Rules of the Road

by Geron Kees

Chapter 2

©2016 by Geron Kees. All rights reserved.

In the days that followed, Brian's world got more exciting. He parked the car in his dad's side of the garage after getting it home, because he had to return the tags to Dennis and wait until he got his own, which took a few days, until his dad could get time to go to the DMV with him.

He washed the car. To his delight, the crust peeled right off of it, and a coat of wax and a little rubbing brought out the metallic in the paint. The car was pretty sharp-looking when he was done, and a streak of pride was already establishing itself in the back of his mind.

The car had the factory racing wheels on it - which were mag-like, if not chrome - and the Goodyear raised-white-letter tires looked great on them. The car had the factory G's on the front rims; but Dennis had put a pair of L-60's on the back, which were wider, and gave the car the squat appearance of a quarter-miler that Brian just loved. It was a car that looked like it meant business.

Some of his friends came by to look the car over, including his best friend, Ed. Ed was from California, a long-hair with a fuzzy mustache and a beach-dude atmosphere about him that Brian had grown to like a lot. Ed was straight-up, said what he meant and meant what he said, and didn't play the dumb games that some people did. His parents were divorced; his mom lived on the west coast and his father on the east coast, and Ed circulated back and forth between them for a few years at a time.

"Dude, this fuckin' thing is boss," Ed said, as he walked around the car. Brian had it out in the driveway. The day was sunny and clear, and the metallic burgundy paint looked about a foot deep with shine. "Fuckin' in great shape, too." He grinned. "Colin seen it yet?"

Brian matched grins. He'd called Colin and told him about the car, and the boy had said he'd swing by and take a look at it. But that he hadn't yet kind of told Brian the other boy was now considering him the competition, and that Colin was not going to be too exuberant in his liking for the new addition to the car hangout portion of the school parking lot.

"Nope. You know Colin."

Ed nodded. "Jealous motherfucker. He can't stand to see anyone have anything that might put his shit back a little. That's the way you get when you're the spoiled baby in the family."

Colin was the youngest of three sons, and his two older brothers were both more than ten years older than him. He'd been the baby of the family, definitely, and everyone had doted on the late arrival, and he had become used to having his way.

At the same time, he was a hard-worker, and had put a lot of effort into making his Roadrunner one of the nicest cars around. That he didn't want to see his title position threatened was natural; and if Brian didn't already know what the other guy was like, he might have felt snubbed at the apparent disinterest Colin was displaying in the Bee.

But he did know, and it just made him laugh. "He'll be around. He knows once I get it to school he'd better not be the last one to be a critic."

Ed grinned. "Betcha the first thing outta his mouth is something about it not having mags on it."

Brian shrugged. "I can live with that."

Ed sighed. "When ya gettin' tags?"

"My dad said he'd take me tomorrow. We'll get the title and the tags at the same time."

"Cool. Means we can go cruisin' Friday night." Ed rubbed his hands together, grinning. "Can't wait, dude."

Brian smiled, looking at the Bee. That the car was going to be the new focus of his life he had little doubt.

Ed came over to stand next to him, leaned over and stuck his head inside the driver's window. "I can't get over how clean this thing is inside, dude."

Brian looked down without thinking. Ed was raw-dog again - no underwear - something he was getting famous for. California ideas of relaxed living making their way into a more straight-laced east coast culture. He wasn't wearing a belt, either, and the top of the crack of his ass was visible inside the waistband of his faded jeans. Brian tried to look away, but was unable to do it before noting the clean lines and firm flesh, made somehow a little more tantalizing by the presence of a tan-line right across the top of the curve's start.

Brian liked Ed, but Ed wasn't really his type. They were just best friends, and that's the way Brian liked it. Not that Ed wasn't nice looking in his way. But the long hair and the fuzzy face belonged to a more adult era than Brian had allowed himself to live in just yet. Despite being sixteen, Brian was aware that on some level he was still the age of Chris, from the time of Chris; from the six months of Brian's life that the military had allowed Chris and his family to live nearby.

