Acknowledgements: Buffy the Vampire Slayer was created by Joss Whedon. Top Gear is a production of the BBC. Jeremy Clarkson belongs to Jeremy Clarkson.
Slayer in a Reasonably-Priced Car
Jeremy Clarkson looked around at the crowd assembled in the Top Gear hanger, and rubbed his hands together. "Now it's time to put our Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car!" he told the audience. "Until a short time ago, she was a legend, only spoken about in the shadows by creatures who haunted the darkness, but it is time to bring her out into the light! Let's have a nice round of applause for Buffy Summers! The Slayer!"
The crowd burst into applause as the petite blonde girl made her way out onto the platform, looking a bit embarrassed by all the attention being given to her. She smiled and waved at the audience, receiving cheers and applause in return. She smoothed out her skirt as she sat nervously on the bench seat, across from Clarkson.
"So," he said, "it isn't often that we have someone on the show who's shorter than Richard Hammond."
"Hey!" said Buffy. "No dissing the height!"
Clarkson held up his hands in surrender. "Sorry! No disrespect to you! You are an amazing young woman!"
She glared at him. "No sucking up, either."
"Right!" said Clarkson, "So no insults to the Hamster, or excessive compliments to you…" He looked at her glaring eyes. "So…The Stig tells me that you are the most insane driver that he has ever coached. Where did you learn to drive?"
"Sunnydale, California," said Buffy. "I did Driver's Ed there, a few times, with the videos of the car crashes, and the blood, and everything, and then when they finally let me take the driving test, I think the examiner only passed me because he didn't want to risk having to do it again."
"What cars have you owned?" asked Clarkson.
"None, really," said Buffy. "There was a Jeep Cherokee that I inherited after my mother died…but I've never bought a car for myself."
Clarkson wasn't known as a sympathetic man, but he could see that this memory was causing his guest pain. It was time to draw her back to their main topic: "The Stig tells me that, despite the insanity, you are the best student he's ever had."
"Now you're pushing the flattery again."
"No, he really said that!" said Clarkson. "You might have been a crazy driver, but you learned faster than any student he's had. You never made the same mistake twice, and once he showed you how to do something properly, you did it properly every time after that."
"So, now he's the one laying on the flattery. You know that he's not human, right?" asked Buffy.
"Not human?" asked Clarkson. "I know we make a lot of jokes…"
Buffy shook her head. "He's a demon. There's a reason he never takes that helmet off."
"But you didn't slay…"
"Of course not!" said Buffy. "A lot of demons are really quite harmless. Stig isn't a threat to anything, other than cars. He's just a speed demon."
Buffy batted her eye lashes. "Maybe I am…or maybe I'm not."
"So, you've never really owned a car, and you don't have much experience driving."
"Not with four wheeled vehicles, but I lived in Rome for a year, and spent a lot of time on a scooter. Italian drivers are worse than I am."
"Oh, I agree," said Jeremy, "but you haven't experienced true fear until you try circling the Arc de Triomphe in a quarter-million pound super-car, at rush hour."
"Can't be worse than staring at a quarter-million uber-vamps, while hoping that your best friend can get her mojo together fast enough that you won't have to fight them all on your own."
"How very true!" said Clarkson. "But now, I think it's time to get to your lap."
"Do we have to?" asked Buffy.
"I'm afraid we do, but first, who wants to see one of her practice laps?"
The crowd applauded, while Buffy shook her head. "Do we have to show this?" she asked.
"Yes, we do!" said Clarkson.
Buffy hid her face in her hands. "This is so embarrassing."
"Here we go… coming into Hammerhead…and…" The audience gasped as the car spun out of control, skidded sideways off the track, into the grass, and flipped, before coming to rest, slowly spinning on its roof. The video shifted to Buffy, upside down in the car, with what she was saying bleeped, and her mouth pixelated to protect those who could read lips.
"You broke our Chevrolet Lacetti!" said Clarkson.
"I'm sorry!" said Buffy. "I didn't mean to. That was the first time I'd ever driven a car that had the stick shift on the left!"
"Stig said that he had to teach you how to shift gears!"
"Okay, I'd never driven with a stick shift on the right either. It wasn't my fault!"
"Fortunately, we had a backup," said Clarkson. "We still have our Suzuki Liana, from our earlier series, and after a bit more practice, this is how it went:"
The video on the screen showed the Liana at the staring line. It started to move. "A little wheel spin at the start, accelerating well down the straight, into the first corner…" said Clarkson. The video shifted to Buffy, in her crash helmet, swearing as she shifted gears, before coming back to show the car speeding around the corner. "…following the Stig's line perfectly…into Chicago now, a little…" the video showed the car in a four wheel skid. "…no a lot of under-steer, but holding the line, accelerating again toward Hammerhead…braking at the last possible instant…A lot of people have trouble here, trying to take this corner too fast—oh, that is quick—but you keep it under control this time! Accelerating hard into the follow through…not letting up for an instant…past the tires…look at that camera shake! Coming up on the penultimate corner…braking hard…was that a Scandinavian Flick? You're drifting a bit wide, onto the grass a bit, but recovering nicely…coming into Gambon…here's where a lot of our drivers have backed off the power, but you're still pressing, cutting the inside of the corner, and skidding wide! Can she hold it? Yes! She's straightened it out nicely, and she's across the line!"
Jeremy looked at Buffy Summers. "So how do you think you did?"
"I think I did pretty well," said Buffy. "I hope I beat that guy from 'American Idol'."
Clarkson looked up at the board showing celebrity lap times. "Simon has one of our best times, at 1:47.1 in the Liana. Well, let's see, you did your lap in one minute…which puts you well ahead of Harry Enfield…forty…that's very good…" He looked down at the placard that he was writing her time on, and then back up at the board. "You know what? We've got the wrong board here! Let's get rid of this one, and bring in our F1 leaders' board!"
The audience gasped as a couple of stage hands came in to take the celebrity times board away, and two more carried in the board showing the times posted by professional racing drivers.
"Buffy Summers! You did your lap in one minute, forty-four, point three seconds!" shouted Jeremy Clarkson, slapping her placard into place at the top of the board. "You beat the Stig by a tenth of a second! You are the fastest person ever around our track in a Reasonably-Priced Car!"