The Way to a Girl’s Heart
Alban raced down old Rout 29 with the “peddle to the metal.” The 307 cubic inch engine of his green 1969 Chevelle was at its maximum RPM but not really screaming, just making a dull roar. Looking at the speedometer Alban read 104 miles per hour. Not satisfied with only 104 he pressed harder on the accelerators peddle but the Chevelle was topped out at 104.
Alban could feel the front end of the car floating as he released his foot pressure on the accelerator to gradually coast to 30 miles per hour. He had learned from past wild rides not to slam on the brakes because of a lane changing pull to the right.
Finding an intersection Alban used the extra space to whip the car around to face where he came from to attempt another pass down the road at full speed.
Before the second speed test, Alban pulled his car to the side of the road to tinker with his engine. He hoped to gain another couple horse power out his sorry excuse of a V-eight engine. First Alban removed the air cleaner placing it in the cars back seat. Next he took a 9/16 inch wrench out of his back pocket to loosen the bolt holding the distributer in place to advance the timing a few degrees. Not knowing any better Alban adjusted the high speed idle screw a ½ a turn. Not being able to think of anything else Alban stepped back to look at his handy work before he slammed down the car’s hood.
While looking over his shoulder at the empty black top Alban noticed a sweet pungent order. He thought to himself, “Something smells like antifreeze.” Sure enough under the car was a puddle of the orange liquid dripping from the cars over flow hose. “Dang,” Alban said aloud. “She looks like she’s overheating. I better not make another run today.”
Sliding in behind the wheel Alban pushed the floor shifter lever up and to the left into first gear to the then looked over his left shoulder for traffic. Satisfied no cars were present, Alban gingerly pulled away from the side of the road.
Alban driving at the posted speed limit of 55 miles an hour noticed something written on the road with white spray paint. Curious, he slowed down, pulled to the side of the road, stuck his head out of the window and read, “Fogg’s a Chicken”. Alban thought, “What’s that about?”
Alban drove the 4 miles from his self imposed test track back to his home neighborhood. Instead of going home he pulled into his best friends Von’s drive way.
After knocking on the front door Von came outside. They both sat down on lawn chairs on Von’s front poach.
Von asked, “What going on?” Alban replied, “Not much. I took my car out for a test run to see if placing the 4 barrel on it made a difference over the 2 barrel carb it had before.” “Well” said Von? Alban said, “It made a 9 mile per hour difference.” Von made no reply.
Alban said, “I saw something interesting spray painted on the road.” “What’s that” Von asked? “It said Fogg’s a chicken.” replied Alban. Alban now had Von’s full attention. Von said, “Really! That’s interesting. You know what that’s about don’t you?” “No,” Alban said. Von said, “Greg Lewis with his 69 427 Nova challenged Mark Fogg to a race the other day and Fogg turned him down.” Alban said, “I don’t blame him. Lewis’ 427 looks fast and doesn’t Fogg only have a 350 in his car?” Von said, "I heard Fogg has a 302 out of a Z-28 Camarro.” Whatever it is, the motor really winds. I saw him get on it the other day and he really rapped it out to a least 7 grand. Alban replied, “7000 RPM’s. I can’t even get 5000 out of my old heap. Mmm, so that’s why that was written out on Old 29?”
Von said, “Didn’t you know that they were having street races out there now? Lewis with several of his buddies are racing out there for money. Alban said, “I wonder how much Lewis wanted to race Fogg for?” Von said, “No telling with Lewis, most likely $50 or more.”
Von said, “I would like to go see the races but they have been keeping them a secret. Alban replied, “We just need to wait to see when Lewis leaves his house with slicks on his Nova.” Von said, “That would be a sure sign.”
Alban and Von both looked across the street to where Greg Lewis lived. The garage door was opened reveling Greg Lewis’s white Nova setting in the garage wearing street tires.
“Did you see on the news where Israeli commandos went in and freed the passengers and crew of that hijacked French airliner at Entebbe Uganda,” Alban asked? “No,” Von replied, “what’s that about?” “Alban said, “Well, there were a bunch of people being held hostage in Uganda, which I think is in Africa. Most of them were Israeli citizens.” Alban stopped talking as both he and Von herd a muffled rumble of a loping engine coming near them. Both saw at the same time Mark Fogg’s blue 1972 Nova. Alban and Von watched Mark turn his car, into Greg’s driveway. Von said, “I bet Fogg is mad.” Alban said, “You bet he is, let’s go over and see what happens.” “Sure,” Von replied.
Setting in his car, Greg revved his engine three times before turning it off. Greg got out of the car looking at Mark's front door. As Alban and Von arrive they noticed that Greg had turned to look at the door in the garage that led to the Mark's house to see Mark walk into the garage.
Mark walked through the garage to stop on the edge of where the driveway started and placed both hands above his head on the bottom of the open garage door. Mark sneered, “What are you doing here Fogg?” Before Mark could say another word Greg said forcefully, “Who do you think you are Lewis writing that nonsense on the road about me?” Mark replied, if the shoe fits wear it.” Greg said, “I’m not chicken to race you, I’ll race that piece of junk of yours any day.” Mark said, “Really? That’s funny that’s not what you said last weekend. Let me think, oh yea, I believe you said my Carbs aren’t balanced, yea, that’s what you said.” Greg Lewis said with exasperation in his voice, “Well they were…you think I was born yesterday, I won’t race you if I know I can’t win.” Mark said. “That’s right, you can’t win.” Greg said, “Woo, nice burn, did your mamma teach you that?” Mark just smiled back in response.
