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You have to have shoes to come in here! October 17, 2007

Posted by Glen in Uncategorized.
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    This story took place back in 1985. It was definately back in my wilder days. I was 24 and hell on wheels back then. Drinking, and a little doping made me just that, “sowing my wild oats” as the saying goes.

    Back then I was dating a young lady named Glenda. When the band The Eagles wrote the song Life In The Fast Lane surely they must have had heard about she and I.  Life was rolling along for us at an amazing speed.

  I had moved out of my Mema’s house to find myself and be “my own boss” no more having to be home by midnight or any of that other horse hockey old folks want us to be I felt. So I moved in with a couple of my friends at the time and we started our own “Bubba fraternity”. We had all that makes up that kind of deal. There was me with a 78 pontiac trans am, Tony with a 76 pontiac grand prix complete with hurst (read as hard to find) t-tops (we will be talking about this car in a few moments as its a big part of this story) also Tony’s cousin Ron who really wasn’t there much so we’ll keep this story pretty much centered on Tony’s and my experiences here.

    Of course when a couple of young bucks get out on there on all the guys and gals come to visit as hey were cool and they can be too while they’re visiting..right? WRONG! I found myself  coing home way too many times to find people hanging out inside my house for us. How so? did they have a key? No, Tony showed em all a neat trick on opening the door by wiggling the door handle back and forth a few times. I didn’t say Tony was the brightest bulb in the factory did I now? So after a few run ins with this I changed the door knob on the front door.

   Okay another thng about our “Bubba Palace” the bathroom was very small, How small your wondering? Well lets see if I can paint a picture for you here. Opening the door to get to the shower, one had to step in and immediately step over the commode to walk to it. Yes there was literally no space between the commode and wall in front of it.

    One thing I forgot to mention here is the land lord was my boss at the local parts store. The first week I had moved in there I was late on the first day. When I walked in he had a smile on his face seeing me. I am like never late for work as a rule. He laughed and said “let me guess, you fell asleep sitting on the commode”. I asked how did you know? he said c’mon man I lived there for 6 years I know. He was right as sitting down you could barely lean forward and have your head resting against the cool wall. And I did, till this day I remember how comfortable that cool wall was against my right cheek as I dozed there on the throne.

   On sunday afternoons Tony and I as well as many of our male friends would sit around the picnic table outside and sip on drinks and brag about how our weekend had been. Ron would talk about the many strippers he’d paid for fun, like I said he wasn’t much in the picture as the first month rent was due he had no money left over from the strip club. Tony would tell us how the next weekend he was going to try once again to tag his girlfriend and hope he’d be successful this time. We had another friend that was damn near married to his girl as they did it all and was almost as good as married. He wasn’t allowed out of her sight at all. If you saw one of them the other was not far away. As with me Glenda and I did a lot. We’d meet up after work and she’d come over and we’d hang out in my room for a while before I’d take her home. She and Tony didn’t get along too well, but I would remind her how he and I were room mates and we all needed to get along. One night while she and I were laying down in my room I hear Tony and Ron getting into an argument about the due rent money. I ignored it for a while till I heard what sounded like a large mass hitting the ground outside my window. It was Tony and Ron getting into a tussle. Ron had picked up the smaller Tony and body slammed him onto the ground. I started to shout at them to calm down. What I saw happen next I didn’t think was humanly possible. Tony started chasing Ron around the yard running and kicking him in his ass at the same time. If I tried that myself I’d be laying on my back.

     Now lets touch on Tony’s car to sort of give you some background on one of the “stars” of this story. It was the last year of the large grand prixs from pontiac. In 1976 and 1977 you could buy these cars with aftermarket glass T-Tops meaning they were out there but did not leave the factory with them. That alone reaks the word “RARE”. Right after purchasing this car used from our boss at the parts store we worked at Tony asked me if I could install some seals in the t-tops for him. I don’t or now should I say Used to not back down from anything. I went at it like I had installed 1000’s of em. Truth be known this was my first set. The driver’s side went like a cakewalk. The passenger side was going good till we clamped the top down only to hear a loud cracking sound and we looked just in time to see the glass all shatter and fall into the passenger seat. I was sick over that one.

    Being it was summer time in florida one thing we could count on was daily showers from the skies above. And we did, Tony had no other transportation so he had to drive the car around and put a tarp over it when parked.

    Sure he found t-tops here and there but none for the right hand side. Well wait he did once but as the guy was bringing it to the counter he bumped it against something breaking it and Tony’s heart. After several months a customer came into the store one day and had a junker on the back of his truck with not one, but both of the hard to find t-tops on the hook headed for the junk yard. I struck up a conversation and got them for Tony for a song and a dance so to speak. 

