A one-time adventure
My mama always said, “Never say never.” I’ve been pretty successful in following that advice all these years. “May your soul rest in peace, Mom; I’ve got to go against you this time.”
My best friend, Jerry, took me to a stock car race at the local fairgrounds, complete with chili dogs and beer for supper. After swallowing as much dust as hot dog the half-warm beer tasted pretty good. We rooted for our favorite drivers and had some good laughs at the powder puff derby.
As another race began, Jerry’s friend, Dan, approached looking worried, “Hey, Jerry, I need you Man. I sprained my wrist in that last race. Come drive for me in the demolition derby.”
“Oh, no you don’t. I promised Pam I wouldn’t drive out there anymore.” Jerry had told me how his wife chewed him out when she picked him up at the ER.
Dan sounded desperate. “I’ve already paid the entry fee and they won’t give it back. It’ll be a black mark for me if I don’t have a driver in the car they’ve assigned to me. Pleeese.”
Jerry set his beer down and belched that extra-spicy chili, looked at me with his foolish grin, and said, “My friend Tom here can drive for ya’. Now, before ya’ say no, just listen. It’s loads of fun and nobody gets hurt, hardly. It’s like the bumper cars at the carnival when we were kids.”
“Are you nuts? I’m not getting out there with those idiots. Sorry, Dan. No. I’m leaving here with all my marbles intact, thank you very much.”
The two friends kept after me and I held my own for a while, then the young ladies behind us in their skimpy cut-off jean shorts and tight tank tops giggled and helped Jerry and Dan convince me. Dang it, why could I never turn down a pretty face? I went to the pit area where Dan showed me the car and went over the few rules with me. I already understood that I could run into any car I wanted anywhere I wanted, but I had forgotten the whole thing was done in reverse. What had I gotten myself into?
Next thing I knew I was in the car and the announcer was giving the go signal. I turned to look behind me and gunned the engine. Just as the car started toward a beat up old sedan, I received the first impact. The old Ford pickup had broadsided my vehicle and rattled my brain. I shook it off and now headed for the red Plymouth which had one fender already missing. I rammed into the car and tore off its other fender. I straightened in my seat and stretched my neck before starting again, and then I realized I was smiling. Wham! Another hit in the right rear of my car spun me around to face the perpetrator. I couldn’t get him back until I turned around so he got away. This driving in reverse presented problems. All I could hear now was metal against metal, the yells from the crowd, and suddenly, my laughter. This went on for a full fifteen minutes which seemed like an hour. I was sore in parts of my body I didn’t think had anything to do with operating a motor vehicle. I knew I had taken out a few cars and was feeling fewer hits all the time, but it was only when the announcer yelled out that my car was the only one left running that I knew I had won.
Jerry and Dan both greeted me in the pit area and made a big fuss over me with the trophy. “Now that was fun, wasn’t it? I saw you laughing out there.” Jerry was good at saying “I told you so.”
I had to laugh and admit that overall it had been a fun experience but I couldn’t let him know. “Do you have any idea how sore I am right now? If I don’t make it to work tomorrow just remember, it’s all your fault.”
“Aw shoot, Man,” Dan was shaking my hand, “you’ll be back out next weekend, I’ll bet.”
I looked at them both and in my most “don’t you ever ask me to do that again” voice, replied, “No, I will never, read my lips, never do that again. Now, c’mon you both owe me a beer.”