Word Count 500+
Transform the Boys
By Ray Shearer
Twelve years old is magical. New priorities come to light, lines are recognized, some are crossed. July fourth was approaching. The rules were simple: You must be between the ages of ten and twelve; you must build it yourself, You must wear a helmet and breaks are required, Adult supervision a must when working with power tools. Materials were needed, along with designs. The search was now becoming fierce.
The dump was always good for wheels and lumber. Some boys used wagon or carriage wheels. Jim didn’t to scavenge. His dad owned a machine shop. All his parts were made and ready for assembly. Jim might even get a chance to help. Tom’s neighbor, Mr. Tilden, donated an old clunker Schwinn and a smaller Huffy.
Soapbox building was as exciting as the race itself. The boys went to work, keeping tabs on each other, always lending a hand or making suggestions.
“How can I put these on a cart?” asked a puzzled Tom, not sure how to rig the bicycle wheels.
“Bike wheels?” Jim questioned his friend. “Couplings,” came his reply. “Match them with threaded rod then u-bolt them.”
The boys got busy. An old garbage can for the front; Jim’s idea, “Taper the front, for aerodynamics.” Assembly of Jim’s racer was underway. A metal frame and a body with fenders. It looked fast.
“But dad,” called Jim. All the other racers anr wood and the guys get to build their own. Isn’t this like cheating?”
“ADULT SUPERVISION,” his dad yelled, over the sound of an air wrench.
July fourth at last!
The race marshals were the three most prominent men in town: The mayor, the police chief, and that guy who owns the Stop’ n’ shop. Racers were inspected for safety. Drivers moved carts to the course. A half mile long, the first leg down a steep hill for momentum, then a short flat, into “DEATH’S DOOR” curve, a quick drop into a short incline, then a long drop speeding to the finish.
The mayor called,”On your mark!” No pushing here. “Get set!” Release the brake. “GO!” Gravity do your stuff! Some never left the start. A few crashed after a short sprint, and a few more along the turn. Jim took an early lead. Tom caught him in the turn. Jim pulled ahead in the drop. His car was heavier. Tom got out front at the incline, for the same reason. Now tied, both looked at each other, smiling, oblivious to surroundings, the finish line approaching quickly. On the outside a white flash. The racer came from nowhere.
“See that?” shouted Jim.
“Who was that?” Tom questioned. The winner removed the helmet.
“A GIRL!” Tom exclaimed..
Jim’s dad protested “Where does it say a girl can race?”
Tom, happy with the outcome, asked “where does it say they can’t?”
Jim, happiest of all, beamed. Nora, the race winner, planted one on him for helping with the build.
Twelve years old is magical. New priorities come to light, lines are recognized and some are crossed.