Everyone has dreams and schemes.
Some only build castles in the air,
Others skimp and save and plan;
While a few live realities with flair.
Maybe, just maybe, if I hadn't chased that fly ball so hard, after all it was only a scratch game and it was only the second out, if only....
"Mom...Mom what time's dinner? I'm starving," Stan wailed, frustrated that thoughts of 'that game' had disrupted the building of his rod. "Now Stanley," she always called him by his formal name even though he begged her not to, especially not in front of any of the guys. "Just be patient son it will be ready in a jiffy."
Building the rod had been difficult today. Every time he tried to work out final gear to tire size ratios his mind would wander. Sometimes he wouldn't fight it and just let the memories and fantasies take him on a trip. Most of the morning had been spent thinking about Annette. Nothing, absolutely nothing could be greater than a ride through the Burger Boy lot with Annette sitting next to him in this, the finest machine Rockville would ever see. Trouble was he not only had to actually finish the task of building, but get a license, win her love and....he didn't want to think about that...and.
Sometimes it seemed the jobs at hand were insurmountable. But, boy, oh boy if he could pull it off, he would be the coolest cat at Thomas Jefferson High. Of course, the Rod Busters and maybe even the Piston Poppers would offer him a coveted membership in their clubs.
He had palled around with Stu and Tom, both of which had Rod Busters plaques dangling from the backs of their cars. Tom had even taken him to the strip a few times in his Jimmy six-banger powered '34 Plymouth. Tom had almost always pulled trophy in D/Altered Coupe but had yet to win in C/AC, after being forced to the higher class with the installation of a roots blower.
Stan wouldn't make the mistake of just slapping a blower on a carbureted engine. He'd use a 6-71 huffer with Hilborn fuel injection. He would build for A/AC class and that way he could utilize the full potential of his 392 Chrysler Hemi. He had toyed with the idea of building a special tube frame but really didn't think he knew enough about welding and suspension systems to attempt it. Instead he believed that weight could be saved with careful body modification and drilling holes in all nonessential components. In addition, he'd do away with the fenders and running boards, channel the body and a radical 4" top chop.
On the inside he'd design two sets of interchangeable seats and removable door panels. For the strip he'd have one ultra-light bucket and no door inserts. But, when he took his best girl out or maybe entered it into a car show he'd have a rolled and pleated Naugahyde bench seat, so she could sit next to him, between the matching door panels. Yes sir, it would be some '34 Ford, fastest and best engineered in the county, the envy of all, even Annette.
The first time he saw her he was smitten but knew it wouldn't be cool to let on. She was a year younger and friends with his sister. They were only kids then. They were playing jacks on the kitchen floor one rainy day a few years ago. Annette had just moved next door and right away became best of friends with little sister Judy. He allowed them to taunt him into a game just so he could get to know her. He wasn't very good and hated to be shown up by his sister but he played anyway. He went out on five-zees.
Stan laughed to himself reminiscent of his early daydreams...of how he'd win her love by rushing into her fully inflamed house to save her. How he'd carry her unconscious body out of the burning building, covering her face with his as flames seared his arms and back; of how he'd dive into the frozen water to rescue her after she had fallen through the ice on Miller's pond. Yeah, those were kid’s thoughts. It never happened in real life, but winning the regional trophy or even Top Eliminator at the drag strip, was a sure way to impress a pretty girl, such as Annette. And that wasn't kid stuff.
He knew how it would happen, but he'd wait for the proper time when the rod was finished. She'd stop by the garage, like she does when looking for Judy and he'd show her some of the innovations he had made on the rod. She'd be impressed, as always, and then he would say something cool, like, "You're a real cool chick and I'd like..." No he couldn't use any cool cat talk. He'd have to be straight and use words that a mature man, a man who can build cars, would use. "Miss Margolis, I'd be most honored...." Naw, man, too formal. Well, he had lots of time to work on it. One thing for sure, he’d have to rehearse it. He didn't want to say something dumb like he did the time he asked Sally Truesdale to dance. Time to stop thinking and work on the rod.
The rear end would be a nine inch Ford truck with 4.56 gears turning M&H slicks mounted on either 14 or 15 inch mag wheels. All this was going to cost a ton but with the money he had saved from four years as a newspaper boy plus what he'd be earning at Toliver's Cities Service gas station he'd be able to swing it. Old man Toliver had always told him that he could have a full-time job as soon as he was old enough. Yeah, all the details were taken care of all except....