Brian had been fourteen then, and so had Chris. The family had moved in two doors down and Brian had met the new kid the same day. At that point Brian was already distressingly aware that his eyes chased boys far more often than they did girls. It had been that way since Brian was twelve - and maybe even before that.

But twelve was the age he had started to ejaculate when he jerked off - the age when the payoff had truly become satisfying. With that change from dry orgasms had come a true awareness that it was sex that was happening, not just some pleasant body reaction to certain stimulating experiences. Brian had come to understand that it was people - and, specifically, guys, that gave him the most pleasant thoughts and feelings.

Which was just plain terrifying, because to be branded as a homo was about the worst thing that could happen to a guy these days. Brian had his period of why me?, where he just couldn't get how God or nature - or whatever combination of the two that were responsible for him being there on planet Earth - could conspire to drop such a burden into the middle of what was otherwise a very pleasant existence.

He'd nearly let it wreck him for awhile, and he'd been aware that his parents were worried about him and that they didn't understand what was driving his depressed days and his grumps and his bad-tempers. It had taken his dad sitting him down one day and asking him what was up for Brian to see that, unless he made a change to his thinking, he was going to go nuts and all of it would come out to his parents. And that was about the last thing he wanted just then.

To deal with the problem as a family.

Because, for real, it was Brian's problem and no one else's. He didn't want his folks to be embarrassed by him, or to worry about him, or to feel he needed doctors or therapists to sort him out. He didn't want them to think he needed help.

So he had told his dad it was just school pressure and things with girls, and maybe things with guys about girls - he had, in actuality, lied his head off about the whole thing. It didn't make him feel good, and afterwards he had gone into his room and shut the door and stuck his face in his pillow and cried a little about it. That his dad had finally given him a little smile and said, ah, well, he understood about that kind of stuff, had not helped Brian relax with his deceit at all.

But it had been a turning point. Brian had realized that the onus of being homosexual was only as heavy as he allowed it to be. He actually liked girls and the company of girls, and he got along with them just fine. He just wasn't attracted to them - didn't find them really cute - the way he did with boys. But his easy way with girls made him popular with them, because Brian was, in the end, pretty cute himself.

Which is likely what had attracted Chris the very first day - the day the new boy moved into the house that had once belonged to the old Nielsen couple. Mr. Nielsen had died, and Mrs. Nielsen had gone to live with her daughter and her family. The house - not in the best of condition - had been fixed up a bit by that same daughter and then put on the market.

But it didn't sell. The housing market was depressed, and the house itself only minimally desirable because it was older and in need of some modernization. Finally, the daughter had hit on the idea of renting the house instead of selling it; and then, one day, in a bit of magic that happened sometimes when the world gave a big wink and looked the other way, Chris and his family had moved in.

Brian had walked down, attracted by the presence of the big moving van, and had immediately spied the boy standing in the front yard with his father, watching as the moving men carried boxes and furniture inside. In the way of such things, where the eyes speak and the heart listens, Brian had immediately been drawn to the other boy.

He had longish brown hair, and blue eyes, a pleasantly curved mouth, and an even more pleasantly fit body that showed well in the tee-shirt and summer shorts he was wearing. He had an absolutely killer butt, the shape of which was outlined perfectly in his shorts, and which just leaped at the eyes the moment he turned his backside in Brian's direction. He had looked up as Brian was walking up, and their eyes had met, and their eyes had talked to each other.

Brian was also brown haired and blue eyed, and he thought of himself as fit. Mr. Keating, the gym teacher back at the middle school, had observed Brain playfully sparring with a guy during a wrestling match where feelings got involved, and had pulled him up after class and asked him if he'd be interested in joining the intramural boxing team.

Brian had not really been interested right off, but had accepted, mostly because no one had ever asked him to join anything and he was mildly excited at just being noticed in that fashion. The boxing team had proved to be both fun and good for his reputation, and it had carried over into high school when he'd made the move after eighth grade.

