Posted by: JDM..... | November 10, 2016

Once upon a racetrack…

or, stranger things have happened….

Once upon a time there was a race track just outside of the town where differences and stalemates had been settled for generations. It also became a popular event for miles around, whether any scores were being settled or not.

Not long ago, a stranger showed up at the track and announced that he would like to participate. The Powers that Be glanced at his vehicle, assessed the strangers clothing, shoes, hair, and so forth.

“Phhhht..! This for experienced racers, son. You can’t just walk in off the street and start driving a hundred and twenty five miles per hour! You might hurt yourself…..worse yet, you might hurt someone else…”

He nodded at the stranger’s vehicle again.

“…and that ain’t no race car, I’ll tell ya what…!” He tried unsuccessfully to suppress the smirk he felt behind his words. I mean, the car looked very nice, he thought, but certainly it was more suitable for a Sunday afternoon drive than the noise, smoke, and breakneck speeds the stranger was asking to join.

The stranger stood quietly looking around as the man spoke, making eye contact and nodding acknowledgement periodically. The man finished what he had to say and looked expectantly at the stranger, an eyebrow raised and his lips pursed.

“So, when do we start?” the stranger asked with a pleasant smile.

~-~* * *~-~

On the night of his first race, the stranger joined the pack waiting for the flag. His garage kept sedan looked quite out of its element, silently purring amidst the dozen or so brightly painted machines roaring and belching smoke around him, like stags pawing at the ground with their hooves and snorting in preparation for doing battle.

The flag went down and the crowd roared as rubber turned to smoke and noise, engines bellowed, and the mass of metal rocketed away from the starting line and the stranger.

He wasn’t sitting still, of course, and he seemed to be gliding quite nicely into position with the rest of the racers.

The first few laps were like the first few laps of any similar race. Cars jockeyed for key positions, either vying for the lead or setting up to move on it in another lap or two. Two met unfortunately coming out of corner 3, locked together with hopelessly twisted metal, and that was the end of that for them. Another suddenly sank to the back of the group with whom he had been jousting, silently coasting into the pits spewing smoke of a different color.

Nobody noticed at first, but the stranger had managed to get within one car position of the lead. He had come on strong and without hesitation in spite of challenges.

The rest of the contest was all but neck and neck, and when the stranger sailed past the finish line and came around to pick up the checkered flag for his victory lap, people were standing around dumbfounded, especially the erstwhile leader and veteran favorite who had already purchased party favors and rented a hall for the anticipated celebration that evening.

There were accusations of cheating and other denial mechanisms in play for a number of days to follow. Official mechanics and engineers examined his vehicle and he was ordered by the court to provide various samples at the local clinic, but no foul could be called. By some fluke, the stranger had just ambled in one day and beat the pants off of seasoned veterans and professionals.

The reporter smiled as the light on the camera went on. He held the microphone out toward the stranger and asked how in the world he had wandered onto such a field full of seasoned competitors piloting machines boasting all of the latest gadgets, doohickeys, and secret fuel supplements, and cruised so effortlessly across the finish line ahead of them all in a family sedan, a spit shined luxury car.

The stranger smiled back, leaning slightly into the microphone.

“Better driver,” he noted, cocking his head and pursing his lips.

“Better car,” he added, “a really, really great car. I mean it! Great car! I love that car!”

~-~* * *~-~


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