LOS ANGELES — Increases in incidents of road rage are transforming motorists into road warriors, so claims a local company with plans to fuel the trend by offering the first weaponized automobiles available for consumers.
Representatives from Rocket & Gamble, a corporation mostly known for its Radical augmented eyewear, announced at November’s LA Auto Show that it will soon enter the American market with Mayhem, a 500-horsepower ‘assault-style’ vehicle designed to dominate street battles with competing cars.
The military-grade version of a Chevy Impala will be armed with Gatling guns, Hellfire missiles and flame throwers to help drivers intimidate – and annihilate – annoying motorists they encounter on the freeway.
Ari Winkler, Rocket and Gamble’s chief auto engineer and a native Angeleno, said during an interview at his Encino home that there were two factors that inspired him to create Mayhem. Among these, Winkler cited his strong desire to ensure his son’s safety, and also their bonding over Grand Theft Auto, a popular violent video game.
“For years, people have been driving like maniacs through our neighborhood,” said Winkler, pointing at the passing cars flying by his living room window. “I guess they’re in a rush to avoid the gridlock that meets them at every turn, especially along the major boulevards adjacent to our home. Still, I used to often wonder, is getting to a destination on time really worth risking other people’s lives?”
“I know what you’re thinking,” said Winkler, reflecting on his comments with a twisted grin. “I used to be such a bleeding heart, believing it was possible for citizens to work together for a common goal, like public safety. That was before the 2016 election. I, like you and everyone else, was so damn naïve.”
To combat the speeding lifestyle rampant in his community, Winkler posted a sign in his front yard warning drivers to slow down, but it didn’t work. Traffic, over time, only became more congested and dangerous on his street as instances of road rage and fatal accidents surged across Los Angeles County.
“Eventually, we discouraged Tommy from playing outside,” said Winkler. “Imagine telling a boy he can’t toss around a baseball in the front yard out of fear that it might roll into the street and he get smashed by a distracted jerk hauling ass in a Tahoe while texting his girlfriend a heart-shaped emoji?”
At first, life in the great indoors was a difficult adjustment for the Winklers, but that changed after father and son together discovered the joys of advanced entertainment technology.
“Naturally, after becoming hermits, Tommy and I turned to video games for consolation,” said Winkler. “After all, what else are a dad and his boy cramped side by side all weekend supposed to do, except virtually destroy each other?”
After playing hours of Grand Theft Auto as they were trapped inside their home, Winkler said he finally put two ideas together.
“I started to imagine becoming that maniac driver I so despised … I longed to rampage through LA in a Mad Max-style vehicle until I reach escape under the moon and stars, far from this smoggy, crowded, city life,” said the auto engineer, who began pitching ideas for Mayhem at office meetings in the mid-2010s.
Unfortunately for Winkler, Rocket & Gamble’s board of directors at that time was not convinced that his concept car, intended to wreak havoc on roadways, was a safe bet for a company hoping to enter the auto market.
“For a while, staff used to stared at me strangely during company team-building exercises, and many of them failed to understand my enthusiasm for assault-style cars,” said Winkler, as he reminisced about that period in his career. “They teased me behind my back, and avoided me in the halls. It used to worry me, but now I know … they were just a bunch of pussies. Their thoughts didn’t matter at all.”
Fortunately for Winkler, Rocket & Gamble’s conservative approach to its business dealings shifted dramatically during the Trump administration, said Rachel Hashimoto, chief executive officer, during a conference call.
“I remember how the idea of Mayhem started to take off during our brainstorming sessions,” said Hashimoto. “Here we had this no-nonsense President slashing taxes and making billions for corporations, all while being embroiled in one affair, scandal, and allegation of corruption after another — and getting away with it! The President was even impeached by his political rivals and proven not-guilty by a party of his peers! He didn’t seem to mind breaking a few rules or acting a bit boorish. He even seemed to enjoy spurring his base, driving a wedge in the country, and shaming his opponents. I’ve got to say, the board and I … we kinda loved it.”
Hashimoto, recalling those early years of the company, discussed the day that the board decided to put Winkler’s ideas into action.
“The President was just the headstrong leader we needed, providing ourselves and our nation a role model alongside a crash course in a new reality that tested daily the bounds of believability. In an unprecedented age in which tribal loyalties supersede honesty, integrity, the rule of law, or even common sense, we knew that the moment had come to pave a different path for our future.
“Our designs for assault-style vehicles was just the game changer Rocket and Gamble needed to help our fellow Americans navigate a rough and divided country that no longer made sense.
“Once we decided to launch Mayhem, we never looked back.”
Maria Lopez, Feb. 11, 2020