Once in the record, always in the record, it seemed; Mr. Atherton, the gym teacher at Thomas R. Proctor High, had drawn him aside the very first day about joining the boxing team there. Brian had done it, simply because by that time it was a part of himself that he enjoyed.

Anyway, there had been a definite and mysterious eye-chemistry between Brian and Chris the moment they had seen each other. The other boy had smiled, and Brian, drawn by that smile, had simply found himself making a left turn and crossing the yard to meet him.

"Hi. I'm Brian Temple. I live a couple of houses up. You guys are moving in, huh? That's cool. We can use another guy around here."

He'd been amazed at the way his mouth had managed to be so eloquent while his heart was twisting around in his chest. Close-up, Chris was even more beautiful, and his eyes even more aware, and it had been everything Brian could do simply not to gape at the new kid.

Chris's dad had saved him. He'd smiled, and stuck out his hand. "Hi, Brian. I'm Mark Chappler, and this is my son, Chris."

Brian had shaken hands with the man, and then turned, hand still out, to Chris. The other boy had taken it, grasped it firmly, and given it a little shake, causing all sorts of interesting things to happen within the nervous system of Brian's hand. Things subtle and small, maybe down on the cellular, or even atomic level. A trading of things, or maybe a sharing. The result had been a pleasant tingle, and a memory that would last a lifetime.

"I'm Chris," the other boy had managed, his eyes smiling as well as his mouth. " dad's in the air force. He's a Captain."

It had seemed an incongruous statement, too much, too soon; and Chris immediately made the kind of frown that went with the internal dialog of Yeah, that was stupid. What's wrong with me?

But Brian had simply nodded, letting the other off the hook of embarrassment. "Yeah? That's really cool."

Mr. Chappler had smiled, and given his son's shoulder a fond tweak. "I've been assigned to Grifiss, a few miles from here," he'd explained. "We were lucky to find this place on such short notice."

Chris had simply nodded, continuing to grin, and they had all three lapsed into silence. Fortunately, one of the movers had come up to Mr. Chappler and taken him away to ask about things, and Brian and Chris had been left alone to look at each other. It was a good thing, as their eyes had already become adept at relaying things, most of which were subconscious, but some of which was not.

"So," Chris had finally managed, moving to sit down on the large concrete front stoop. "What's the school like around here?"

Brian had gone and sat next to him, to the side and out of the way of the movers walking back and forth. "It's cool. It's a bus ride, but you probably knew that."

"Nope. I lived on base at my last house, and I could walk to school in five minutes. What's the bus like?"

"It's okay. We get it at the corner there," he'd pointed to where McQuade met South Street, "at about seven thirty. I like to get out there by seven fifteen, because sometimes Mrs. Johnson, the driver, is a little early."

"You guys got any parks around here?" Chris smiled. "You play baseball?"

"Yeah," Brian had said, delighted. Baseball was one of his favorite games. "We got Conner Park up the road, and Kernan - shit, there's a few of them."


The rest of the day had gone that way, too. And the rest of the month. Brian and Chris had become inseparable very quickly, both of them tuned to the same frequency in life, it seemed. So when the day came - the day, as it was recorded in Brian's memory - it was less surprising than one might imagine.

They'd been in Chris's garage, working on the little minibike that they rode on the nearby trails sometimes. It was raining outside, and they'd closed the garage door to keep the windblown droplets at bay. Chris's dad was at the base, and his mom had run down to the mall to do some shopping.

They were laying on their bellies together, examining the guts of the little three-horse engine that ran the bike, which was currently spread out somewhat on newspaper on the garage floor. This was okay, as Chris's parents only had one car, and the garage had room for two. Chris's dad got a ride with another officer each morning, and the car was usually left for the use of his wife.

