Saturday, May 26, 2018

Midnight Blue Lowrider A Young Adult Short Story Part II by AntonioSolisGomez

“Now maybe you’ll spend some time at home and not in that dirty junkyard,” she added. “Come on now, get cleaned up and have some dinner.”

The next day Natalie began telling her friends about the mysterious midnight blue car that she said could jump over a tall man.

“And the driver was gorgeous,” she said lying and later admitting that he had worn a hood that covered his face.

Cheyito also heard the story from one of his friends, a story that was growing more outlandish with every telling.

“I tell you that’s what Natalie said,” his friend Beto said. “She said the car hopped across the intersection like a grasshopper.”

Cheyito took a secret pleasure in hearing the story. That morning as he was getting ready for school he had decided to continue keeping his car a secret and he walked to school as he always had. And hearing the story about the mysterious midnight blue car he knew he had made the right decision. He was going to have some fun before he revealed himself. He decided to get Natalie’s version directly from her when he saw her in class.

“Hey Natalie, I hear that you had a UFO experience last night,” he said when she took her seat in the social studies class. He was surprised to hear himself speak confidently and without hesitation.

“A UFO,” she said looking puzzled.

“Yeah everybody’s talking about the midnight blue car that can fly over buildings.”

“Oh don’t be silly I never said it can fly over buildings,” she answered, smiling and enjoying his joke.

“And I hear that the driver was so ugly that he needed to cover his face.”

“No! Who told you that? He was really cute,” she answered. “I couldn’t see all of his face but what I saw was gorgeous,” she said. And then lowering her voice added. “Don’t tell anybody but he blew me a kiss. It was so hot that I thought he had planted his own lips on mine.”

Cheyito was glad the teacher called the class to order because he thought he had blushed when Natalie told him about the kiss. It was true he had blown a kiss at her in jest just before he turned the corner. He didn’t think that she had seen it but obviously she had. He was pleased that she had told him but not because he had any more illusions about her. All he wanted now was to have some fun.

Cheyito went to work that afternoon and told Old Tony about his secret ride and how he wanted to maintain his secret identity.

“Just like Batman,” Old Tony said.

“Yeah. I never thought about it like that but yeah exactly like Batman,” Cheyito answered.

That afternoon Carlos went to the junkyard. He wanted to add more power to his hydraulics system and stopped Cheyito.

“Hey mocoso,” he said to Cheyito, snot nose being Carlos’ favorite insult whenever he saw him. “I need me some big mother fucking batteries. Show me where I can find some.”

“You have to talk with Old Tony. He’s inside his office,” Cheyito answered and walked away.

“You don’t know shit do you mocoso,” Carlos answered.

Cheyito stopped and turning, answered angrily. “I know somebody showed you up last night.”

“Fuck you mocoso, nobody showed me up,” Carlos answered defensively. He wanted to cuff Cheyito but he was a few steps away and he didn’t want to chase Cheyito across the oil soaked ground in his expensive clothing and Italian shoes. Carlos was always sharply dressed and he valued his appearance more than smacking some smart ass kid, knowing that it would be his looks that would get him what he wanted out of life. Everyone thought he was the coolest guy at school and he could have had any girl that he fancied. Cheyito once admired that kind of power for himself but he had become revolted by that power in Carlos, seeing how it had attracted and eventually corrupted Natalie.

Cheyito knew that the kind of batteries Carlos needed were not available at Old Tony’s but had sent Carlos to the office anyway, taking pleasure in giving him the run around. He saw him leave in a huff and wondered if Carlos would want a piece of him at school. Cheyito had grown about two inches that summer and expected that one day he would be a strapping six footer as was his father. But for now he would be no match for Carlos. Unless of course it was a match involving car hopping. Hopping car competitions were standard events throughout East Los Angeles and Carlos’s car was a standout every time in the biggest event of them all, the all comers competition held during the 16th of September Celebration at Lincoln Park. It was taking place that weekend, a mere four days away. It was unlikely that Carlos would be able to retrofit his hydraulic system in time for the all comers competition and Cheyito knew that at the present time, his was the better car. That evening after work he donned his sweatshirt and slipped on the hood and again took his car for a short cruise, this time purposely going by the hamburger stand on Whittier Blvd. where Carlos and his friends hung out. For further anonymity he had put on some dark shades and even if he showed his face nobody could recognize him. Several of Carlos’ upper classmates were with him, standing and sitting in the outdoors eating area. Natalie and a couple of her girlfriends were also there. He slowly drove up to the curb and rapping his pipes, made his car hop a few times before engaging the engine and peeling out. He blew another kiss at Natalie and this time he knew that she had seen it. And knew that Carlos and his friends had also seen him do it. They tried following him but by the time they went to their cars he was out of sight. He drove fast and made a few extra turns to make sure he wasn’t being followed before he drove home and placed the car into the small garage, quickly closing the door.

