Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Random sample from School of Hard Knocks

I know that my writing time is going well when I look up from my laptop and notice that I am sitting in the dark.  I sought the quiet and fresh air of our sun porch this evening to continue my polishing of Book 2 - Wil Clarey: School of Hard Knocks.  I had such fun with the scene that I didn't notice night fall around me.  I thought I would share most of it with you tonight.  I will admit that I left the ending of the chapter off (insert maniacal laugh here).  I didn't want to completely spoil it for you.

Here you go: (warning - I have not edited it for errors so be patient if it is not perfect).

Chapter 12 - Towing the Type Three

“What’s going on here?”  I looked at my grandparent’s driveway, crowded with a big flat trailer attached to Mr. Vaughn’s big pick up.

Mom got a funny smile.  “Good question.  Let’s find out.”  She squeezed her new car, a small Chevy SUV (a “cute ute,” she calls it) around the truck and parked by the back door.
I had been working on the farm Saturday’s and Grandpa was paying me!  I now had a savings account with quite a few dollars in it.  At least it seemed like a lot to me.

It was the Saturday before my birthday.

Hannah came bounding out of the kitchen with a big grin on her face.  “Hi Wil!”

Even as dense as I could be, I could tell she was hiding something.  Her smile was way too big.  “What’s up?” I asked.

“You’ll see,” was all she said as she led me into the kitchen.

“What’s up?” I asked Grandpa.

He was at the kitchen table drinking coffee with Ken Vaughn.  “We have a big clean up job for you today, Ken and I are gonna help this time.”

“Hey, don’t forget me, I get to help too!” Hannah put her hands on her hips.  “I already filled the air tank.”

“Huh.”  My confused look must have been amusing because Mr. Vaughn and Grandpa chuckled.

“You get the first part of your birthday gift today.  We planned on doing this next weekend, but Ken wasn’t available then and we need his trailer.”

A light bulb started to light in my head.  Could it be?  Is Grandpa giving me the old car in the woods?

Grandpa confirmed my thoughts, “There’s a 1972 VW Squareback sitting in the woods with your name on it.”

Hannah came up close to my ear.  “I told you that you need to start working on it for our first date when we’re 16.”   

My mind was a whirl.  Part of me was a little weirded out by Hannah’s whispered comment (just a little).  Part of me was excited about getting the car.  Part of me was overwhelmed by the thought of getting that pile of rust running.  If nothing else, I could sit in it if we brought it to our house.  “Where are we putting it?” 

“You have that little garage below your mom’s room.” Grandpa explained.  “Your mom and I discussed it.  She doesn’t mind you keeping it in there as long as you actually work on it.” 

“Are you kidding me?  I’ll work on it every day!”

“You can start by putting some air in the tires and see if they’ll hold air while we get the trailer in position.  Make sure you put a rock or a log in front of it in case it wants to roll away on you.” 

Hannah and I headed to the woods carrying the air tank with us.  Grandpa had already cleared the berry bushes from around the car.  I put a little air at a time in each tire.  I had a feeling that the tank did not have enough air to completely fill all the tires.  It turned out that there was just enough to get each tire about three quarters full.  That was enough. 

I sat in the driver’s seat and put my foot on the brake pedal.  It went straight to the floor. 

I rolled down the window as Grandpa approached.  “I don’t think the brakes work.”

“Pull the parking brake and see if it works.”

I did, and it stopped halfway up.  “I think it works.”

“Let’s give it a try.  Do you want me in the driver’s seat or are you feeling brave?”

I was feeling bold.  “I’ll do it.”

“Okay, I’ll pull the log.  Are you ready?”


“Wait!”  Hannah climbed in the passenger side.   “Now we’re ready.”  She had a huge smile.

Grandpa pulled the log from in front of the front left wheel.  The car didn’t budge.  I slowly released the parking brake.  The car still didn’t move.  Grandpa started pushing.  It moved an inch but settled back into place when he stopped.  Then he started rocking it – pushing, releasing, pushing, releasing.  Something popped.  The car started rolling.  Grandpa walked alongside directing me where to turn and when to start pulling on the handbrake. 

I can handle this.  I was practically giddy.  I’m actually driving. I felt a confidence and sense of responsibility like never before.   A glance at Hannah told me that she was enjoying the ride too.

POP!  The brake handle popped straight up!  I slammed both feet on the brake pedal.  Nothing happened.  I pumped the pedal over and over.  The car started speeding up. 

“The brake broke!”  I yelled to Grandpa.

He yelled something back, but we were quickly rolling away from him.  I was close to panicking.  The trailer was straight ahead.  If I hit it at this speed, I would go right over the trailer and into the truck.  There was a little bit of space to the left, so I aimed that way.  At least the steering works.

“Watch it.”  Hannah’s voice was unsteady.

“I am watching it!”  I managed to miss the trailer and the truck but scraped along a pine tree.  I had to duck to the right to avoid getting whacked by the branches.  They scraped the car, but they also slowed us down some. 

Now the pond was straight ahead.  I yanked the wheel to the left.  I could feel the wheels sliding on the wet grass.  In the space of a couple seconds, in my mind I saw me pulling Hannah from the sinking car and us swimming to shore.  God help me!  I screamed in my head.  We continued to slide towards water, the car leaning dangerously to the right.

               POW!  The right front tire blew.  We leaned even more.  We’re gonna flip into the water.  Now would be a really good time to help God!

Don't worry, Wil doesn't die.  If you want to know how the chapter ends, I'll make you a deal.  Share this page with two friends and I'll send you the end.  The more people who want to hear about Wil and his adventures, the sooner they can be published!

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