Chris's mom hadn't been gone ten minutes, not even long enough to get to the mall. The boys had been relaxed, kidding around, and Brian had been pleased and a little hyped to be laying so closely next to Chris. His attraction to the other boy had only been growing in the past month, and he had regularly instructed himself to be careful, as the last thing he wanted was to openly display that interest and send Chris running.

But Chris had been showing only signs of liking for Brian - no wariness at all - and it was an easy and intense liking that had an undercurrent that Brian had wanted to see as more, but which he had not dared to allow himself to investigate. He liked Chris as well as desired him, thought he was a beautiful, sweet, and intelligent friend, and he didn't want to do anything that might wreck that. If all he ever got to do was hang out with Chris and occasionally be close to him, touch him now and then - Brian had already decided that would suffice. Dreams were one thing; reality an entirely different matter.

Their bare upper arms touched as they moved, and their shorts-clad hips, and even their feet - or their shoes, rather - would occasionally touch together. Brian was aware of it, but he knew he couldn't press it. Chris seemed also aware of it, and while it didn't seem to bother the other boy, there were no clear signals that he particularly enjoyed it, either.

"Hand me that socket in front of you, would you?" Chris asked, nodding at the little chrome cylinder that had rolled over by Brian's right hand.

Brain picked it up, held it out. Chris put a hand out, and Brian dropped it into the other boy's palm.

"What do you think happened?" Brian asked. Engines were new to him, and he was still learning the ropes. Chris was good with them, and was a willing teacher.

"Oil control ring broke. That's why all the smoke. We got lucky, though, because the broken piece dropped into the crankcase. It scored the cylinder a little, but not enough - and not in a place - that will make the thing not run."

"We're replacing it?"

"Yeah. My dad said he'd get one on the way home today or tomorrow. He's busy on something at work, and didn't know when he'd have the time. Look here."

Chris held his hand out, with the tiny curved piece of broken ring in his palm.

Brian took his forefinger and poked the little piece a few times. A grin appeared on Chris's face, and on the last poke his fingers snapped shut, trapping Brian's finger. Brian grinned, leaned his shoulder against the other boy's, and their faces came closer together.

"You've had your fun," Brian said patiently. "Turn me loose."

"Or what?" Chris had asked, mischief plain on his features. "You'll poke me with that clean right of yours?" Chris had stopped by a few of Brian's practice bouts at boxing after school, and been impressed with Brian's speed and control.

Brian laughed. "Aw, no. I'm not messing up that pretty face."

He hadn't realized he'd said it until after it was done. But with the knowledge that he'd just said that Chris was cute came a moment of fear, and then the instant thought-dance as he looked for a way to play it off as a joke.

But Chris beat him to the next line. He turned his head a little sideways and looked at Brian, his eyes smiling. "You think I'm good-looking?"

Chris didn't seem mad or bothered at all, and what showed plainly in his eyes was interest.

Brian's thoughts backpedaled, and then kind of froze, looking for the right thing to say next. Something in the way that Chris was looking at him begged an honest, open answer.

So Brian nodded slowly, and gave him one. "Sure."

Chris looked pleased. "Well - thanks. You're not so bad yourself."

It wasn't what he said, it was the look that went with it that spoke to Brian. Behind Chris's eyes were volumes of interest, and a kind of hopefulness, and maybe a little bit of daring. None of it came with the kind of slippery coating that might have signaled that the other boy was anything but serious.

Chris moved his hand back and forth with Brian's finger still trapped inside. "I've got you now."

Brian's head didn't know quite what to say. His mouth did it for him. "Yeah? Now what are you going to do with me?"

The smile that appeared on Chris's face was a multi-faceted gem, indeed. "What would you like?"

Maybe it appeared in Brian's eyes. Chris certainly saw something that satisfied him, and made him feel bolder. He leaned a little closer, until Brian could smell the little pizza rolls they had for lunch on the other boy's breath.

Their faces were just inches apart now, closer than Brian had ever dared hope they would be. They looked into each other's eyes, and they were both smiling, and Brian wasn't thinking about what to do because he was just too caught up in the moment.

