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Hot Rod

35 pages48 minutes


Ronnie is down at the Main Street Inn, with the rest of the down-the-nose rich guys that he runs around with.
Judy is with Ronnie and she doesn't appear to be too happy.
The word around town is that Judy wants to find a guy who is going to make the kind of living that will fill Judy's dreams of a house, a decent car and money for braces for the kid's teeth. Since a lot of the local boys just want a shack in the woods with a dog kennel, so they can hunt 'coons in the marsh at night, Judy thinks that Ronnie may be her guy.
However, I know from my own business contacts that Ronnie's old man is poised on the slippery edge of bankruptcy. The only reason that Ronnie's old man is still afloat is that he has some rural land that’s on the bank's books at more than the land can be sold for.
I stroll in to the Main Street Inn and begin to brag about 'my new coupe.' I lay it on thick and make a few 'careless' statements to the effect that, “Y'all have to know, I got the fastest set of wheels in town.”
Ronnie is not about to be shown up in front of Judy. He gives me some lip about, “My Corvette will beat that junker of yours anytime.”
I say, “Big talk, rich boy. However, my little coupe will outrun that Corvette your daddy gave you. You wouldn't stand a chance over a quarter mile, unless I gave you a real big head start.”
Ronnie is not about to be put down. He wants to know, “You want a race to find out who really has the fastest set of wheels in town?”
I say, “I got a thousand, cash, that says my little coupe will show your Corvette the short way down a quarter mile. No excuses, run what ya brung.”
Ronnie is up for a race, but down on cash. He gets his buddies to kick in some cash, but he's only able to raise about $500.
I tell him, “The price is $1000, sonny boy. Come back when you grow up.”
For some unknown reason, Ronnie gets a little bent out of shape at my words. He talks without thinking. (Actually, he does that most of the time, but this time is a real doozy.) He says, “Look, I'll bet $500 cash against your $1000. If you win, well hell, you can take Judy back with you.”
Judy is totally outraged! She gives Ronnie a look that should have told him that anything he had going with her is now over.
I have accomplished what I set out to do! Now all I have to do is to tell Judy that I won't subject her to such a degrading situation and that I'll race Ronnie boy for $500.
I go to Judy and tell her, “I'll race Ronnie boy for just $500 cash. I don't buy and sell girls.”
Judy takes her revenge on Ronnie, almost before I can get words out of my mouth. She says to me, “I'll ride with you. Just ride with you, nothing more. I won't get in a car with Ronnie, if I have to hitch hike home.” With that, Judy flounces off to the ladies room with the rest of the ladies in the place in hot pursuit.
Ronnie figures that he can solve everything by beating me in the race. Then, he'll sweet talk Judy and everything will be okay again. (Ronnie has a major case of the dumb ass.)
I tell Ronnie, “I'll race you for $500. I wouldn't do it under normal circumstances, but I won't be any part of buying Judy from your worthless ass.”
Well, Ronnie and I exchange a few more words. I won't go into what is said, but Ronnie and I are never gonna be best buddies. I'm also not gonna cry all the way home about the matter.
The girls finally come back from the ladies room.
The girls each go to their boyfriend and whisper things into the boyfriend's ear.
I don't know exactly what the girls had to say, but I bet I could have sold a lot of asbestos earplugs.
Judy walks over, not too near me. She says, “I must be an idiot to ride with you. However, it beats hitchhiking home, barely.”

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