Part Three: New Orleans or Bust
We jump inside at the same time an Ah slide behind the wheel.
This is the moment they can stop me, now, before Ah get mah hands on the wheel, before
mah eyes fall to the ignition and find the keys are in it. Ah completely forget about the petrol
when Ah see they keys, it’s a shock. Ah’d been expectin to hot wire her, now aw Ah can
think ov is turnin they keys and sinking mah foot tae the flair. It seems thinkin and daen are
the same thing to me right now, because Ah’ve sunk the fucking boot without mah brain
gettin a look in. What a roar the baby has! She’s leapin for the exit like a tiger escapin back in
tae the wild.
“Get ready tae get the gate!” Ah tell Ami. She let out a wee shriek when Ah startit the
car, and as Ah gun the baby forward, she’s got wan hand out the door clutchin the roof in
surprise as Ah hadnae given her the chance tae shut it. We’re trailing the rope that wis
around the car behind us, the poles are draggin on the ground and making a fuckin hell ov a
din. Ah hear Ami shout over the engine noise.
“They left the fuckin keys in it?” She exclaims.
“Aye, now get the gate!” Ah yell, hittin the brakes so hard they squeal in protest. Ami
dives out ov the car and practically kicks that gate open. Security are runnin towards us, but
it’s too fuckin late fur them, Ami is back in the car, slamming her door shut and Ah’m sinkin
the boot again, takin the Porsche to freedom. We’re baith whoopin and cheerin like eejits and
the buzz is fuckin crazy. We roar out onto the road, tyres burnin, black smoke trailin behind
us. Suddenly the radio comes on by itsel, which is freaky, but we’re a bit preoccupied tae be
freaked. It’s blarin out the local rock station, Paradise City is playin. It feels so right we
dinnae turn it off, we turn it up, and we tear down the road headin for the Highway as fast as
she’ll take us. We need to get as far away frae the Museum as we can before the Polis come
chasin us. Fuck, we’re headin fur the county line just like in some hill billy rock anthem and
we’ve just done a very, very bad thing. Ah don’t give a fuck though, it feels so good! She’s
purring like a lion an eatin up the road like she’s been starved fur years. Ah realise that Ah
have no idea where exactly Ah’m going then, but she almost seems tae have plans ov her ain,
because mah hands and mah feet are working the gither like they know where we’re goin. Ah
see a sign for the Highway.
“Fire up the GPS on yer phone Ami and tak us to New Orleans,” Ah yell oer the music.
Ov course the music is so loud that ten minutes later we don’t hear the sirens until the polis
car is right beside us on the highway. Ami rolls down her window and gies them the finger
just as Ah sink the boot again tae get away frae them. God, she’s a flyin machine. We leave
the filth fur dead, weavin in and out ov the traffic that’s only gaun 50 cos this is the Land ov
“Take the next turn off,” Ami shouts at me, suddenly. Ah pull the wheel sharply since
Ah’m almost passed it already. The sign says Kentucky and the South above the road. The
polis doesn’t make the turn in time, his car is heavier than our baby.
“Fried Chicken fur tea the night,” Ami says, pointing at the sign and grinning.
“Fried vege burger fur me,” Ah quip back even though mah knuckles are white on the
steerin wheel. This shit is actually pretty fuckin scary even though neither ov us will admit it.
It’s no that long before there’s mair polis again, and this time there’s quite a few ov them.
We’ve got the whole ov Ohio tae cross before we pass intae Kentucky, so it’s a long haul tae
cross the state lines. We’re gaunnae have tae ditch the filth somehow. By this time the radio
is screamin out Been Caught Stealing by Jane’s Addiction and the DJ has telt us aw about the
raid on The Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. He also says it’s 90’s music day.
“We’re on the radio!” Ami is excited, so am Ah, but Ah’m also shit scared. The guy on the
radio is talkin about the polis getting the chopper out tae chase us. It’s gaunnae get intense.
“Dae ye think they’ll put us on wan a they Polis Chase programmes?”
“Nae doubt, not every day somebody steals a car like this baby is it?” Ah reply. The guy
on the radio startles us baith then.
“So ladies, if you’re out there listening to me while you’re screaming down the highway in
Janis Joplin’s psychedelic Porsche and you happen to have a cell phone on you, give me a call
so we can chat about it! I think everybody will be interested to hear why you’ve done it!”
“Aw, Keri, Ah have tae, Ah want tae, it’ll be so fuckin cool!” Ami says even as she is
typing the number the DJ is tellin us intae her phone. Aw what the fuck, we’re in this fuckin
“Go for it,” Ah tell her, switchin the radio off cos Ah mind that you’re supposed tae dae
that. It stays off while Ami starts to talk, so Ah think the Porsche wants the story telt. She
switches on the loudspeaker so Ah can hear. Some lady at the radio station picks up the
phone and answers it brightly.
