MGM was trying to get another film wrapped up. They were running behind and needed car sounds quickly. “James, I need you to go out to the desert with Bill and Arnold. Just do whatever they need,” Tony said.
The three of us walked down to the parking lot, where a brand new 5.0 Mustang GT awaited us. Bill flipped me the keys. “I hate driving,” he said. While I drove, Bill and Arnold planned what we needed: skids, burnouts, revving engines, squealing brakes. “We need all of the cop cars. We need a lot of coverage,” Bill said.
I drove and drove until nothing remained but dirt and yucca trees. I parked on the road’s shoulder. “How’s this?” I asked.
Bill and Arnold held an ad hoc meeting of The Important Recording Guys. “We need to keep going. The dirt is packed too tight here to slide around,” Bill said. I stabbed the throttle. The V-8 growled and Bill and Arnold slapped against the passenger side of the car while I spun three tight donuts. The Mustang idled in the middle of my manufactured dust devil.
“Yeah, this is an okay spot,” Bill said.
I spent the rest of the day beating the shit out of the Mustang while Bill and Arnold recorded. If you pay attention to the squealing, revving police cars in Thelma and Louise you’ll hear my contribution to cinematic history.
That Saturday afternoon I was slouched on the couch watching television when Jody opened the bedroom door. “Come here,” she said. I walked to her. She kissed me, then pulled me onto the bed. The moment was confusing, elating, exciting — as if the past month had never happened. She was here again, connected, kind. All of the hostility and sadness were gone. I hadn’t felt so happy in months. My head was spinning. When it was over she said, “This was a mistake,” and then she left while I laid there in the middle of a manufactured dust devil.