This is our beater. It has no brakes.
As Ron says, "But who needs brakes?"
That is to say, the beater has about 33% of what I suppose it's braking capacity must have been in 1977, the year of its birth. It conked out a number of years ago, and was only recently resuscitated last year, I believe, by one of my coworkers on a rainy day. Since then, it's mission has been to cause general havoc and mayhem. For example, after distribution on Tuesday, Anne gave me a ride to the bottom of the grassy slope which passes for my driveway up to my quarters. We park there for a second, finishing our conversation, when all of a sudden a yell which sounds like "Nuuuuhhh Braaaaaaa!" and a wooshing sound of grass. We look at each other. The yell wafts through the gentle breeze again, this time clearer: "No brakes!" I have never seen any one start an ignition as quickly as Anne did. Our car bumped forward at the same moment Ron came whizzing down the hill and took a hairpin scream to the right, back onto the driveway--narrowly missing us. He had, as we are often want to do around here, been rolling down in neutral, hence the peaceful woosh of grass rather than the more distinctive--and properly ominous--sound of an engine. Brakes or no brakes, I'll be flattened one of these days by these silent trucks of damnation.
It's like riding a rollercoaster without the pleasure of knowing the thing complies to safety regulations. That is to say, a lot of fun.
Take today: I had to do some weed-wacking down at Polly's. I've driven it a number of times now; I've got it stuck in the wet grass up at my quarters once, but other than that, all's well. I know how to ease up on first gear so that she slows enough to nose to a halt beside the barn. So far, so good. On my way back, however, I decide to park it up by our upper barn, on the machine pad, which means driving up a bit of a steep embankment. Well, I didn't have enough momentum, quite, and so she starts rolling backwards and I completely loose both my mind and any skill I may have had. Foot petrified on the clutch, I rip backwards down the drive, crunch over the gravel mound and manage to miss my coworkers new truck on one side of the road and the greenhouse on the other by jerking the steering wheel around the way little kids mime driving. She picks up speed, and I realize that directly in my path of destruction stands a) the office and b) the telephone pole--they're about 10 feet away by this point. So I crank the wheel again and the sheer momentum pushes me halfway up the opposing hill and I sort of rock to a stop at the bottom.
I sat there a moment, waited for the adrenaline to drain away, turned the key, and nosed back to the barn, grateful that no one in the office had been watching.