    One night Glenda, myself, her brother Dickie and his girlfriend Lisa all went to the drive in movies. Rather than all of us squeazing into my T/A we went in Tony’s car. That gave us all plenty of room to stretch out in. We sat through the first show and part of the second and got pretty tanked up on booze and what have you. Dickie decided we should leave and go for a ride in our borrowed “luxo cruiser” we did. One of the many places visited was a 7-11 store where the woman would not let me use the bathroom. Instead I went outside and relieved myself on the side of the building. Why was I to care, I was pretty drunk at this point. Our next stop was a do drop in of a red neck bar in Tampa that I’m more than sure still operates to this day, Starkeys Lounge. Its the kind of bar that they search you for a gun before going in, and if they find you don’t have one don’t mind loaning you one for while your in there.

  Our first attempt of entering this watering hole we were stopped as it became noticed I was only wearing one flip flop. The man at the door informed me “sir you have to have 2 shoes on to enter our lounge” we left and retraced our steps finding it at the 7-11 I had pissed on their wall. I guess I had pee’d so much I created a puddle and my shoe got stuck in the mud. I rinsed it off and proceeded back to Starkeys.

    Upon arriving there a man out in the parking lot whistled and made cat calls at Glenda. We went over to his car a late 70’s ford fairmont and I pounded a large dent in his trunk as he was stuck in the parking lot from oncoming traffic and could not pull out upon doing his wolf calls. 

    We went on in to have a drink or two afterwards and then we planned on leaving. Well that was it 2 drinks as it was getting late and we were back out the door. What we found when arriving at Tony’s car was very disturbing. This guy had returned and broke every ounce of glass in Tony’s car. Even the little opera style windows were knocked out. My companions didn’t seem to be too worried as it was no skin off their backs but I was like Dammit!!!

     Their responses were what are you going to do? I said all I can do is call the cops. They’re like were outa here then. I said why? Well apparantly they were all wanted for one thing or another. So here I was in the parking lot of a honky tonk bar with my room mate’s car sporting no glass windows all of it either laying inside the car or on the ground outside of it with a bunch of wanted felons..this could only happen to a sucker like me I thought. Dickey reminded me “Glen you know the cops will  get you for attempting to drive home while drinking” I said don’t worry seeing this and knowing I have to tell Tony what happened is enough to sober me up as it really had at that point. This guy breaking out the windows really screwed up my damned high.

    The first thing I did was to call the cops, secondly I called Tony and woke him from a dead sleep as I told him he was screaming and crying at the same time. I visioned him chasing me in the yard and kicking me in the ass at the same time as he did Ron. My drinking buddies all bid me farewell and walked from there saying they didn’t want to go back to jail or whatever institution they were headed to or escaped from.

    I patiently awaited the fuzz as passerbyers went by gawking at my issue at hand. After an hour or so deputy dawg showed up and wrote up the complaint. He asked how I planned on getting the car home. I told him I was going to drive it. He looked surprised as there was no windshield as I had removed most of what was left of it all and placed it in the trunk.

    On my way home I thought long and hard about mine and Tony’s friendship and it was killing me that this had happened to him as he had been through so much.

    After arriving he came out the door not saying a word to me and sat in his car crying. He cranked the engine and revved it to try and get his hostillities out on it. The damned engine revved but would not blow as thats what he was trying to do, ( did I mention Tony was a little on the immature side as well?) he got out and asked me what I was planning on doing about it. I told him I would replace the glasses for him. He asked if I remembered how hard it was to find the t-tops? I said being it was me that found the replacements before yes I do believe I know. I also offered him my Trans Am till we got him dealt with. I would just need a ride to and from work.

    The next morning Tony was still bent about things which I didn’t blame him, I needed a ride to work and he said it was sunday he didn’t need the car to just drive there myself.

   That morning as I sat at work with a hang over from hell the phone rung. I answered it and it was a man asking if we sold body repair supplies. I assured him we did, he then asked if I was experienced in the art form of fixing dents. I said some of them I was. I asked how large of a dent? He said about the size of a fist in the trunk lid of a fairmont. I said why yes I have a little experience in dents just like that. I told him in fact to come on down as I was a little slow and I’d be glad to help him out with his dent. I thought this is the asshole that broke Tony’s windows, I was going to give him some more dents but only in his forehead. The guy on the phone started laughing at me i’ll bet you do know about dents….I then realized it was Dickie and he asked if I had made it home okay. I said yes but no thanks to you assholes. He said c’mon man were not cop friendly you know. So afterwards I went by his sister’s house and we sat around talking over what had transpired after they left. he offered to help me replace Tony’s windows. I graciously accepted.

