Tuesday, November 09, 2010
NaNoWriMo - "I Know a Place Where the Dancing's Free" (Chapter 2)
Chapter Two
Down in the Street Making all That Noise

The exhaust of an old Pontiac rumbled by as the girls hurried down to the corner Soda Shop while their mother’s continued shopping the strip. Flushed and frustrated Rosalie rummaged through her purse and pulled out a matchbook. “Stand right there, Ginny.” she exhausted commanded, “Make sure nobody is watching and block the breeze.”

With the moves of a ninja Rosalie reached up into her shirt and pulled out a crushed pack of Kents, much to Virginia’s surprise. She placed a bent, crocked cigarette in her mouth and lit the wrong end. “Crap!” she protested, “That was the only one not broken. Ginny. Lend me thirty cents?”

The girls walked into the soda shop to the cigarette vending machine that stood by the doorway. “Since when did you take up smoking?” asked Virginia as Rosalie dropped in the change and pulled on a spring-loaded knob. A fresh, unmolested pack of Kents and a little white matchbook dropped down as Rosalie quickly scooped them up and stuffed them in her purse.

“Don’t look at me so funny. You mean you never tried smoking before?” scoffed Rosalie as they made their way up to the counter to order their usual cherry cokes.

“Of course not. They make me cough. My eyes water and they smell stinky.” replied Virginia.

“Oh so you have tried them!” mocked Rosalie.

“No. Dad smokes, silly. It’s all I can do sometimes to get the dishes washed and myself out of the kitchen after supper.” explained Virginia. “He just lights them up one right after another.”

Sliding into a booth Virginia asked, “So tell me, what happened back at the dress shop? Did she have to measure you?”

“Oh my god! It was awful. She wouldn’t look away while I undressed and I had that pack of smokes tucked in between.” gasped Rosalie.

“In between what?” asked Virgina.

“My tits silly! It’s the perfect place to hide them. Sometimes Dad suspects or smells cigarette smoke on me and he just tears my room apart looking for evidence. I just stand there and roll my eyes, he’s never going to find them here.” Rosalie said proudly while thumping her chest like a gorilla.

“Oh no! Did the shop lady see them? She’d tell your Mom for sure,” asked Virginia.

“No, but the dumb bitch sat on them.” explained Rosalie. “I managed to get undressed and hide them under my shirt on the dressing room bench. I had it made until that old batty hen had to go hatch the shit out of them.”

“Uh oh, don’t look now but here comes Robert and the gang,” giggled Virginia.

Robert Trommello was tall, handsome and quite an amazing high school athlete. Currently his lettered jacket and class ring was being worn by Jennifer, the head Senior cheerleader. Many girls in their Senior class often joked if Jennifer would wear his jacket over her prom dress two weeks ago, since she absolutely refused to take it off. They were none surprised when she didn’t. Not even to receive the Prom Queen crown for she chillingly retorted that the gym was always chilly and she’d catch herself a cold.

Secretly, Virgina often daydreamed that she was the one wearing Robert’s jacket. The fact that she could be the one was even more fascinating as she had been Robert’s school girl crush since they were in 1st grade. He had come by the house to call on her a number of times over the years, but her father refused to let them date. He was Italian and Catholic thus against Dad’s ideologies as the son of a Protestant Circuit Preacher back in the hills of Kentucky. Virginia also assumed that her father’s bigotry stemmed back from World War II. Many Italian Americans experienced wartime restrictions on their culture just because the powers to be could not discern between their heritage, culture and traditions as opposed to support of an enemy of state.

Robert signaled to the guys that he’d be right with them as he scooted in the booth beside Virginia. “How’s my girl doing today?” he smiled while gently patting her arm. “Did you hear the good news? I’ve been accepted into Penn State on a full scholarship.”

“Congratulations!” exclaimed Virginia, “Penn State was your first choice wasn’t it?”

“It sure was, it was Dad’s Alma Mater,” he sat tall and proudly sang, “Hail to the Lion, Loyal and True. Hail Alma Mater, with your White and Blue.”

“Ha!” laughed Rosalie, “A Jersey boy going to Penn State? What a joke. That’s a nigger college. Penn State has more black students than Pleasantville High. What you weren’t white enough to attend a big, white school like Princeton?”

“Oh quit it, Rosalie,” chided Virginia, “That fellow on that TV show with Robert Culp, I Spy is a black guy from Philadelphia. Alexander Scott. Oh what’s his name. Cosby. Yes, that’s it. Bill Cosby. He’s a graduate from Penn State isn’t he?” she looked at and asked Robert.

“Temple University I believe,” answered Robert, “But good call. Hey, I’ll catch you later. Gotta go hang with the boys. Take care of yourself now Sweetheart.” he winked as he danced over to his friends.

“He,” pointing to Robert, “is definitely not your type Ginny. He’s an asshole.”

“No, he’s not,” Virginia defended. “He’s not my type but he’s not one of those either.”

