Page 22 of Dave Adventure - Episode 2
Scroll to Monday, June 8 to read this tale from the beginning of Episode 1.
Scroll to Wednesday, August 5 to pick it up at the start of Episode 2.
They spotted a diverse mix of vehicles. Nissan Waterlines, and Chevy Tangerines seemed popular, but also destined to lose. An old '47 Rattlesnake convertible gave Dave a smile, but like the others, it would put up no real fight against his P5. A few more muscular ACs filled out the rest of the pack of forty or so racers. Two Dodge Charioteers, and a Dodge Runner, a Porsche 322 Atletico, a Lexus 85X, and a Series J BMW. Among this last crop he would have his hands full, especially the other BMW. From what he knew of the Series J, it had the edge over the P5 in braking power and traction around the turns.
The driver of the Series J had curly brown hair and a deep suntan, like an image-conscious man. He also looked about twice Dave's age. An amateur. A weekend warrior. A guy with a little fiefdom that Dave had invaded. These were all possibilities. They ran through Dave's head just before their eyes met. No smile from the other side. No acknowledgment. The driver looked away to grab his gloves.
Dave sure wanted to meet him, know his name, and hear his story. There might be a lesson in there, and one worth learning.
He wondered if the guy knew Crank well enough to call him friend. Did he expect to win? Was he the guy who won the races that better drivers had to throw? Had he paid his dues by throwing races himself? Was that why, in his mid-thirties, he had never risen above the amateur ranks?
Then again, the guy might be here as a newbie, racing for his first time just like Dave.
"I've seen enough," Dave said.
"Thank you," Pegleg said. "By the way, the only car that can give you trouble here is the other Beemer."
"Depends on the drivers."
"You're the best driver. Now's the time to prove it."
When they reached their pit, an announcer came over the loudspeaker instructing all aircars to proceed to their starting positions.
Dave hopped in, and almost started the engine, but Pegleg prevented him.
"Wait. I've got to check one more thing." He raised the front hood.
Inigo sat in the corner bouncing his knees. "Got to get to the line Grant. They can't wait."
"I'm almost done," Pegleg said.
"What are you doing? You checked all that already," Inigo said.
Dave couldn't see a thing with the hood up. He heard Pegleg dig around in the tool box for something, then do whatever he did under the hood again. He closed it with a definitive thump.
"Okay. All set," Pegleg said.
"What was that?" Dave said.
"New CC plug. A little insurance."
Dave turned the key. He felt the turbine kick in, and the low hum of the power generators.
The announcer said, "Last call for all racers. Proceed to your positions please. This is your last call."
Dave backed the P5 out from the garage, feeling the heat of the sun caress his skin for a moment as it penetrated the window.
He floated forward to the lead spot, the pole position. Right behind him, and to his left, sat the Series J. The driver wore sun goggles, and a deadpan expression with jaw set in stone.
Dave would have to change a few minds about how this race would go. He'd have to hand Crank a major disappointment. He'd have to stay focused on his future, and without fear. He knew it.
In the pit, Pegleg approached Inigo, eyes unwavering. Inigo gave him furtive looks, knees bouncing, a bundle of nervous energy.
Pegleg glared until Inigo stopped his knees long enough to look up, and make eye contact.
"I know what you did," Pegleg said.
"What do you mean?" Inigo said.
Pegleg held something in his hand, small and metallic. He tossed it. Inigo fumbled at first, but held onto it. When he looked at what it was, a CC plug, but an old corroded piece of junk, his face fell to the floor. His shoulders slumped.
"I'm not going to tell him what you did in a moment of weakness, but you need to understand he is racing to win," Pegleg said.
"It may cost my life."
Pegleg kneeled to put his head even with Inigo's, and closer. "I don't know about you, but I'm tired of people threatening me."