    Well the next day Tony dropped me off to work as I went about phoning around looking for glass. That afternoon he called me laughing at me telling me I’d have to find a way home as my car was no longer running. He said the engine quit on him around 130, I said what do you mean 130? he said miles per hour. I said you took my tired car that fast? he laughed and said yes I did, and by the way paybacks are hell aren’t they?

    so here we were stranded with no car cause Mr. Immature had to go and blow my engine up. Well the joke turned to be on him as I worked for a guy that also sold cars and he had a sweet little 68 mustang (tony’s original trade in for the Grand Prix) and he was hot and heavy wanting my T/A. I made the trade and afterwards told Tony to get out of the house. At that point I felt all deals were off on me fixing his car. He moved as I asked him to going back home.

   After a month or so later I too returned back home to my Mema’s house deciding her rules were’nt that stiff and she really needed me to help her out some around the house. I never had stopped doing things for her, but at the same time she now had me close at hand.

   I also cleaned house at the same time of Glenda and her family deciding she and her lifestyle just weren’t for me. They later moved in right next door to my grandmother but I kept her and the rest of em a distance away from me.

   Looking back now at those days they weren’t the best, I also look back and wish now that Mema’s gone I had not went out searching for myself yet stayed home with her and spent as many a day with her while she was with us on this earth.

  I believe in this saying and try and live by it. “If we didn’t have bad days we’d not know what good ones were”.

   

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Niggers or Niggas WTF? October 10, 2007

Posted by Glen in Uncategorized.
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     As I have stated in an earlier post on here I don’t like the “N” word and lord knows the african american (most of em) don’t either. Just the slight mention of this word can either land you in a fist fight or a law suit. So where am I going with this? Here goes……

   Last night I was standing on my doorstep as my finace’ Maria took Milton (our beloved Jack Russel Terrier) for a walk. A car pulled up at the duplex across the street I’d guess about 100 or better yards away. The door opened up and an african american got out of it. What got out behind him was an absurd noise clearly breaking any noise ordinance on the books in any city.

    What I heard was the “N” word spewing out of this hoopty. It went something like this..”Nigga you can fuck me Nigga you can fuck my momma” you get the idea I hope. I heard the “N” word and the “F” word I’d say no less than 25-30 times in less than 2 minutes.

     This raises some questions to me….First of all does the rest of the world want to hear all that crap coming out of your car or from anywhere for all that matters? I’ll be the first to say HELL NO! That kind of crap doesn’t need to be heard anywhere let along as loud as it was playing. I mean these same people get out of their cars at convenience stores leaving it playing loudly they get out of their cars and go and knock on doors (like last night) leaving it playing… Okay I know whats on some people’s minds right now and I’ll address it right now… I don’t think Freebird should be same as Stairway to Heaven should be either, so please don’t take this as a Hate Post.

     What other questions does it raise you wonder? I thought you’d never ask.. The word Nigger and Nigga are just the same to me if not please someone stop me here. I mean if I tell you theres tomatoes or tomahtoes in your salad you get the idea right? Same way if someone calls me Fat or Fisat its the same and believe me I’m going to take offense in some way. So whats the give?

    Lets face it people as long as we allow those around to keep using this word hate crimes are still going to have that trade mark word involved with them.

    Do I believe theres such a breed as a Nigger? Well truth be told NO I don’t think its a breed of person I believe its a way of life coming in all colors of the spectrum. Those that want to prescribe to that way of life…please stay away from me as I try and distance myself from those ways.

    I don’t see any person as a color, many years back while working at one of the independant parts stores in my career I was approached by a black man and things were definately not going to his advantage as his car required a part that cost more than we had anticipated in the beginning. I was accused of being a racist as the price was too high in this man’s way of thinking. He said you raised the price because I’m black. To his surprise one of my customers that proved to be a true friend was standing close by and for one overheard this accusation and also was a vlack gentleman as well. He approached this situation immediately and I quote him as this..”Look  BROTHER, I can tell you that if this man is telling you a price this is the price he is a fair man as I deal with him proffesionally all the time and if I can attest to one thing, he’s very color blinded to one’s skin color” the accuser at that point in time took on a whole new look on his face looked at the man speaking to him shook his head in a yes manner as to say thank you and immediately stuck out his right hand and shook mine saying he was sorry for the accusation. At that point we finished our transaction and he too became a good customer and friend from there on out.

 May peace and love be with you all….Words from a simple man

Marathon Munchkin October 9, 2007

Posted by Glen in Uncategorized.
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    As I have pointed out in the past all of my stories are “real deals” meaning non-fiction. I agree to write the things on here and tell it like it is. If sometimes I take a fall as the punch line, well it was that way. I really did.