While Rosalie filled the air with her bad mouth rhetoric, Virginia’s mind drifted off for she was intrigued by Robert’s type. He was so self-confident and spontaneous in a Sean Connery type of way. Virginia daydreamed of Robert being James Bond and herself Tatiana with him whisking her off to safety his romantic arms and gentleman-like manners.

Robert was sly and sneaky too; so much fun to be around as Virginia recalled their senior class trip to Washington DC a few weeks back. The girls were strolling back to their hotel after going out to watch “Thunderball” at that fancy sit down theatre down on Connecticut Avenue. A group of rowdy, possibly drunk classmates were up on the 3rd floor balcony carrying on and laughing when suddenly a water balloon from above whacked Rosalie right in the head. She cussed, fussed, ranted and accused Robert of doing it. Then she marched her way inside the hotel to notify a chaperon. Virginia tried desperately not to let Rosalie catch her laughing, but she did and fussed at her for days afterward.

“Well?” asked Rosalie, “What do you think? You wanna?”

“Do I want to what?” asked Virginia.

“Don’t tell me I’ve been talking to myself this whole time, you stooge,” chimed Rosalie as she tossed a fresh cigarette across the table to Virginia. “Well, do you want to go to the Hammonton Carnival with me and Jimmy next week or not?”

“Oh no,” answered Virginia tossing the cigarette as Rosalie put on a frown. “No, I mean no thank you for the cigarette but yeah, I’ll tag along with you and Jimmy. Sounds like fun.”


Flippers were flunking and lights danced across the back box as Marty raked in another 100 points on the Gottlieb Buckaroo. “Woo Hoo! Kick that Cowboy!” cheered a familiar voice as the score reel spun a horse’s kick to the old Buckaroo.

“Hey Jim-boy. How’ve ‘ya been?” greeted Marty extending his right hand to Jimmy while the silver ball pinged between the left and right flippers, not quite making up it’s mind on where it wanted to go.

“Great man,” replied Jimmy. “Just got done my first three duel-barrel carb job on Mr. Grant’s Eldorado. She won’t be choking anymore, she’s roaring like a gentle lion now. How many games you turn there, Mr. Wizard?”

“Just got started really,” answered Marty while his crazy flipper fingers let another ball slip by. He pulled the spring-tensioned knob to bring down the next silver ball when the head board flashed in red ‘Game Over.’ “Aw heck it. Just ain’t my day today. Let’s go sit down and talk carburetors. I’ve had my eye on a Fairlane 500. What do you ‘spose it has? A two or four in it?” asked Marty as he picked up his mug of birch beer and headed towards a table.

Jimmy motioned to Caroline the bartender to bring him his usual Genesee as he sat down next to Marty. “Ah, you got your eye on that one that’s for sale out on Ancora Road don’t you? Does that sign still say $400?”

“Oh yes, and I hope nobody can buy it before I can,” said Marty excitedly. “We’ve been paintin’ the house across the street there all week and it’s all I can do to stop from dreaming about it. I got $185 saved up now and after Dad over there gets to payin’ me for this week I should have another $100.”

“That car ain’t worth the paper the price is wrote on, Wizard. I’m telling ‘ya. I stopped by to take a look at it a few Fridays back with Rosalie and that piece of shit ain’t worth but fifty bucks.” said Jimmy. “The retractable won’t go down evenly, radio’s been ripped out and the fucking dashboard is all ripped out.”

“I saw it needed some attention, but didn’t look inside very well. Hows the engine? Did she start up?” asked Marty.

“Looked clean for a 272 but the owner had some sap story about the battery cables. Couldn’t get her to turn over once so I could hear it run. Didn’t seem like he was about to come down much on the price now either, but he’s gotta give somewhere here.” replied Jimmy.

A flash of green slapped on the table as Marty looked over his shoulder, “There you go young man. Ninety dollars pay. Ain’t bad for a boy your age now is it?” said Marty’s father above him. “I’d a gave you a hundred but I docked you for your dilly dallying.”

“Hi Mr. Berg,” greeted Jimmy standing up to shake Marty’s father by the hand.

“Hey, it’s the grease monkey,” replied Mr. Berg as he ignored Jimmy’s hand and addressed Marty again, “So you gonna catch a ride home with Jimmy here or do I have to roll you home before I order me another beer?”

“I’ll take him home, Mr. Berg,” answered Jimmy. “No problem.”

“Well, you two boys keep yourselves out of trouble now. And you Marty, get right home. Your Momma may need you to sit with your sisters tonight.”

“Yes sir,” replied Marty as he slurped down the rest of his birch beer. Jimmy did the same with his Genesee and they both stood up together. “Let’s roll.”

There were eight motorcycles lined up in a row by the time the boys exited Roscoe’s. As usual, Jimmy had to stop and adore each one of them. There were four Enfields and three Bantams but the one Jimmy loved the most was a brand new gold 1965 Harley Electra Glide that belonged to Roscoe’s brother Mario. “One of these days,” said Jimmy as he shook his head, “One of these days I’m going to sit on top of one of these bad boys and call it my own. Just you wait and see. Hey, let’s go stop and take a look at your Fairlane on the way back. Whatcha think?”

