Hey Folks, this one is kind of twisty. It's more of a character study than a fable. There are no sterling examples of humanity here, only several very flawed people who make the best of a bad situation. The only thing about this story that is a Sterling example of anything would be the job that Barney-R did in editing it. But I think it's a good story for a cold winter afternoon. SS06
Life really is funny. Right now, everything is just perfect. I never imagined it would be this way. I mean technically, I should be miserable.
I should be depressed and living in a dark, musty basement apartment, eating tuna and drinking store brand or no-name beer.
I should be spending my non-working hours surfing for more and more outrageous Internet porn. My liver should be just about cooked, and I should be contemplating different methods of suicide to end my misery.
However, I'm not. I'm not heartbroken. I'm not miserable. I'm not depressed ... shit I'm not even sad.
In fact, I'm so happy I feel like I'm swinging on a star. You know like the old Sinatra chestnut. I feel like I'm doing it all. I'm swinging on a star. Carrying moonbeams home in a jar and all of that crap.
I'm driving a car, a Mustang Shelby GT 350R, that I shouldn't own. At least, I wouldn't if things hadn't gone my way. One of the things I had to do was to lose a hundred and forty pounds of useless fat.
Even as I begin the thought, my right foot lifts and the beast growls in protest as less fuel is delivered to its hungry motor. Out of the corner of my eye, I spot the cruiser. I laugh as I realize what it is. I've never really seen one of these turds ... I mean cars.
What galls me is that some local police department has actually wasted its money on one. Without flashing its lights the car takes off after me. I slow down even further while trying to see if the lumbering elephant-like vehicle is coming after me.
So what happens when you take one of the heaviest, least aerodynamic muscle cars on earth and add an even heavier and bigger motor with almost twice the horsepower?
Almost nothing. There are videos all over the Internet of all kinds of cars smoking the aptly named Challenger Hellcats. And someone had the balls to make one into a police cruiser. It pulls up next to me. I pull over to the side of the road to see what he wants; he did not catch me speeding.
As he exits the car, I notice that he ... is a she. I see long inky black hair, tied up in a bun. The mirrored sunglasses come down revealing crystal blue eyes. She saunters over to my car without any sign of a ticket book. I lower the window.
"Why'd ya stop?" she asked. The honey-like voice makes me think of magnolias and tall, cool glasses of iced tea.
"That's what you do when you're pulled over by a cop," I said, lowering my own sunglasses.
"I didn't pull you over," she smirked. "I wuz jest checkin' ya out. Whut is that?"
"It's a Mustang," I said, proudly.
"Where's the back seat?" she asked. "Where's the radio?"
"It doesn't have any of those things," I said. "No air conditioning either. There is no extra weigh on it. The only things on the car are the required safety features. Other than that everything that doesn't make the car go faster is gone."
"How much horsepower," she gushed.
"Six hundred and sixty," I said.
"Wanna race," she asked. I laughed.
"One ... You're a cop," I said. "Two ... I don't do street racing. It's illegal and unsafe." Okay I was lying about that part because she was a friggin' cop. "And three ... that turd you're driving wouldn't stand a chance."
She laughed herself. "They have to pay me to drive this thing," she said. "It's like driving a bus with racing strips. My car, on the other hand, is a beautiful, sleek Camaro SS." The smile on her face and the accompanying smirk told me everything I needed to know.
If I wasn't so busy, I would have loved the ensuing chaos. Unfortunately, I had other things on my mind.
"Rain check," I said? She looked at me, and the smirk faded. It was replaced with a look of concern that touched me.
"You look like you're driving to your own execution," she said.
"Something like that," I said. "On the other hand, this might be the best day of my life. Ninety minutes from now I'll either be totally miserable or elated beyond my wildest dreams. Tell you what ... when we race, if you win, I'll tell you the whole story."
"What happens if you win," she asked.
"Then we have dinner at a nice restaurant of my choosing," I said.
"How nice a restaurant," she asked.
"The dress up type," I said.