       I have a good friend named Barry back home in Tampa. When I was going through my divorce in 1997 I shared Barry’s home with him. Barry and I met back in 1985 and have been great friends since then.

      Anyhow I was dating around some back in the day. Before internet dating there was telephone chatline dating. We thought that was the cutting edge thing in the day. What would happen on the line is a person would record a message about who they were and what they were looking for much like an answering machine message would be. Sometimes a person would try and come up with a catchy name or phrase to try and get someone interested.

       These chat lines also broke things down by what the particular person was looking for. There was the “long term” category for those looking to meet “Mr or Ms. Right” the casual category for those seeking “Mr. or Ms. Right for Right Now” then the third and final category was the “exotic encounters category” for well you get the idea.

    One night after listening to what seemed like the same old same old on the first 2 lines I decided to take a walk on the wild side and see what I had been missing. I heard all kinds of freaky people looking for other freaky people. Couples looking for other couples, as well as looking for members of both sexes to come into their bedroom for encounters not even mentionable on here I feel.

     After a many a “hit 2 for the next one” moments there was a brief pause and then a woman’s voice came over the reciever saying ” Look into the sky, is it a bird, is it a plane, no.. its Marathon Munchkin! A short yet attractive woman that sees no color nor any discriminations> Leaping over men of all sizes bringing a halt to prmature ejauculations, willing to try any fantasy once…I was like Dammit Man what the hell was all this?

    I let my curiosity get the best of me that boring night and left a message for the munchkin lady thinking I’m sure her calendar is so full I’ll never hear from this one.

     Several days later my phone rung and looking at the caller ID I had no idea of to who it might be. I said hello, a voice came over is this Glen? I said yes it is. She then said hey Glen this is Lisa from the chatline, you left a message for me.  In the next moment of silence I was pondering Lisa , hmmm I don’t remember a Lisa. At that point her realizing I was wondering who the heck she was she said you know “Marathon Munchkin”  Forgetting to mention I was in my car and she had called my cell phone I nearly drove off the highway at that point. I was like I’m on my way home and will be there in 5 minutes, can I call you right back ( cellular air time in those days was billed at 25 cents a minute) She said sure. I was like damn she really did call.

    I rushed into my room after arriving and called her back after catching my breath. We talked a little bit me making very small talk. After a short time later she paused and said “So Glen when would you like to meet for some action” I nearly swallowed my tongue at that point. I was like wow, this is fast, but then again I was the one calling the exotic line. I was like well maybe in a couple of days maybe. She replied okay we can do that. After getting that part of the conversation behind us I was able to go back just making conversation with her.

     I had already told some of my friends both male and female about this person and all through the next few days that seemed to be the topic of a many a conversation. On the chosen day I got off work and headed for the place I was to meet Lisa at. It was an irish pub in the next county, one of the ones with the taller stools and tables.

    I sat at the table all nervous like and halfway watching the door open and seeing this person and that person walk in and out. After a while I saw the door open yet no one walk in. After a few seconds I could see what looked like the top of a persons head coming toward the table I was like Good Heavens” ! No way a child is coming into a pub! The person stopped at the table I was at and climbed up the stool. At that point I could see it was a woman’s face yet a body no taller than four and a half feet. I was like “oh god” being the person I am I went on and we talked about little things here and there. After a while I was trying to figure out how I was going to get out of our “exotic encounter”. So Lisa asks so why don’t we get out of this place and go somewhere not so loud. I reluctantly agreed, I have to admit in life I have taken more than my share for the team. My sister and I used to joke about dating and having a cyanide capsule attatched in our mouth that we would bite down on during these occasions. So we go out to my mustang and she crawls in..literally we started driving around, she suggests that we go back to my place. I think oh bloody hell thats a long drive. But I figure that’ll give myself some time to figure a way out or maybe she’ll fall asleep along the way.  So we get there and I suggest we sit on the couch in the livingroom and get to know each other a little better. I can tell she’s getting a little impatient about it but she agrees to do so. Soooo..after a little bit I’m sitting there she leans over and sort of crawls up a bit and is laying on my shoulder talking very close to my face. I swear her whole arm is the same length as my forearm. All of a sudden I hear my chance at a relief. The back door opens and Barry walks in.  I feel like I’m in a movie and the hero makes it onto the set. He walks through on the way to his room and I introduce him to Lisa aka Marathon Munchkin, he says hi and continues to walk on. I think damn I was hoping she might see him and become interested in following him. A few moments later my phone rings and its Barry, I answer it and he asks me “brother what are you doing with that little kid in there” he didn’t even notice she was in her mid 30’s! What a fish head he was! I think fast and say “what your car’s acting up, at this hour? yeah okay give me about an hour to drive Lisa home and I’ll be able to help you. As I hang up Barry is asking what? He later figures things out. I sorrowly tell Lisa that we’ll have to postpone things to come as  friend has just called and told me he has major car problems and list off a laundry list of thingas