So he didn't realize he had leaned closer, until their foreheads touched together. Chris gave a little laugh, but didn't pull away, instead turning his head slowly from side to side, causing Brian's head to mirror his movements. Brian was all grins; this was a fantasy come-true, and he wasn't really thinking so much as feeling. The soft-firm touch of Chris's forehead against his own was electrifying, and Brian could feel his dick swelling, with no way he could figure out to control it short of maybe pulling back - and damn if he was going to do that.

Chris's eyes went down to slits, and he pushed his face closer still, until their cheeks were touching. Brian closed his eyes and went along for the ride, afraid now that this was just too good to be true, but knowing no way to pull back, no way to say it was all a joke, and that he was only kidding.

Now Brian could smell the musky pleasantness of Chris's skin - his body - his hair. It had gone too far now to simply pretend it had never happened. Chris was offering something that Brian wanted badly, but didn't know how to take without it changing their relationship - and their lives - forever.

So he just went with it and said nothing. Chris hummed a little hum, and Brian felt there was a lot of satisfaction in there someplace. Brian turned his head a little, and their noses touched, and then their lips - but it was a static touch, too frozen for anything but a little recognition between skin that the contact was taking place. For either of them to have puckered up at this point might have caused laughter, which they both seemed to know would take the edge off of what was happening.

Whatever it was that was happening.

Neither of them seemed quite certain. But Chris, at least, wanted to know more. "We can go to my room," he suggested, softly.

No clear-cut plan of action - not even the suggestion of one. Just an offering, with the promise of perhaps more to be discovered later.


They got up, returned the tools to the workbench without a word, and went inside the house and up the stairs to Chris's bedroom. Chris shut the door and locked it, which dispelled any remaining doubt in Brian's mind of where Chris was allowing this to go.

They approached each other, stood face-to-face, a few inches apart - and stopped. Doubt crept into Chris's expression, and in a flash of insight Brian realized that the other boy didn't know what to do next. The terrible certainty came over Brian that if he did not act - and act quickly - the moment would somehow be lost.

So he leaned forward, placed their foreheads back together, and smiled into Chris's eyes.

Chris lit up, a kind of relief and delight emanating from his face. He took a step closer, and before Brian knew what had happened he found his hands on Chris's hips, and Chris was reaching out to touch his. Their faces touched again, and their lips, and this time Chris's flexed gently - just a little - and Brian realized he had just been kissed.

Kind of.

He wanted to kiss back - wanted it badly - but there was still that little bit of doubt in the back of his head, and all he could manage to do was bunch his lips up a little and push them back.

That seemed to be enough. Chris sighed, slid his arms up and around Brian, laid his cheek to Brian's - and gently hugged him.

"You know how long I've wanted to do that, Brian?"

Brian had pulled back, shaken his head. "No."

"Just about from the day we met."

From that point they had explored, and in their explorations, learned for the first time what it was to possess another human being intimately. That it was homo was undeniable, and neither of them really ever mentioned it, and both of them worried about it, and lived with it.

For another five months they had led scary, edge-of-the-seat lives, made livable by the absolute joy they both felt when they were together. They learned a lot about each other - both of the outer, physical part, and the all important emotional inside. They learned what it was that gave a boy pleasure, what it was that gave a boy love.

For it was about the time that Brian was really feeling that he loved Chris that they were separated forever. Chris showed up at his door one day, his face a mask of hurt and misery, and they had gone up to Brian's room, and there he had learned that Chris's dad had been transferred again - that Chris and his family were leaving.

Brian shut his eyes, recalling the moment.

"You okay, dude?"

He opened them again, saw Ed looking at him with concern.

"Uh - yeah. I was just thinking about what all this shit cost."

Ed laughed. "Man - you haven't hardly started. Wait until you decide to hop this thing up some. Then you'll be coughing up some loot."

