After the drag racing incident Davy was given a choice, he could drive the 57 Chevy Belair, or he could walk. Of course he choose the Chevy. There was no way Davy was going to do any drag racing in that car. Punching the gas pedal cost way too much money. Besides, he loved that car and spent all of his time running around polishing imaginary smudges off of it.
I dated Davy a couple of times. He treated the car better than he did me. In fact, at the drive-in he told me that if I wanted popcorn or a Coke, I had to get out of the car and stay out until they were gone and I had washed my hands.
As for Suzy, her parents gave her a similar option — no more sports car. She could drive the humongous black, Ford F-150, or she could walk. Period. She choose the pick up with much more glee than her parents ever expected.
Suzy had red hair, startlingly blue eyes, and porcelain fine skin. She wasn’t classically beautiful, but she was quite striking and emitted a misleading aura of frailty. It is quite commonplace now to see women driving large trucks, but that wasn’t the case when I was a kid and Suzy always made people turn and stare.
Driving that pick up didn’t stop her from racing, either. She just raced other pickups instead of other sports cars. Suzy liked to go fast.
One day the check engine light came on and Suzy told her dad the pickup needed a physical. When he took the rig in for inspection and repair, he gave her the keys to the little Orange Capri. He forbid her to go cruising and said if she got another speeding ticket she wasn’t to come home. She said she understood.
We decided the best way to stay out of trouble was to head for my house. It was a 10 minute jaunt down the freeway. We figured we’d park the car, go in the house, watch soap operas with Caryl (my sister) and bake cookies. We were so excited over the thought of hot, melty chocolate chips that the car was going 80 before we knew it.
Our speed registered on us about the same time as the flashing blue lights caught our attention. Oops. I figured Suzy would be lucky if she got to drive again before her 35th birthday. I think Suzy thought so too, because she wrenched the steering wheel to the right and took a corner on two wheels. She’d barely straightened the car out before she wrenched the steering wheel to the left and took the next corner on the other two wheels.
She zig-zagged up and down a half-dozen residential streets and screeched to a stop in my sister’s driveway. I hopped out and opened the garage door knowing good and well my brother-in-law would be a work and we could park inside. Suzy pulled into the garage and I jerked the door down.
We both shot into the house through the back door, flung ourselves on to chairs at the table, then looked at Caryl with angelic smiles on our faces. “We’ve been here all morning,” I said.
Caryl pointed at the cop car cruising by the front window and said, “Tell me he isn’t looking for you two.”
Suzy and I looked at each other and shrugged. How were we supposed to know for certain why he was in the neighborhood? But we held our breath until he was out of sight.
A few days later we were sitting at the dining room table at Suzy’s house playing Yathzee. Suzy’s mother came in with the mail in her hand. She walked over to the table and said to Suzy, “Give me your car keys.” Suzy pointed at them on the piano and asked why. Her mother pocketed the keys before answering. “I just found a speeding ticket in the mailbox. Since the car is registered in my name the ticket is made out to me. There is a summons with it. Apparently I have to go to court and answer a charge of evading a police officer.” Suzy’s mother looked at me. “I think it is time for you to go home now.”
I jumped out of my chair and grabbed my purse. Suzy said, “Mom, she lives over 20 miles away.” I was baking toward the door. “No problem,” I said. “I’ll figure it out.” But Suzy’s mom had Davy take me home. Before I left I was told not to call or return for at least 30 days.
Suzy actually got the car keys back rather quickly. She went to court with her mother and was given 90 days community service. She needed the keys to get to and from her work station in the dispatch office of the police department — where she heard enough 911 emergency road calls that she learned to be a much more sedate driver.
Despite her reformed ways, she still surrendered the keys to the pickup two more times. The first time her dad took it out to get firewood and dropped a tree on it. Suzy drove the little orange Capri while the pickup was in the auto shop being fitted for a new hood. The second time her parents took it to help Davy move to California. They came home in a rental car having left the pick up in a San Diego auto repair shop. That’s when Suzy decided her dad couldn’t be trusted with the keys any more and bought the pick up from him.
All of this happened during my Senior year in high school. The last time I was home, over 33 years later, that pickup is still parked in Suzy’s driveway. And its still looking good.
Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives in the Pacific Northwest. When she is not doing book reviews or creating curriculum literature units, she is working on writing the next great American novel. You may visit her writing blog at http://charlene-amsden.com. Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives in the Pacific Northwest. When she is not doing book reviews or creating curriculum literature units, she is working on writing the next great American novel. You may visit her writing blog at http://charlene-amsden.com.