You gonna run that junk? October 8, 2007

Posted by Glen in Uncategorized.
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     First of all let me say this before I start this next story…

   I am about to write a story about a very dirty word in today’s society…”Street Racing”

   In today’s society visions of small cars..Hondas, Toyotas, Nissans, “Rice Rockets” if you will Even ugly asses Saturns..all of them with 18″ to 20″ tires with what we old fellows call “Fart Can” mufflers. Stickers written in japanese saying whatever hell for all I know they could “say I sleep with my sister for fun” Then they have the gauges all inside the interior now called “cock pits” like their some kind of fighter jet or something…

   Back in the days we had a nitrous oxide system that carried “jets” that could deploy anywhere between 50 horsepower to 500 horsepower of nitrous oxide into our carbureted engines.  These little punks these days now call it “NOS” I need some NOS for my car and it comes now in 50-100 hp “shots” . These guys these days don’t even have a clue thanks to fast and furious movies. The term “NOS” is actually the name of one of the nitrous oxide companies out there. Nitrous Oxide Systems. So yeah it makes my skin crawl when I hear those terms.

   One last thing before I start the story, In our days “street racing” took place in a marked off distance. More than likely a quarter or eighth mile. We went to a desilant highway and parked and the only two going at a time were the participants. The winner was just that “the winner” nowadays these kids are driving through busy streets at high rates of speed with no concern for other drivers along the path and I’ve even heard incidents as to where if the wrong person won the challenge there could be an eruption of gunfire. BY ALL MEANS AM I TO EVER CONDONE THOSE ACTIONS!!

   Okay on with the story….

   Back in the days of my high school days I would drive a car that would hold its own for the most part and be near stock as it was as well. Sure there might of been a kid in our parking lot from time to time that might of had a faster car, but not with the reputaion I carried. Normally we’d scare em with our entrance or maybe just because.

    We were “wild eyed boys” to say the least. My best friend at the time Dennis and I were a force to be reckoned with. Growing up as neighboring friends riding our bicycles around evolving a year apart as automobile drivers soon thereafter.

   In high school I bounced back and forth between driving a ford or a chevrolet. My best chevrolet to the day then was a 1966 impala super sport. It was a beautiful butternut yellow and Dennis had a matching colored 1967 chevrolet malibu. His car came with a 283 cubic inch engine. When I bought my impala it had no engine in it. I bought a 350 engine from an uncle and man did it smoke after installing it. My dad later on bought and sold salvage cars and I found one with  396 big block that we later installed. That in itself brought me prestige. I was the only boy at that time at school with a bona fide big block engine in my car. Honestly by today’s standards that car was slow. But given the fact of the massive sized valve covers and growl the exhaust made would make a many a person back down .

    Moving forward to past graduation I was working at a small local parts store. I became friends with a guy named Chris that had a “Bangin” camaro. I loved it when he’d pull up as this beast was sounding like something from the track.

    Chris was a typical “know it all yankee” bottom line if it had been done he had done it. But man did that camaro speak volumes to me. I told him so and his reply was “stick around kid I’ve got something better than that junk going together”.

   Chris and I started hanging around and yes he did have something a little better. It was a 1969 Chevelle and it was pretty cool and quick as well in those days standards it was atleast. The only downfall was his smart assed attitude all the time. I found myself a many a time not really liking being around him, but being 21 and part of a car that went as fast as that one seemed was pretty cool.

    Over time I introduced Chris to our circle of buddies. Guys that all had what we deemed “street cars” meaning a car that was a definate boulevard bruiser of sorts. They all seemed fast but didn’t have all the neck snapping features that old chevelle had.

   We all would meet and go out in search of prey from time to time looking for hapless victims. We’d run up on a youngster that had a car that was at the school and tell him we had a guy outside with a pocketfull of money that was quickly dwindling as he was losing race after race and did they want some of the action before all the cash was gone. They’d follow us back to where we had Chris and his car stashed and continue luring them into certain defeat.

    After a while we were pretty known and couldn’t get any kind of races. We even resorted to offering deals like 10 or 20 car length head starts…Nada Zip Zilch the fishing hole had been fished out.

