For Sale

by Charlotte Webb
2004, all rights reserved.

You look like you been whupped with an ugly stick
Berling parks the metallic blue 1955 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Holiday coupe, with the 202-horsepower stock V8 engine, in the back forty at McDonald's. There's a big For Sale sign in the rear window. Caslon's riding shotgun.

They join Mark Mauser and Moose Einlieber at one of the three tables out front, under the "Over 1.1 Million Sold" sign. McDonald's has reduced the number of picnic tables and turned the front area into more parking, in an attempt to discourage loitering.

"Hey, Berling!" says Mauser. "Ya got a new car!"

"Yeah, I won it in a run last Saturday."

"It's bitchen," says Mauser. "What're ya gonna do with that junk-heap Buick? Pay somebody to steal it?" He guffaws loudly.

"Yeah-huh," Moose laughs.

"I'm selling the Olds," says Berling.

"Why?" says Mauser. "You can get a lot more chicks with that cherry Olds than you can with a wiped-out rusty Buick."

"Huh-yeah," says Moose.

"The Olds didn't hold up against that Pratt & Whitney in the Buick," says Caslon. "Jim had him, coming off the line."

"It may win races, but it won't win any women," Mauser sneers.

"Yeah-huh," says Moose.

Suzi and Petey have walked up behind Berling and have heard the exchange. The girls are both wearing Jamaica shorts, V-neck T-shirts, and identical Connie Stevens hairdos bubble front and sides, long ponytail in back.

"Ji-im," Petey and Suzi say in musical unison.

Berling whirls around on the bench and, laughing, grabs both girls around the waist, pulling them to sit, one on either of his knees. He steadies both girls, hugging them close to him.

"Oh, Jim," Suzi sighs for the benefit of Mauser, eyes half-closed, her hands on his face. "Kiss me, you fool!"

Berling obliges, still holding Petey, copping a feel on Suzi with the hand that's holding her, for Mauser to see. He finishes kissing Suzi, and Petey continues the joke, running her fingers through his hair.

"I just adore men who drive 1956 Buicks," she pants, thrusting her breasts very close to his face.

Berling French-kisses her on the mouth, one arm still around Suzi.

Mauser watches in disbelief, thinking, Two tuff broads, and they love him. What's he got that I don't have?

Skunk saunters up, alone. "Whose '55 Olds?" flipping a thumb toward the back forty.

"Mine," says Berling.

Everyone at the table is suddenly alert and still. Skunk is a Maryvale punk. This could mean trouble. Petey and Suzi slide onto the bench on either side of Berling.

"How much?" says Skunk.

"Five hundred firm," says Berling.

"Seven-fifty, to you," says Mauser.

"Shut up, Mauser," says Berling. To Skunk, "Wanna take a look?"

Skunk nods.

They go around back. Berling lifts the hood. "It's got a stock V8 mill, 324 cubes, 202 horses, needs plugs and points."

"How much, really?" Skunk says, surveying the engine.

"Five hundred firm, as-is."

"Let's go," says Skunk.

Berling takes the shotgun side, and hands Skunk the key.

"Boss," says Skunk, as he winds it out, on North 7th Avenue.

Berling is silent as Skunk maneuvers the Olds through some winding back streets.

"Boss!" says Skunk, as they pull in to McDonald's. "Friday OK?"

"Sure," says Berling, as he shoves the For Sale sign under the seat. "After school, at my house."


Cruisin Central © 2003, by Charlotte Webb. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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