We were 15 and 16 year old boys, midday and bored. My father had purchased a 1977 Chevy Nova Concours, deep, faded red with a white vinyl top, and we stood like slobbering wolves staring at the ignition key. Knowing it was against my father's wishes for me to drive the car was beside the point, I was a bit of a spoiled little shit and had to show off to my older friend, Tommy, who always seemed to get the girls and left us wondering how. It seemed an inspiring thing to try and top this fucking guy, and today it would only take the turn of my wrist. I turned the key and told them to strap in with the seat belts, as if we looked natural in that old car with expired tags, as if I had a license and could talk my way out of it all if we did see the blues through the rear view. We crept around town like a grandmother. I never got the thing above 35. We pulled into the mall and locked the doors. I remember thinking "This is what it feels like to be an adult, to own something and be proud when people see what it is.", and now I know it was silly to think such a thing, but at the time I had no clue and was very happy to be looking at my reflection in that glass that was at least a year older than I.
A few moments later we were rummaging through stacks of old comics in Pie Eyes, this run down comic and card shop in a dying mall with the scummiest looking guy running the place. We told him something of how he drove a van and ran a comic store and how these things, when mixed with his general demeanor, kinda made us theorize that he were a child-fucker. He kicked us out of there, the old men across from us halted their game of dominoes to see what the fuss was about while we laughed and acted disrespectful to the world around us. I remember making eye contact with one of the old men though, just as we were turning to get out of there and it disturbed me, made me feel awful for what I'd just done and was continuing to do as I headed toward the parking lot, looking at those white-walls and shaking my head. I'll never forget that old man's face, that look in his eye that seemed to say he knew where I was coming from and one day I will too, and when I do I'll know why he was so seemingly sad to see us perform our bullshit rebellion.
We moved on though, hit up this old pizza place with a buffet and convinced ourselves that although the place was full of cops and we look like we should be in school, if we act cool no one will fuck with us. "When we walk in here, we own this place, fuck your paranoia, I want some pizza!" I laughed as we jumped from the car. I didn't lock the doors this time, and I laughed as I thought about it while staring around the parking lot at the half-dozen or so Little Rock police cars. We ate and Tommy hit on the waitress. She didn't even serve us drinks but she came around to our table many times, and I'd look out at that Chevy and think "You'll never be able to drive whatever it is that attracts these creatures", and laughing at my silly sounding inner monologue.
A few of the cops left and we followed them outside, got back in the car and went to the edge of the drive to wait on traffic. As we pulled out, I pushed the pedal too hard and we laid white smoke black marks for twenty or so feet just passed a puddle I had previously paid no attention to. I knew that right then, every cop in that place felt like we'd just slapped him, that it was personal. That these two shitty brats had just been allowed to eat and enjoy their youth without intercept only to be so disrespectful with an accelerator. So there we were, 90 or so miles per hour, midday, hands gripped tightly on the steering wheel and every curve now a mathematical calculation that with an incorrect sum could kill us both or someone else, and we knew it, and we kept going.
After a few moments we realized there were no blue lights nor sirens, so we slowed down, way down to 35. We crept along like that back to the driveway, I backed it in and parked it where I'd left two piles of rocks in the tire centers on one side. We had our methods, and some paid off. The car was supposed to be my first, but that didn't happen because we needed to make a house payment. So my father sold it to this guy a few years later, and he used it to hop around town to the bars and pick up all the fly-types. I seen it a few times while I was in my first car, and when I was in my second car, then I heard the guy had died and I never seen the Nova again. I still think about that day often, what it meant and how it affected me, and I wonder where that old car is and if anyone has any stories they'd share about it.