School days were long and boring, but I usually made my way through them thinking about my upcoming races, repairs that needed to be done on the Thunderbird, or who my next Coyote would be. Homework was usually left aside, main reports and culminating activities finished in haste and teachers left with unsatisfactory work. Yes, school was good, all and well. For the time being, anyways.
“Hey, Trix,” I turned from my locker, which was decorated with photos of all the cars I’d ever owned and everything to do with drag racing. Francis, my somewhat nerdy lab partner was who had addressed me.
“Hey, man.” I turned back to my affairs in my locker, which was to shove everything I needed for my History final that was coming up into my backpack. I really needed to hand it in or I might not get that credit. And I didn’t mind history, really. I could relate to the thrill of war and battle.
“I need to know if you can finish the last ten questions about the lab we did today.” His voice cracked a little, like he was anxious of what my response might be. He reminded me of a frightened puppy. “I really don’t have time, and since I usually do most of the work between the two of us...” he trailed off as I turned my gaze on him again. He nervously pushed his thickly lensed glasses back up to the bridge of his nose. Apparently, I intimidate him sometimes.
“Well, I guess I could...” I said and tapped my chin with my forefinger, rolling my eyes up to the ceiling. “But you’re going to have to give me a good reason why you can’t do it. I mean, we both now that I don’t pay attention to anything that you do for the labs.”
Francis’ cheeks flushed and he cleared his throat uneasily. “I... I have a d – date.” His voice cracked up an octave as he spoke, and he once again adjusted his glasses, not looking at me. I smirked.
“Really? Well, who’s the lucky lady?” I was cruel, and I knew it. Maybe that was the reason I didn’t have friends.
He stared at me with bug eyes for a second. “It’s Shelly. Shelly Brown.”
I almost gasped. Shelly was the last person I suspected to be going out with Francis. She was tall, she was curvy and she was pretty much awesome. Francis... Well, he wasn’t. He did have a hammering case of asthma and near sightedness, though.
“Hmm, well you two have a good time. I’ll do the homework, don’t you worry.” I reassured him and smacked him lightly in the stomach with the back of my hand. “I wouldn’t want to mess up your date with Brown, now would I?”
I gave him one last smirk and shut my locker. I slung my bag over my shoulder and nodded ad him as a way of goodbye, and strode down the hall. I didn’t have to look back to know that he watched my walk away. They all did; they always did.
A sharp ringing distracted me from my work, and I wheeled myself out from under a beat up Chev truck I was working on for a friend. It wasn’t beyond repair, but it was so rusted on every inch, that I was scared the oil might leak out like Niagara Falls if I was too rough with it.
I whipped open my cell and wiped my oily hands on my coveralls.
"Hey." I said casually, even thought I had no idea who was calling.
"Trix, it’s Polly. How's it going?"
Polly was my good friend, and the man who'd introduced me to the beautiful sport of racing. As well, he was the person responsible for setting up most of my races. He was a saint.
“Hey, man, not too bad. Just working on a bucket of bolts at the moment. You?" I cradled the phone between my shoulder and ear as I started putting tools away. I'd had enough of the truck for one night. There was so much wrong with it and I only had so much time to work on a truck that wasn’t my own.
"Nothing. Listen, do you have time for a little competition tonight?"
"Yeah, I could squeeze it in. Who's up?"
"I didn’t catch his name, but he seemed to know all about you and your reputation. He was eager. To get his ass kicked, I guess."
I stifled a laugh. I still found it weird, the confidence that Polly had in me. "’Sounds alright. When and where's this going down? And what's he driving?"
Polly paused a moment, the sound of ruffling papers in the background. "Ah, here. Tonight, 1:30, the abandon highway out in the east of Vegas. As for his ride..." Another pause. "He never said."
A little blossom of doubt bloomed in my stomach, but I pushed it away. "Great. I like a surprise. It's refreshing. Are you coming to this one?” I asked even though I already knew the answer. But I couldn’t help myself from hoping he’d answer different. “I could use my coach for once.”
Polly laughed hollowly. "Kid, you know I can't. I gave this up years ago."
"I know," I said, feeling the same tinge of sadness I always felt. Polly taught me all I knew. But he could never come to the races, just incase we got busted. He'd be carted of to jail; he'd already been busted more than a couple times. Let’s just say he’d already used all his Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free cards.
He didn't like risking it.
"Go get him, kid. Show em what you're got, and don’t hold back."
"I won't. You know I won't"
Polly laughed again. "I know."
The phone clicked as my dad hung up.