't worry, Woods." said Sam. "I'll slow it down."

As Sam slowed down, Woody looked over his shoulder. "Sam, there's another car behind us." he said.

Sam looked in his rearview and saw the Shadow. "Oh yeah, it's that police inspector." he said. "Maybe we should warn him."

As Max caught up with Sam and Woody, Woody held his hand out the window and flagged him down.

"What's up?" asked Max as he pulled alongside.

"Speed trap!" yelled Woody.

"You're kidding!" yelled Max.

"No, I'm not!" yelled Woody. He held the radar detector out the window and said "See?"

Just then, the car hit a bump making the detector pop out of his hands. He tried to grab it, but it just fell to the roadway and was smashed.

"Sorry." he told a stunned Sam.

XXXXX

Will and Jack cruised along towards San Jose.

"No." said Will as he drove.

"Please?" asked Jack.

"No!" said Will.

"With sugar on top?" asked Jack.

"Jack, we're not stopping off in San Francisco to look for guys!" snapped Will.

"I can make your search quick." said a spooky voice.

"Jack, knock off the stupid voice." said Will.

"Wasn't me." said Jack.

"If you'd like to stop, I can help you." said the voice again.

"Jack, I mean it." said Will.

"It wasn't me, I swear." said Jack.

"It was me." said the voice again. Will followed it to...the dashboard.

"Jack?" said Will. "The car is talking."

"But is he saying anything?" said Jack. "No. Ignore him."

"I am the Knight Arsenel Rolling Robot." said the car.

"Oh, that's cute. It abbreviates to KARR." said Jack.

"And I don't appreciate your holding me prisoner." said KARR.

"Well, we've got aways to go, so you're just going to have to suffer." said Will.

"Do I?" asked KARR. "What if I suddenly took control?"

Will appeared unfazed, then swerved a little to show he was still in control.

"Okay, how about a laser?" asked KARR.

Will and Jack looked around in confusion. They saw no laser.

"Well, what about me microjamming the brakes of that truck?" asked KARR.

Will and Jack watched the truck. Its brakes didn't come on.

"Excuse me." said KARR. "I have to perform a diagnostic." KARR performed his diagnostic. "WHAT? My weapons have been disabled! My Auto Cruise has been disabled! My microjam has been disabled! Okay. Who painted me PINK?"

XXXXX

"After that, the fuel consumption rises by five percent." said John Doe to himself. "Factor in aerodynamics and I should be running out of gas..."

The engine sputtered and died as the fuel stopped flowing into it.

"...right about now." he said.

He coasted into a gas station and drifted over to a pump. He climbed out and started to pump his gas when the Bauers pulled in.

"Couldn't keep it going either, huh?" asked John as Jack climbed out of the car.

"No, we figured it was about time." said Jack. "We'll have to make one more stop after this. You think you're up to it?"

"More than up to it." said John. "After San Francisco, we've got quite a ways to go."

"I'll see you there." said Jack.

12:25:34...12:25:35...12:25:36

XXXXX

"As we speak, the Cannonballers are halfway through their journey." announced Thunder Bob. "Who's going to win? You tell me. Hello, you're on the line."

"Yeah, I tell you, man." said the caller quickly. "That there Hank Hill is something else and that Bobby is a ding dang cool customer, man."

"Whoa, slow down, padre!" said Thunder Bob. "I can barely understand you. What's your name, pal?"

"Name's Boomhauer from Arlen. That Hank Hill is a ding dang friend of mine and I know he's gonna win."

"Maybe he will, we'll see." said Thunder Bob. "We're going to wait to see if your friend makes it in time. Until then, here's a little Roxette."

Hello,
you fool.
I love you.
Come on, join the joyride.

I hit the road out of nowhere.
I had to jump in my car
and be a writer in a love game
following the stars.
Don't need no book of wisdom.
I get no money talk at all.

She has a train going downtown.
She's got a club on the moon.
And she's telling all her secrets
in a wonderful balloon.
Oh, she's the heart of the funfair.
She's got me whistling her private tune.

And it all begins where it ends.
And she's all mine, my magic friend.

She says "Hello,
you fool.
I love you.
C'mon, join the joyride.
Join the joyride."

She's a flower, I can paint her.
She's a child of the sun.
We're a part of this together.
Could never turn around and run.
Don't need no fortune teller
to know where my lucky love belongs.
Oh no.

Cause it all begins again where it ends.
And we're all magic friends.

She says "Hello,
you fool.
I love you.
C'mon, join the joyride.
Join the joyride."

Hello,
you fool.
I love you.
C'mon, join the joyride.
Be a joyrider.

I take you on a skyride,
a feeling like you're spellbound.
The sunshine is a lady
who rocks you like a baby.

She says "Hello,
you fool.
I love you.
C'mon, join the joyride.
Join the joyride.

Hello,
you fool.
I love you.
C'mon, join the joyride.
Be a joyrider.

-"Joyride" by Roxette

In San Francisco, a man in a plaid shirt and red beret and a red-haired woman stood in a parking lot. The man turned to the woman and said "So, Sharona, how do you know Mr. Monk?"

"I'm his nurse." said Sharona. "I'm basicly the one who keeps him sane. So, Harvey, how do you know Inspector Bridges?"

"Well, our working relationship starts back in the mid-nineties." said Harvey. "The SIU was looking for a good computer expert and I happened to play a mean game of 'Myst' among other things. Here they come."

Nash raced into the parking lot in the Vortex and parked next to Harvey and Sharona. As soon as the car stopped, Monk threw open the door and jumped out.

"Adrian!" gasped Sharona. "Oh my God, are you alright?"

"Get me away from this man." groaned Monk. "He drives like a maniac!"

"Who? Me?" said Nash as he climbed out of the car.

"Whatcha need?" asked Harvey.

"Run a check on the ECU." said Nash. "I just want to make sure the thing's running correctly."

"You got it, Nash." said Harvey.

Harvey opened the hood and hooked up his laptop. Nash walked over to Monk and Sharona.

"Every time we came towards the back of another vehicle, I thought 'It's over.'" groaned Monk.

"Jesus, Adrian." laughed Nash. "How the hell did you make detective if you can't handle a little car chase?"

"Little?" asked Harvey. "This thing has a black box similar to the one on the MacLaren F1. I checked it. Someone set an average speed of one hundred and thirty four miles per hour. Now, who could that be, bubba?"

"How does it check out, Harv?" asked Nash.

"Looks good, Nashman." said Harvey. "Ready to go?"

"I was born ready." said Nash. "Come on, Adrian."

"Do I have to?" groaned Monk.

"Yeah." said Nash. "Seattle awaits."