I killed my first boy when I were fifteen year old, my stomach hurt so bad.
His name was Charlie and he was showin’ off his ’61 T-Bird. I could make out the evenin’ star – Venus was her name – and everything looked like a photograph, with the soft blanket of twilight descendin’ ‘pon us.
Charlie was drinkin’ a Pabst out of the can and I was buggin’ him for a sip so’s to rinse the taste of Dr. Pepper out of my mouth. Charlie stood there like he was Bruce Springsteen — whiskers creepin’ up his cheeks, dark green shirt unbuttoned to his belly, worn Levis tucked inside engineer boots — lookin’ at me like I was a bug, or a Chevy. He stood maybe six feet, but he looked shorter on account he was always slouchin’.
“Cronic, I swear your mamma would kick my ass if I gave you any beer. She could smell it on you from here to creekside.” You never knew if he was jokin’ or being dead serious. He had that reform school look in his eyes, like he could out-punk anyone in shop class. You couldn’t tell what was goin’ on in his head unless it was about his ‘Bird. She was a candy-apple red four-door, a chopped and channeled 429.
Charlie worked in a garage part-time. He spent most a’ the time workin’ on his ‘Bird. He found it in an auto wrecker’s yard while makin’ a parts-run for his boss Johnny Clifford. More like it was a beer-and-parts run, since Johnny liked his beer more than he liked his wife, or even his dog.
There stood the ‘Bird, said Charlie, crouched between an AMC Pacer and a Ford Fairlane, covered with about a hundred years worth of rust and dirt. She was lookin’ sad but not too hurt, tattooed with rust and faded pink body-fill. She was a honey even though she was busted up. Charlie just had to have her, so he dropped a few bills and ran some dope for Johnny so’s he could restore her. That was last year, and now the ‘Bird was cherry. He wanted it restored to original, not custom, mostly ‘cause he was dirt lazy and had no imagination.