A Quarter Mile (Part One)

I swung my legs back and forth, twiddling my thumbs. In front of me sat Mr. Beamer, or as I liked to call him, Bobble-Head Beamer. A few rows in front of him sat Nose-Picker Noah. He picked his nose very subtle so no one would notice, but I always did. I made sure I never called anyone names outload: I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. But adding on to people’s names passed the time. To my right sat Sleepy-Samuel. I always poked his arm when he’d start to dose off. I figured it was the polite thing to, especially in church.

Because Bobble-Head Beamer sat in front of me every Sunday, I made up a game I played every Sunday in church. I’d count how many times Beamer would nod his head during a sermon. His daughter, Jez, caught me every now and then. I’d pretend to stop, until she turned around, then I’d start over. But church hadn’t started yet. Mom insisted on being one of the first at church every Sunday. Dad didn’t like it either, but because Mom wanted to, the men of the house had to follow.

Dad tugged at his tie and checked his watch. Dad rarely came to church, he worked at the office until late in the evening; then he’d say he was too tired to go to church. He wanted to sleep in. But every now and then Mom made him go. She said church was needed to keep the soul healthy. I had nothing against church, I just figured I could talk to God while I was building my dirt track. I still did that, even though I went to church. I thought since I didn’t pay attention in church, I better take some time at home to talk to God, it was the right thing to do. I needed God to protect me if I was going to jump my new ramp.

One and a half hours later I walked out of church, yawning. “Let me see the flyer.” Wyatt leaned forward and read the flyer over Lucas’s shoulder.

I stepped out of the line and jogged to the corkboard to join the others. “What flyer?” I stood on my toes, trying to read the flyer.

“The Y is hosting a go-cart race next month,” Wyatt answered.

“I could enter my go-cart.” Wyatt, Lucas and I stepped aside to get away from the adults.

“I don’t have one.”

“Neither do I.” Lucas lowered his head to look at the flyer again.

“We could partner up and enter in the race together,” I mentioned.

“With one go-cart?”

“Yeah and we could split the prize money.” Lucas folded the flyer and slid it in his back pocket.

“There’s prize money?” Wyatt Asked.

Lucas lifted his head and counted his fingers. “If we split it, I could get a new video game and then have some left over.”

“I could get a new bike!” Wyatt nodded, then turned his face toward me. “What do you want Stephan?”

“I haven’t decided.” I did know what I wanted, but I couldn’t get it with money. If I wanted it, I had to win the race for a different reason. “How about we meet up at my place this afternoon and we’ll start planning.”

“What’s there to plan?” Wyatt lifted his hands and tilted his head.

I rolled my eyes and patted Wyatt’s shoulder. “I lot. Ask your parents to drive you and I’ll ask my mom.” After the boys nodded, I walked to my parent’s car. Sometimes I thought God put a cantaloupe where Wyatt’s brain should have been.
I heard a car pull into the driveway, so I rode my bike to the garage, thinking it was Lucas and Wyatt. I had a lot of ideas for the go-cart race. I already marked out where we could build a track to practice on. First, I thought it wouldn’t work because of my bike track, but then I realized we could build a track around the bike track. I leaned my bike against the wall in the garage and turned around to go meet the boys in the front yard.

“Jez! What are you doing here?” Jez’s and my parents hung out way to often in my opinion. The more often they hung out, the more I had to hang out with Jez.

“Were you riding on your bike track?” Jez walked over to her bike. Because her parents came over so often, she left an extra bike at my place so she didn’t have to bring hers every time. “We could race?” Jez lifted her bike.

“No, thanks. I just rode my bike, I’m tired.”

“Oh.” Jez dropped her bike and placed her hands on her hips. “What then?”

“Well the boys were supposed to come over so we could plan—do homework.”

“You don’t do your homework until the morning it’s due.” Jez stared at me. “You’re planning on entering in the go-cart race.” Jez pointed her finger at me. “Ah-huh!”

“Yes, but you can’t help. This is a boys sport, it’s not for girls.” I walked pass Jez, out of the garage and onto the driveway. “Look, the boys are here now, so you can go do whatever girls do.”

The car parked in front of the garage and Lucas and Wyatt climbed out. They stood in front of me and looked at Jez. “What’s she doing here?”

“She’s just leaving.” I waved off Jez and turned toward the backyard.

“Which one of you is going to drive in the race?” We stopped walking and turned to faced Jez.

Because it was my go-cart, I thought I was going to drive. But I guess we all wanted to drive, because we all said, “I am,” at the same time.

“Are you between twelve and fifteen?” Jez titled her head and studied our faces.

“What do you mean?”

“Wait, Wyatt. Let me read the flyer again.” Lucas pulled out the flyer from his back pocket. “It says it on the bottom,” Lucas pointed at the flyer, “Must be between twelve and fifteen.”

We looked at each other: none of us were twelve, except for Jez. I glared at Jez. She weaseled her way into everything. “Fine, Jezebel. You can drive, but we’re splitting the prize.”

We turned around and walked to the bike track, if we were going to win, we had a lot of work to do.

To be continued . . .


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