Brian nodded, allowing Chris to slip back into the shadows of memory. He'd never found a replacement for the lost boy - not that such a thing could ever be replaced. But no one else had come along to fill the void left by Chris's departure, and Brian had gone back to playing games with interested girls while somehow managing to stay one step ahead and not be caught.

Ed patted him on the shoulder. "Friday night, dude." He looked both ways, patted the pocket of his jeans. "Got a little stash I was saving for this."

Brian laughed. Ed had brought pot-smoking full-force into the lives of his new east coast friends. Not that none of them had never sampled the stuff; but Ed had kind of popularized it as a regular function and made it more acceptable as a warm up for an evening out. Everyone drank beer, including Brian, and the pot helped to sort of ease the transition from cold and immortal daily living to wary and aware after-dark cruising around.

Brian wasn't particularly interested in getting wrecked. He'd take a few drags off of one of Ed's joints when they were out, or a couple of hits off of Ed's mini-bong, and follow that with a beer or two. But it was his nature to be in control of himself, and he resisted greatly input in any form that would lessen that control to the point that he was stoned or drunk.

"I wanna see some of the faces when you cruise this thing through the Burger King at Maple Hill," Ed went on.

Brian nodded, but wasn't that sure he was looking forward to that. The Burger King at Maple Hill was the hangout for the car crowd from John F. Kennedy High School - notorious rivals of Proctor, both in football and baseball, and in other things, like cars. This rivalry sometimes went bad, leading to fights, and worse.

One guy from their school had taken to cruising through the Burger King each Saturday night and grinning at the guys by their cars in the lot; a couple of the more drunk observers had taken it personally. One night as the Proctor guy had cruised through, a car had pulled in front of him in the narrow part of the drive beside the building, stopping him. Another pulled out behind him, keeping him from backing up. And then the Kennedy boys had come at him with baseball bats, doing a fair job of denting up his car before he managed to get it up on the sidewalk and escape by driving between the building and a flagpole.

The message had been simple: this place is ours, so fuck off.

Not pretty, and not something that Brian wanted to happen to his Bee. Yeah, he would probably drive through there - but he would stay out in the big parking lot of the shopping center next door, and away from the Burger King building. Kennedy guys were all nuts, and Brian wasn't going to have any of them taking a whack at his car for no good reason.

Hardly a Saturday night went by when there wasn't a grudge race of some kind between guys from the two schools, held at the long stretch of two-lane blacktop that dead-ended at woods, called Zion Road. The quarter-mile was marked out between yellow lines painted by car guys; one for the starting line, one for the finish. Races there were usually for money, although grudge races could just be for grins or to settle questions about who had the quicker car.

Fast meant top end. Quick meant how soon you got there. For quarter-mile racing, quick was what it was all about.

Most guys would take their cars to one of the several legal drag strips in the area at some time or another so they could get an honest time on their quarter-mile runs - so they would really know. Factory muscle like the GTO, Chevelle SS, or Super Bee could do the quarter in the mid or high fourteens right off the showroom floor. That meant going from a standing stop to crossing the yellow line 440 yards away in fourteen and some tenths seconds.

Not an inconsiderable thing, if you really thought about it. A muscle car of that type weighed close to two tons; 3300 pounds was an average. Add the weight of a driver - and sometimes a passenger, if the driver didn't mind the added weight - and you could be talking about launching almost two tons of mass to a speed of around a hundred miles per hour in a period inside of fourteen seconds.

And that was for stock, meaning as purchased new. A lot of guys would fix up their cars, adding things like bigger cams, better intake manifolds and carburetors, exhaust headers for exhaust gas flow - even tinker with the transmission or rear wheel gearing to get a better time.

It was not uncommon to see cars running around the roads that could do the quarter in the thirteens and twelves - sometimes even quicker. That didn't sound like much of a difference - a second or two - but it really, really was.