    With this came the saga of looking to the big city of drag racing. We had always heard of the “Tampa Airport” area where the big boys raced. There was rumors of a guy named Jeff Bushey From Jeff’s Speed Shop unloading his trailored 1967 camaro named “Iron Man” to race against a then active player for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by the name of Richard “Batman” Woods in his V8 powered Vega. But that all was way before our time. We’d also had heard about the racing across a well known bridge that connected the counties of Hillsborough and Pinnellas and it was several miles of very traction retaining cement. It also had emergency lanes on both sides of the bridge so there was ample parking for all the spectators and such. But keep in mind if you were unlucky enough to be a felon and we were boxed in by the state troopers your only source of getaway was over the side and that could be a very long swim to get away. Also if there was any type of catastrophic failure to your car (read wreck) you’d probably go over as well and hope you could get out in time before sinking into the dark waters of Tampa Bay.

   So we go out there with our smart assed yankee racer. We showed up at the local Burger King finding us (about 12 guys) and them (about 300 guys and their girlfriends) all standing out in the parking lot. There had to be atleast 100 street racers sititng in the parking lot.

    We ran up on a 1970 1/2 camaro and not sure if it was suffering from starter failure or too much compression in the engine but once it was push started it sounded pretty radicle. I was the guy bankrolling the money for the races that night and to be honest all I really had to lose was $25 and it was scared money I really couldn’t afford to lose at that.

   Chris announced he had aquired a race for the night and it was that before said camaro. I was like you sure? he said don’t worry we got him. I reluctantly unhanded the hard earned green. We drove out to the bridge and I ran to the finish line…my god a quarter mile is a long way for an out of shape 21 year old to run. They lined up and you could hear the engines revving way up as they lunched the cars Thats where the thrill of illegal racing gets its best. Watching your friend’s car running hard against another and knowing your not footing the bill when parts go to scattering.

    So we line up against this guy and I think of how back then it took me 5 hours of work to earn the money I’m about to lose to this push start camaro. They take off and I can hear  Chris’s chevelle winding out strong. He shifts and I hear the loud chirp of his rear tires as it hits a hard second these guys are neck and neck all the way till the finish line and all of a sudden the camaro fell back in the final last 25 feet of the race. I CAN’T BELIVE IT!! WE WON!!

    I run for my ride to the other end of the bridge all excited about doubling my money and thinking we need to leave before Chris pulls off another stunt like this. When we get back to the Burger King I retrieve my now $50 and say okay I’m pretty beat lets leave. Chris says hang on for a little while its only 1am its still early.

   Out of the not so far distance I hear the rumbling of something fast..No I didn’t see how fast, it just sounded fast. Across the street I see a 1967 mustang notchback waiting to turn in to the Burger King. Its a couple of different colors as it looks like it was cobbled between a couple of different donor cars. Its black in some places and gold in others. It has a white fiberglass hood on it and man does it sound mean. He pulls into a parking spot and I here someone say its “Big Dannie”.

    Most of the locals walk over to this monster with four tires and remind me of a pack of dogs when the big one shows up all of the little ones want to smell his butt to see where he’s been.

    “Big Dannie” gets out of the car, mind you I say “Big” this guy looks more like he should of been in the ring with Hulk Hogan as his tag team partner. He has a United Speed World tee shirt on and he’s filling all of the XL size out on it. Not fat mind you, his muscles looked like they had muscles. On the other side a short young lady gets out and she’s wearing a matching USW shirt and she’s filling out the top part right nicely.

    The locals are all talking to Dannie and they point towards our car and before long he’s headed our way. He makes his way toward Chris, which by this time is a few beers to the wind (another pet peave I have DUIing), Dannie says so you think this junk is fast I hear. Chris drunkenly says “it’ll hold its own against most of this road junk out here”. Dannie is starting to bow up and says well then good you won’t have any objections to running may car then. Chris once again smarts out by saying I doubt it. 

   Dannie moves over to his car and asks Chris if he’d like to inspect the car thats getting ready to completely clean his clock. Chris hearing the car had a 351 cleveland engine in it replies “if you’ve seen one piece of cleveland junk you’ve seen it all” .

    This enrages Big Dannie to the point he’s yelling your gonna look at the engine thats gonna whip your ass and if it doesn’t I’m going to! As Dannie is saying this he’s bouncing his finger tip off the hood of the car and I can literally see the front fenders of the car moving and here the front coil springs creaking as he does so.

   I tell Chris you’d better listen to this guy as there’s enough of them here to all stand in line 12 deep to kick each of our asses. I also at this time figure the $50 in my pocket has Big Dannies name on it as well.

    Big Dannie’s friends (if he really had any) finally convinced him he didn’t need to show off any mechanics under the hood if we didn’t want to see it. I personally wanted to, but that was in the days that I didn’t speak my mind.

