Chapter 11, Blog 2
By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang
“Can I use the track? I need somewhere better than my block to train.”
His grin burst into the biggest smile I had seen since we won the state track meet in my senior year.
“Hell, yes, go ahead. Use the track. Jist don’t run over any of my freshmen,” he said.
“Did they always look like children?” I asked.
“Fred,” he said. “They are children.”
Rockard promised he would tell the school guards and maintenance crew, and gave me a note on his stationery. I should have no trouble.
“The Olympics, no shit,” he said as I left.
It was better than homecoming. I hobbled out to the track. It wore a new, all-weather, resilite surface. Only last century, I smashed the school’s 880 record on something black, springy and new called Rub-Kor. Now the track sported an orangy hue. I liked the makeover.
In fact, I couldn’t wait. Shedding my coat, I shuffled a lap in my jeans and tennis shoes. All the races I had run sprinted through my brain. I even remembered the one I didn’t finish. It was my first varsity meet. I was so nervous I threw up halfway through the race and almost choked. The mere thought still made me turn red. The next morning, I awoke before the sun and sneaked over to the track. No one was there, not even freshmen. I stretched long and longer, then sat in lane one for a moment to drink it in. It tasted wonderful.
“Welcome home, Chuckster,” I said.
Springing to my feet, I coasted down the main straight and leaned hard into the turn. I closed my eyes and ran back into the Seventies.
… HEY! Dumb ass. Open your eyes. You trying to kill yourself …
No matter how obnoxious, the voice was technically correct. I couldn’t afford any more tumbles. Wide eyed, I chugged down the back stretch, picking up the pace.
“Hey, Fred, don’t git boxed in, ya knucklehead,” I yelled in my best Rockard impersonation.
Scooting through the curve and down the front stretch I glided over the finish line. I slowed, walked the next lap. Not bad. You know, I could really …
“Hey, Old Man,” shouted a distant voice.
I peered through the early morning haze. It had to be a freshman. Who else would be stupid enough to be out here at this hour?
“Wha’cha doin’ on my track?”
The figure grew. I laughed.
“Ya know what I mean. Get out of here before I call the cops.”
It was some kind of female, all legs and arms. She wore Viking green sweats and her black hair in tiny pigtails. She brandished her cellphone like a weapon.
“Go ahead,” I dared her.
Ms. Pigheaded started to dial.
“No, I was kidding,” I said.
“I’m not,” she said.
Copyright © 2012 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang