Dune Buggy Debutantes (part 3)
the two of them leaned against each other, exhausted but feeling good, and examined their handiwork.
It almost looked like a living thing. It sat low, just a few inches off the stained garage floor, and looked like a tiger ready to spring. Its tires were wide and so black they seemed to suck in the light around them. Its ever-so-crooked front bumper and slanted headlights gave it a sneering visage, like it was looking at the two of them and found them lacking. Its silver roll bars and frame glinted in the oily light, dazzling the eye.
“The Excalibur,” Alexander exhaled, misting Lenore in a cloud of Big League Chew and Mountain Dew. “I honestly thought we'd never get it built, but there it is.”
“I knew we'd do it,” Lenore said. “With Burgess on our side, how could we not finish it?”
“Yeah, about that,” Alexander began, getting up and picking up some of the tools that were scattered around the garage. “what is up with that guy, anyway?”
“What do you mean?”
“What do I mean'? The guy's weird, is what I mean. He talks to himself, he smells strange, and why did he make us keep listening to that same Flock of Seagulls song over and over again?”
“He calls it 'montage-ing', Lenore sighed. “I think he's just really superstitious or something. He seems to think this buggy frame is mystical or something.”
“You know, I didn't want to say anything....”
“Yeah,” Lenore said hesitantly. “What?”
“Well,” Alexander stammered, fidgeting with a fan belt he'd picked up. “Do you remember building this buggy? I mean, like actually welding parts and dropping the engine block in and stuff?”
“Sure I do. You do too, you were there.”
“I remember the digging the frame out of a pile of diapers. I remember hauling it here on a trailer and dancing around to that damn song while holding tools. I remember ordering parts on the internet and signing for them when they got delivered. I remember you trying on different outfits at the mall in front of Burgess and I....”
“That was pretty weird, I'll give you that.”
“But I don't remember actually touching this thing.”
Alexander saw Lenore consider what he was saying and for a moment she looked at the silver buggy suspiciously. Then, as if someone behind her face was controlling the muscles, she shifted her attention to him and glared at him.
“It isn't a thing,” she hissed. “It's The Excalibur and it's going to win me the Sandblaster 5000 Dune Buggy Race Of Doom. It's going to help me beat Veronica VanTassal and if you aren't with me then you’re against me, got it?”
The venom in her eyes and voice made Alexander step back a pace, straight into a bucket of old oil. He could feel it flow over his socks and settle down into his shoe.
“Nice boot, egghead,” came a deep voice from the garage door. “You should get a matching pair.”
Lenore and Alexander turned toward the voice. Standing in the large doorway, the sun silhouetting his muscled frame, stood Biff Lonegan. Captain of the wrestling and football teams, shoo-in for prom king, and (worst of all, thought Alexander) the object of Lenore's affection since the third grade.
“Nice buggy,” Biff said as he strode in, shooting Alexander a quick sneer. He shifted his focus to Lenore and gave her a smile. “Did you build this yourself?”
“Yeah,” she answered dreamily. She snapped out of it a bit and stared at the floor, embarrassed. “I had some help. Alexander here and an guy I met at the dump....”
“The dump? Whatever. Look, you want to go get a coffee or something?”
“Really?” Lenore asked, clutching the tire iron she had been holding to her chest. “Right now? Sure! Let's go...wait a minute...”
Alexander let out a sigh of relief. For a moment he thought that she had forgotten that this was Veronica VanTassal's longtime boyfriend and that this was obviously a trick set up to distract her. Good thing she was smarter than that, though.”
“Never mind, let's go!” she giggled.
Alexander's mouth hung open as he saw her bound towards the door. Biff made a show of checking out her ass and then turned toward Alexander.
“Sorry you can’t come along, egghead,” Biff said with mock sympathy. He stuck his right index finger into his mouth and then jammed it hard into Alexander's ear, a line of drool connected all three for a moment like a saliva cat's cradle. “Nerds tend to scuff my Camaro's leather interior. It says so in the manual.”
He gave Alexander one last shove, which toppled him over onto his ass, before sauntering out the door. Alexander felt oil ooze out of the can and run up his pant leg.
“Fine,” Alexander said, sulking on the floor of Burgess' garage. “ Go with him, but when you get a bucket of pig's blood dumped on you don't come crying to me.”
As Alexander began to pick himself up, trying vainly to get his foot out of the oil can, he failed to notice the headlights of The Excalibur flick on and briefly shine at Biff's Camaro as it peeled out of the parking lot. He also didn't hear the engine begin to growl softly.