“Hiya! I’m currently riding shotgun in Janis’s car, you asked us to phone you so we are!”
“I’ll put you through straight through to the studio!” the lady says, and a second later Ah
hear the DJ speakin.
“Hello there, we have one of the ladies currently driving down the freeway in Janis
Joplin’s stolen Porsche on the line! Good afternoon, give us your name and tell us why you’re
Ah love Ami, she’s mah best pal in the whole world and she keeps on provin tae me why.
She changes her voice completely and jibes back at him. She sounds like some wee doll frae
London and it’s perfect.
“Nice try there, I’m not giving you my name that easily, mate!”
“Aha, OK, you got me there. You’re English then, that’s a long way to come to steal a
car,” the DJ replies wi a nervous little laugh that has baith ov us grinin at each other.
“This is Janis’s car we’re talking about here. She’s a bit special,”
“She certainly is, don’t you think it would have been better if you had left her where
everyone can enjoy her?”
Ami actually splutters at that.
“Oh no, that’s not enjoying her. This, what we’re doing, is enjoying her, and this is what
she should be doing. She’s a car, she shouldn’t waste away her life sitting still in a museum!
She should be eatin up the roads and taking Janis’s spirit wif her!”
Ah’m so proud ov her, she gets me so well and she’s got this so well. Ah think the car gets
it too, cos suddenly she’s drivin like she’s got an extra burst ov speed in her that she didnae
“Well OK, but she could get damaged or break down out there on the road,” the DJ hedges
at her. Ah can tell he’s makin this up as he’s gaun along. He wants tae say aw the right and
proper things, but Ah jist know he really jist wants tae say well done ladies. He knows
instinctively how rock n roll this thing we are doing is, and he knows Janis would approve.
“We aren’t going to let anythink bad ‘appen to her, so long as your pigs don’t screw around
too much she’ll be fine,”
“That almost sounds like a threat,” the DJ seizes on that, but Ami is ready for him.
“Nah, nah, nah, Mate. Not at all. I just want your pigs to back off in case they ‘urt ‘er.
We’re doing all of this in honour of Janis!”
“That car is worth an awful lot of money though,”
“Hah. Oh Lord won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz as a great lady once sang. Money
isn’t everythink, brother,”
That makes me choke on ma ain laughter, she’s killin me with this, it’s jist too funny and
crazy, especially wi that fake Cockney thing she’s got goin on.
“Alright, but what is it you actually want to do with her?”
We drive stupit fast past a big ol truck, and the Truck Driver starts honking his horn and
wavin’ at us. The polis are close behind, but the trucker moves to get in their way. Ah can
hear the radio blarin out ov the trucks cab, can hear an echo ov Ami’s voice comin from it
when she answers that question.
“I’m not goin to tell you exactly, but this baby wants to drive, so we’re goin to do what she
wants! We’ll go where she takes us, and where Janis’s spirit guides us. This is rock and roll!”
The last phrase is something between a shout and a cheer and she’s wavin furiously back at
the trucker an smilin. The polis are droppin away, we’re gainin some ground on them thanks
to that trucker. Ma buzz goes straight back up intae top gear. Other cars aroon us hav the
windaes wound down and the radio blarin tae. They aw wave as we gaun past. Ah blast the
horn at them, Ami waves wildly and the DJ on the radio makes a startled noise at the sound
ov the horn.
“Woah there! Getting excitable ladies?” he blurts.
“Just fanking the lovely people ‘ere on the freeway who are listenink to your show and
showin us some support!”
“Have you ladies seen Thelma and Louise? Do you remember how it ended?” He kind ov
sounds a wee bit exasperated now.
“Fuck off wi yer Thelma and Louise shite,” Ah mutter under mah breath. Ami has the
presence ov mind no tae swear.
“I’ve seen it yes, and it’s a great film, but that’s not goin to ‘appen to us, mate. No
attempted rape, no murder, no robbery an’ definitely no goin off a cliff at the end!”
“And you’re not worried about being caught?”
“‘Ey you lovely people on the freeway with us, ‘onk yer car ‘orns if you don’t want us to be
caught!!” Ami practically yells intae the phone. By way ov an answer, the freeway gauns mad
aroun us wi honkin car horns. It is very gratifyin.
“Listen to that! I’m willing to bet there’s plenty of people out there who want to ‘elp us.
We don’t want to ‘urt anyone, we don’t want to do any ‘arm, we just want give this beautiful
car and that amazin lady a proper, rock and roll tribute! One last tear up the ‘ighways, one last
blast in the name of freedom,” Haha, Ami’s gettin aw carried away noo. Ah fuckin’ love it,
and so do oor fellow drivers, the car horns keep on blastin, people wind down their windows
and lean out hollerin, and they all wave us by so Ah can charge down the freeway way past
the speed limit and get well, well awa frae the polis.
Look out for Part four of Pearls on the Road next week.