    We head out to the bridge I see Dannie has pulled into the Gulf station and has his back seat pulled up in his car doing something. What he was doing we found out was turning on the valve to the nitrous oxide bottle before going over the bridge.

   Needless to say it was another seemingly long jaunt for my out of shape body to the finish line to await the sure severe beating we were about to have doled out to us. I heard both the cars heat the tires before staging. Then the usual flash of the headlights to let the starting guy know they were ready. Our car had its headlights on the mustang just ran his parking lights. They left and I could hear our chevelle running through the gears and see it running down the road okay, but the real gut wrencher was seeing that mustang flying like it was. It had us by atleast 5 car lengths to say the least. Upon reaching where we were it flashed its headlights 3 times as to add injury to insult as it flew by. The car was exceptionally quiet for being so fast. Chris saw that he had none the chance by about half track and slowed to pick us up knowing I’d be even more heated at things having lost all of the money and having to foot it back to get a ride.

    Back at the Burger King we had to listen to all of the “if you’ve seen one cleveland junk you’ve seen em all” B/S so we didn’t hang around long.

     So it was back to Plant City the few weeks following preying on some different guys and telling those we had already beaten that the car had became slower with us having to change engines because we had lost our good one in a lost race.

    We even sand bagged some of the races losing to much slower cars just to get the others to thinking we were really telling the truth. We even at first primered the car to mask it to some but the losing was what we needed to do after a month or so we were back on top and once again standing around with our dorks in our hands with no racing action.

    The following week on friday I saw an article dealing with street racing in Tampa Bay. It was in the Tampa Tribune. I was like a GI getting a post card from home reading it over and over. There was a new spot we’d never heard of andwe thought atlast a new place to roam.

     That morning we rode over to check out the new “fishing hole”. We saw the spot and decided to come back that night, we rushed home as our car was in pieces from freshining the engine up and we’d better get busy .

     My friend Dennis arrived home around 6 and I went over to tell him we were going over in the 6 cylinder chevelle we drove around to chaise parts in to see what was happening and sort of scout the place out some.

     When we got there, a plenty a car was there and 100 or less people were out and about around there cars. we saw some of them drinking beer or mixed drinks from the red dixie cups and got out to look around. Chris was already pretty lit, (should of been my sign to go home from that) We asked who was who and Chris spoke up saying he wanted to know who the baddest M/fer was there. By saying “baddest” he meant “fastest” they all pointed to a tall slender man leaned against a red primered duster with cragar wheels on it. The car was primered and had a white six pack scoop on the hood. I looked at my article in my pocket and recited what the author of the article said. “The red duster cranks his engine as he pulls away, it sounds like a prostock engine at the very least”. I say Chris this guy’s got some real engine in his car, Chris turns to remind me we do too, (I know we do, but we also have a driver that on a good sober day has reaction times that I’ve seen people laying with pennies in their eyes better at) He walks up to the duster and were now face to face with the owner.

    The owner ( Howell) is leaning against his car drinking out of one of the now familiar dixie cups. He’s around 6 ft tall wearing a pair of levis and penny loafer shoes. He has a white button down shirt and hair combed with a sort of cowlick hairdo. He greets us with a “hey dude hows it going” sporting a smirk/smile that tells us he’s the king of this parking lot.

    Chris says “I hear your the king here” Howell smiles and says I come here but I don’t know about being king and sort of chuckles as most everyone around him is doing the same thing.

    Howell asks Chris if he’s talking about racing, what does he have to run with. Chris says I have a 69 chevelle. Howell replies that if were talking about the one we drove up in, than were waisting our time as well as his. Chris says no I have another car at home that should do the trick.

    This immediately brings loud laughter from Howell. He says let me get this right…You’ve came out here tonight to race me but you forgot to bring your car… Laughter bursts out from all over at this point. Chris says no we didn’t forget the car, (at this point he’s starting to get disturbed) he goes on to tell the group how he had a couple of finishing touches to get it going mainly the tightening of 3 bolts in the torque converter and filling the transmission with fluid. 

    At this point Howell is not looking too amused, he tells Chris to come back another time when we have something to talk about. Chris at this point is ticked off saying something smart and saying well if he wasn’t interested in racing then thats how it was.  Howell asks Chris what he’s talking about. chris replies his car can be ready in about 2 hours. Howell says it’s already getting late by the time we go back and fix our junk and drive back it’ll be a long while yet. Chris says well come to our place in 2 hours and we’ll be ready for you.