"Shit, that sounds awesome," she smiled. "I might have to let you win."
I laughed then. "Won't happen and we both know it," I said. "Neither one of us is that type of person."
She nodded. "See ya later," she said. "And I'll be in a real car, so expect ta get your ass kicked."
I just laughed. And thought about how much I loved being single and free. It really didn't start out that way. Barely a year ago, the beginning of 2015, I was trying to figure out how to tell my wife, that I wanted to pull the money out of my 401k for the down payment on a Shelby GT 350 R. It went even further. I also wanted to keep the 2012 Mustang GT that I was driving then instead of using it as a trade in. And finally I wanted to take out a home-equity loan to add onto or rebuild our garage.
It all made perfect sense to me, but I was sure she was going to tell me that I was out of my fucking mind. I could hear her already. "Your 401k money is for OUR retirement," she would say. "We live in fucking Michigan, Ted. Why do we need TWO cars that you can only drive for half of the year? What are you going to do, drive one from May until the middle of July and the other from mid July until October? Or will you drive both of them for the entire summer? One on weekdays and the other will be your weekend car.
Yep, Elaine was going to think I was nuts; especially when she found out that I would probably be paying for the GT 350R for the next six years. She would really flip out when she found out that it didn't have a radio or air conditioning or a back seat. I had decided to wait until after the party to tell her.
The party was a big event for our circle of friends. It was, of course, the way we all got together to watch the super bowl. The game featured the New England Patriots, fresh from "deflate gate," and another team of cheaters, the team whose over use of ADHD drugs had earned them the nickname, "the Sea-Aderol Sea Hawks."
We all had heavy bets on the game as usual. Every year at the end of the party, we threw everyone's name into a bucket and the person who hosted the party pulled one out. The lucky person, whose name was pulled, hosted the party the next year.
This year the party was being held by my next-door neighbor Mickey and his wife Samantha. Most of the couples in our circle were bringing some sort of food item or other party need. We all looked forward to the party each year. We all got together frequently through the year, but our Super Bowl parties were legendary and open only to a small group of about six couples.
Most of us grew up in our small Michigan city, or married someone who did. This was a big event for Mickey. Let's just say that Mickey was kind of the low man on the totem pole of our group.
Most of the guys made fun of Mickey because he was the least athletic and least successful one of us. Okay, I may as well admit it. Mickey is, first of all, a really big nerd. And secondly he's a REALLY BIG nerd. Mickey is a fat guy.
He was kind of like the mascot of our group, so a lot of the guys made fun of him and played jokes on him. I never did. I neither made fun of Mickey nor played any kind of mean jokes on him. I guess it was mostly because I saw how badly some of those jokes hurt him.
Mickey and his wife Samantha lived next door to me. We traded off favors and helped each other with projects at each other's condos.
Hosting the party was a big thing for Mickey. He saw it as a chance to gain a degree of respect from the guys we hung around with. He was tired of always being the butt of their jokes. Mickey had asked me to borrow some of the small tables I had on my deck; that way people who didn't want to watch the game and just wanted to be at the party to eat and share some camaraderie could hang out in his sun room. It was too cold in Michigan in February to be outside, but his sunroom was nice all year round.
As usual, on a day that I didn't have to go to work, I stayed in bed long after Elaine was up and about. I vaguely remember Elaine saying something about going over to help Samantha get ready for the party.
My first thought after eating, was the fact that it was a Sunday. For me, Sunday meant one thing above everything else; washing my car. Since I would be at the party for most of the day and evening, I decided to do it while Elaine was out so I didn't have to hear her bitching about it.
Elaine thought that it was a waste of time for me to wash my Mustang when it was the middle of winter and the car never left my heated garage until late spring or early summer. She thought that it was even stupider, since the car had a car cover to prevent dust from getting on it. For me, it was a habit.
I got all of my car wash products and my orbital polisher out and ready. I tuned my iPod to my favorite car washing playlist and started.
Since no one had been inside of the car since I washed it the previous week I decided to forgo the interior.
.... There is more of this story ...