There were a lot of things that you could do to a stock vehicle that would bring it's quarter mile run down in time. Simply uncapping the exhaust so that the mufflers were out of the circuit, and taking the air cleaner off, could add a few tenths - maybe even half a second, in extreme cases. Rear wheel gearing could also be changed, which would usually launch the car quicker, leading to a better time. But the lower you went in ratio, the more revolutions the engine required to make one turn of the rear wheels, which allowed the engine to rev into its power range much quicker but also reduced the car's top end. You had to make these changes carefully, or risk winding up with a car that might - or might not - be a great quarter-miler, but which was absolutely undriveable as a daily ride.

And then there was horsepower.

Upping the horsepower was a sure way to gain time in the quarter. But horsepower cost. The horsepower increase required to lop a second off of a quarter-mile run was noticeable. Factory muscle that did the quarter in fourteen-seven was usually producing about three hundred and twenty-five to three hundred-fifty horsepower. A car that could do the quarter in twelve seconds, all other things like gearing being equal, was producing more like five hundred horsepower. And it only got more expensive the higher you went up the horsepower range.

The Bee was basically an average piece of muscle, performance-wise. There were a lot of cars out there that would be comparable performers. Some, not quite as good, could be beaten. Others, maybe not. But, nice as the Bee was, it wasn't going to be up to running some of what was out there roaming the streets. Nope.

Brian was going to have to be careful who he challenged, unless it was just a traffic run. That was when two guys in hot cars just happened to encounter each other on the road or at a stoplight, and tried each other just for fun. In some ways, this was where the most fun was. It was also where all the biggest surprises were, as you never knew what the other guy might have under the hood until you both jumped on it.

"Gotta be careful about doing that," Brian pointed out. "Those Kennedy guys are a bunch of idiots. Remember what they did to Dave's car?"

"Fluke," Ed said, shaking his head. "Dave has a way of looking at people that just screams, 'yeah, fuck you!' I think he probably did that to one of those crazies like Mahowsky, who just isn't going to take that from some Junior from off turf."

Brian nodded. "Maybe."

Mahowsky was a known rowdy at Kennedy, a joker who liked to show up at the football games between the two schools and do distracting burnouts in the parking lot during the Proctor Raiders offensive runs, and otherwise create trouble. He was, very basically, an asshole of the first order. He drank, and he was a brawler, and a big enough one that if you got into it with him once you'd remember it for a while.

Mahowsky had a '67 goat that was the dream of every GTO lover everywhere. It was candy-apple red with brushed aluminum slotted wheels, and packed a 400 tri-power under the hood backed by a Muncie M22 "rockcrusher" four-speed. The damn thing sounded like a turbojet as it went by you on the road, due to the design of the gears in the "banger box" tranny, and if you heard it coming you might as well get out of the way, because Mahowsky was almost a big enough jerk to run you over.

Yeah, Brian had no illusions about that one. The Bee was a beauty and it ran well, but Mahowsky's goat would eat it for lunch in the quarter.

Ed clapped him on the shoulder. "Don't worry about it, dude. You're not Dave. Just be cool when you go through there, and they'll usually be cool, too. If someone waves you to stop, then stop. There's a bunch of Mopar-heads down there, with some nice cars. Couldn't hurt to make a few buddies on the other side, you know."

Brian laughed. That was true - there were a few nice Plymouths and Dodges that were based out of the Burger King at Maple Hill. He could think of a couple of them right off. Might be nice to see what other guys with similar tastes were doing with their iron.

They wrapped it up and Brian put the Bee back in the garage. Tomorrow was the big day: tags and title, and street-legal.

"I'll be in to school in the afternoon," he told Ed, as the other boy made to go home. "Once I get my tags."

"Cool." Ed gave him a big grin. "Can I come and get a ride home tomorrow after classes?"

"Absofunkinglutely. I'll wait for you. Probably have no choice. Some of the guys that heard about me buying the car already told me they want to see it when I get it there."

Ed laughed. "They say one bad word I'll clip 'em." He smiled at the Bee a last time, shook his head. "That's one sweet ride, Bry."

Brian smiled, and looked at the car again before closing the garage door.

Yeah. It was.

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