Greg said, “I bought a vacuum gage and set my Carbs. I’m going to show you how lame your car really is. You might be able to put a big block in that piece of junk of yours but that don’t make it fast”
Mark said, “Is that so? Why don’t you put your money where your mouth is?" Greg paused and said, “OK, I’ll race you any time any amount. Mark stared for over a minute then said, “All right big boy a 100 bucks, tonight on Old Rout 29 at 11:00. Greg swallowed and said, I’ll be there and you better be.”
Greg got in his car and slammed the door shut. Without looking where he was going he backed his car out the drive way on to the street. Staring at Mark, Greg floored his car making it spin the tires leaving a 30 foot smoking twin patch of rubber on the road.
Alban looked at Mark and said, “Fogg looks fast. Your think you can beat him?” Mark said, “No problem. There is no way Fogg can ever get as many ponies out of a small block as the 427 I put in my car. Besides he’s only running 70’s series tires on his car. He’ll never get his tires to hook up on Old 29 before I have wiped his butt off the line. Even if he does, I could still take him in the top end. Fogg thinks he is all that, but he ain’t. He’s just rich farm boy that talks a good game that don’t know his way around an engine.”
Mark’s Mom walked into the garage and said, “Mark, how many times do I have to tell you that I don’t want you and your friends horsing around with your cars like that. The neighbors already hate us. Say goodbye to your friends and come in to eat dinner.” Mark whispered, “I better go. Say guys, don’t tell anyone about tonight. I don’t want a hundred cars there watching. That will surly bring the cops and I can’t afford another pinch for racing. Alban said, “We won’t tell anyone.”
Both Alban and Von left Mark’s house to have dinner with their families. Soon after dinner Alban walked to Von’s house. Alban knocked on the door, stepped in the house to then be let into Von’s room. Alban said, “You want to go to the race tonight?” Von turned down his stereo music and said, “What?” Alban said, “You want to go see Lewis and Fogg race tonight?” Von said, “No, not really. I have to open at work tomorrow morning and I don’t want to be out that late.” Alban said, “Just as well, I really don’t want to myself. I really don’t like Lewis’ friends. They are a bunch of jerks. Besides, knowing my luck the cops will show up and I’d get arrested. I’ll never get a teaching certificate if I get arrested. “Von said, “Exactly! What do you want to do?” Alban said, “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” Von said, “I’ve got an idea.”
Von put on his shoes and led Alban out of the house to the front drive way. Von unlocked the door to his 1968 dark blue Chevelle convertible. Von sled in to the black bucket seat to lean over and unlock the passenger’s door for Alban. Alban settled in the car and immediately noticed Von had stuck a beer bottle top on every knob of the car’s dash board. Pointing at a bottle top Alban said, “Nice, you going for the the early hillbilly look?” Von ignored Alban as he started his car to then put down the convertible top. To help, Alban unlocked his side of the top and rolled down his side of the car’s front and back windows. Alban said, “What are we going to do?” Von said, “Wait and you‘ll see.”
Von drove at a normal pace to the neighborhood Convenient store. Still not saying a word, Von went in the store with Alban to purchase 2 cans of red spray paint along with a can of transmission fluid.
Back in the car Alban asked. “Are you going to challenge someone to a race? “ Von just shook his head no and laughed.
After pulling out of the store’s parking lot the blue Chevelle cruised through a neighborhood up a hill out of the valley in the direction of the local make out spot. Driving near the scenic look out Alban said, “I don’t know what you have in mind but I’m not into that.” Von smiled and said, “Very funny.”
Without slowing down Von drove past the famous make out spot to drive a mile down the street to a county black top road. He pulled down the road to drive another mile to stop at a secluded spot in the road that was hemmed in by trees on both sides.
Looking both ways Von said, “You see any cars coming?” “No,” Alban said. Von double checked before he jumped out of his car with a can of spray paint.
Alban still not knowing what was going on got out of the car to follow Von. Von went to the middle of the road and painted a heart the size of the double lane road. Satisfied with his handy work Von wrote RS + JS in the heart to then finish with an arrow through the heart at a 30 degree angle.
Both Von and Alban stepped back to see how Von’s art work looked. Alban said, “WWEEE, Von how romantic. This is the road to Julies’ house. You know she will see it on the way home.” Von replied, “That’s the plan.” Alban scratched his head and said, “I think you are supposed to put the girls name on the top not the bottom. I think the way you did it means she likes you but you don’t like her.” Von thought a moment then said, “Oh Well, I can’t fix that now. And now for the icing on the cake...”
Von ran towards his waiting car prompting Alban to do the same. When both boys were in the car Von drove his car to just above the heart he had painted on the road. With the car idling Von got out of the car to punch 2 holes in a can of transmission fluid with a beer can opener. Going to the back tire on the driver’s side Von pored half the can of fluid on the road in front of the tire to then run to the other side to do the same to the other tire. Von finished by throwing the empty can in the weeds along the side of the road to finally run back to his car.
Alban said, “What the heck are you doing?” Von said, “Wait! Watch this!” Von floored the accelerator making the engine roar. At first the car did nothing but set still on the road with the tires spinning. Gradually, the car moved slowly as the rear tires exploded in smoke. Going at a snail’s pace with the rear tires spinning a 100 miles per hour the car first fished tailed to the left then to the right. After his car went 200 feet down the road Von released pressure on the gas pedal to bring the spinning tires to a halt.
Both Alban and Von looked over their shoulder to see a cloud of smoke dissipating over twin S shaped tire marks on the road.
Alban said, “Nothing says I love you like laying rubber.”
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