“Sounds like a plan to me,” said Marty as he hopped in Jimmy’s pick-up truck. “So are you seeing Rosalie this weekend?”

“Yup. Dinner and a movie tomorrow night. She may come out earlier for the afternoon if she’d get her chores done before noon.” Jimmy answered, “Speaking of dates, did you give anymore thought on meeting her friend Ginny?”

“Yeah, and she’s just too old for me. What is she 18 now?” asked Marty. “She’s not going to want to date a 16 year old. You know how them fresh out of high school girls are. Always falling for the older guys and their wads of cash.”

“Get out of town, Mart.” chimed Jimmy, “They’re not all like that. Ginny is such a sweet, quiet little girl. Just your type man. Just your type. Come on out to the Hammonton Carnival with me next week and just meet her,” Jimmy prodded.

“Well okay,” said Marty. “I guess just meeting her won’t hurt none. There it is,” he said pointing to the turn on Ancora Road. It’s right down there a few blocks on the left.”

The boys pulled up to the curb only to find that the Fairlane had been moved into the driveway. As they stepped out of Jimmy’s pick-up they heard what sounded like a shot gun blast only to realize the Fairlane was running and had just backfired. Out of the garage stepped a battle scarred, middle-aged man with a missing right arm extending his left hand for an awkward handshake as he tossed an oily hand towel over his right shoulder. “Howdy boys. What can I do you for?” he asked.

“I’d like to take a look at your Fairlane here Mister,” stuttered Marty. “I’ve been looking at it all....”

“What he means Sir,” interrupted Jimmy, “Is that he’s interested in taking this old clunker off your hands. I see ‘ya finally got her running this afternoon.”

“Oh I remember you boy. You’re the one who tried to Jew me down to $50 bucks a few weeks back. Did you come to your senses yet?” asked the man as Marty cringed at the Jew remark.

“Oh come on man, she’s falling apart here. Top ain’t going down quite right, her dash is torn all up. Ain’t even got a workin’ radio.” argued Jimmy as he opened the heavy, creaking driver’s side door.

The man shook his head and stated, “Watch your respects young man. Do you know how much I paid for this beauty when I first laid eyes on her? One thousand bucks boy. You probably ain’t seen that kind of money in all your life, have ya?”

“Excuse me Sir,” squeaked Marty, “May I drive her around the block to see how she rides?”

“Now that’s proper respect," said the man nodding towards Marty. "Sure boy. Go on, be careful she’s a wide turner there. Leave her some room,” the man replied as he waived young Marty off.

Jimmy leaned back on oak tree, pulled out a half pack of Kent from his shirt pocket and offered the man a smoke. As they both lit up and filled their lungs Jimmy remarked, “Listen man, I mean no disrespect. I’m sorry about that. Mart here, he’s my buddy and he’s just out and getting started. You know as much as I know that that beast is going to take a shit-load of cash to get road ready again. How long has she been sitting out here rottin’ away anyway. A year? Two?”

“I suppose you’re right about that son,” said the man as he took a drag off his cigarette holding it between his left thumb and forefinger. Flicking the ash off with his middle finger he continued, “Mac's junkyard has a bunch of part cars back in the lot. Most of what she needs can be carried out of there. You good with cars boy?”

Jimmy dragged his smoke and thoughtfully replied, “I’m Junior Mechanic down at Ray’s Garage. Picked up a lot of know how from working there this year.”

“No shit,” said the old man, “Ray and I go way back. Served in the Korean War supporting the infantry together back... oh 15 years back or so. Best damn mechanic on the field. You’re learnin’ from the best.”

Jimmy flicked his cigarette down the drive and replied, “Yeah, Ray’s a damn good boss. Fair and square. Doesn’t take too kindly to the way I style my hair much.”

“Yeah,” the man chuckled, “He’ll buzz ‘ya good if you ain’t careful. So can you do exhausts and brake jobs on your own?” he asked as he patted the trunk of his cherry red ‘63 Thunderbird. “This girl needs some work done and I’m not about to pay Ray’s prices for repairs. Let’s say we make a deal. Your friend can have the Fairlane for $100. I’ll pick up the parts needed for this baby here and you install them for me Sunday afternoon?” the man offered, flicking his cigarette and extending his left hand again to shake on this awkward deal.

“$90 and we have a deal,” countered Jimmy as they saw Marty turning the corner down the road. “His Dad jewed $10 bucks out of his pay this afternoon and that’s all he has on him.”

“That’ll do,” agreed the man as they shook hands in the driveway. “Lemme go get the title and the bill of sale,” he said as he walked back into the garage.

“Hey Wizard!” shouted Jimmy over the racing 272 engine, “Get your $90 bucks out. You done bought yourself a car!”
Stumble It! .......posted by Margaret @ 6:02 PM  
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