    Howell then asks if we were to have a race and if I were to beat you, which I’m sure I will, how much can you afford to pay me? Chris replies with “half a rock” This brings a big smile and laughter from the man leaning against the red duster. Howell at that point asks ” Who are you fucking Fred Flintstone”? The whole crowd now is howling… After the laughter dies down, Howell says “I’ll tell you what, I’ll be there in 2 hours, if theres no car there you’d better know how to handle yourself physically because this isnt for fun mister” Chris acknowledges this is for real.

    We leave Dennis behind to show the group how to get to our neck of the woods. Chris and I drive back to Dover to do some thrashing on the “dragster” as Chris calls it.

    Thrashing is an easy word with what went on. We had some serious assembly to get done, yet we’d done it so many times it was second nature for us.

    A couple hours later we were driving our way to the strip os road we raced on in southeastern hillsborough county. When we first arrived there was nothing in sight. We left to go try the car out one more time and readjust the timing (which meant unfastening the fiberglass front clip) we set it one last time and went back to see if we had company yet. What I saw at this point was no less than 100 cars on the side of the once vacant road sides.

    I said at that point ” I think they made it” Chris’s reply was a somber “no shit” . I got out of the car and walked over to see the 2 racers hand their money over to the person picked to hold it. I was about to make my way to the finish line as thats where I always stood during these matches and Howell said which one of you is going to show me the quarter. I raised my hand volunteering. He said get in the car and show me then.

   We hopped in and he looked at me face to face and said ” what you see in here and down the road is where it stays, if I hear you’ve told that other guy how this car runs I’m coming to kick your ass” I replied don’t worry as I want to be let out at the finish line anyways. He reaches over and flips a couple of switches and turns the key and this beast roars to life. He shifts it into 1st gear and we speed to the end as we pass the finish line I nervously tell him that the blurry white line we just crossed was it.

     He turns around and launches the car hard and sprays the nitrous almost immediately it seems. Coming up on the finish line he stops to let me out reminding me of our deal. I say don’t worry as the other car is at the end and I’m here.

    I walk over to Dennis, also standing at the finish line. Dennis asks me “hows it run” I tell him “were going to get our asses smoked on this one” we both laugh sheepishly knowing Chris is about to get taken down a few notches.

    The cars do their burn outs and line up, I see ours on the far side of the road. We even have our guy start the race. Using him always gave us an advantage as he’d tell the racers “I’m going to point at each of you, as soon as both of you have been pointed at I’ll raise my hands and you take off”. That was all good for us anyway as we had our deal set that he’d point at the opponent first and be nice and slow then point at us last and immediately raise his hands. So our deal was as soon as he pointed at us to hit the gas as he’d lift as soon as he pointed. Leaving the other guy off keel as we had moved so slow and smooth pointing at him yet jerking our hands up as soon as we got the point.

    At any rate the race started as it did above, Chris being slow reacting lost already 2 car lengths right off the bat. Howell was out on him badly at first. Chris’s car took off and I thought we’d pull the duster some at first.

    Story be told, we looked as if we’d forgot to even put an engine in our car that night. The duster beat us by atleast 15 car lengths. Of course Chris had every excuse in the book about our new found friend cheating on him. But the truth be known Chris had his own bag of tricks as well, hence the starting line tactics with our guy starting the race.

     We basically got our lunch handed over to us by a better racer and that was all there was to it. Over the next few weeks the duster showed up at our hangout in town once or twice and that alone just set Chris off like crazy. He bagan to hate to hear the word “Howell” or “Duster”. I made sure to try and fit it in as much as possible in our conversations.

    Over time I found Howell was an employee of one of my customers and would always make it a point to say hello if I was delivering a part there or whatever. He seemed like a nice guy for the most part and over time we lost contact with each other. As a matter a fact not too long after all this we all sort of lost contact with each other for one reason or another.

     In November of 1999 I got a call at my job from a customer asking for a part. I took his information and asked his name so I could return his call after getting it in for him from the warehouse. Low and Behold it was Howell! I asked if he remembered me and that night racing some small town boys. He replied he seemed to remember something about it. After a few moments of chit chat we had it all worked out as far as how things were back then. We made great friends from that point on and still am today. Howell refers to me as “The Mr. Haney of used auto parts” gaining that title from my wheeling and dealing and from the character off of the show Green Acres. I wear that title proudly. I also got reaquainted with  Chris a year or so later. I even went as far as taking Howell out to visit Chris and they became friends as well.

    To this day even with me living in North Carolina Howell and I still stay in touch atleast once a week.

    Friends like Howell Thompson only come along once in a lifetime. I’m blessed to have him as a friend as he’s not the typical yes man kind of friend. One of his favorite sayings is “If it quacks like a duck”.