The next day the entire school was abuzz with the midnight blue car and the unknown hooded driver. Beto was beside himself, trying to tell Cheyito every detail that he had heard from his brother who had been at the hamburger stand when the mystery car appeared. The way Beto told it the car had jumped as high the curb or higher, a more realistic accomplishment than what Natalie had first reported, but one that was still very impressive. Carlos, Beto said, was especially pissed because the driver had blown Natalie a kiss and Natalie apparently hadn’t been able to keep her excitement to herself, openly yelling for the mystery driver to take her with him.

Cheyito could not wait to see Natalie in class and during the nutrition break went looking for her in her favorite haunt. He found her with her customary entourage of girls, trying their best to look cool, pretending they were alone but talking loudly to make sure that the small crowd of girls around them heard their conversation. Their talk was full of bitches and hos and other expletives and sexual innuendoes. And the topic was of course about the midnight blue car and its mystery driver. Cheyito didn’t dare barge into the circle. He stayed just out of sight but within hearing range. Natalie was wearing a blue blouse and pinned to it, over her left breast, were a pair of cloth lips. She was carrying on about how romantic her new hero was and how she had dumped Carlos for this new beau that she was sure would soon be coming for her. The pair of lips on her blouse she explained was symbolic of the kiss that he had sent her. Her friends squealed and stomped their feet as if they were seeing their favorite rock star perform. It was quite a performance, Cheyito thought. He also thought that maybe the whole thing was getting out of hand and becoming something that he hadn’t intended. Still there was also a small part of him that was enjoying the notoriety and enjoying having knowledge nobody else had. And there was also the feeling of power and control over the behavior of others. Was he becoming crazed with power? He remembered hearing his English teacher talk about Faust and his pact with the devil. It impressed him because his grandfather Don Emilio also told stories about Mexican men and women that had become involved with the devil. Apparently it was possible to sell your soul to the devil. Was he going over to the dark side as Starwalker had and become Darth Vader?

It gave him the creeps just thinking of that possibility and right then and there he resolved to end it. Impulsively he broke into the circle and yelled at Natalie that he was the owner of the midnight blue painted car and apologized for causing her to break up with Carlos, adding that he hadn’t meant to hurt her. Everybody was stunned and finally Natalie spoke up. “You’re being a dweep Cheyito. Cut it out now and leave before you embarrass yourself any more than you have already.” “No really, I am the mystery driver. I was the one that blew you the kisses. I only meant it as a joke,” Cheyito said. Many of the girls started laughing and making fun of him. “Beat it you loser.” “Get a life, Cheyito.” Natalie was now also laughing at him and she cast the final insult. “Come on Cheyito you’re day dreaming. I could never give my heart to someone like you.”

Cheyito was in shock and also on the verge of crying. He thought he was doing the right thing and all he ended up doing was making everyone think he was a fool. He turned and ran out of the school and headed towards the junkyard. He told Old Tony everything that had happened and asked him for a full time job because now he couldn’t go back to school. “Gee Cheyito of course I could use you here full time but I always thought that you would finish school and go to college. You’re a smart boy and you don’t have to work in a place like this all your life.” “What makes you think I’m smart,” Cheyito asked. I don’t do that well in school.” “Why the way you remember where everything is in the yard. You have a hell of a memory. And the way you put that car together, especially the harness for the wiring. That was good work. Something I could never do,” Old Tony answered. “Yeah well I’m not going back,” Cheyito said. “So do I have a job or don’t I.” “Sure you have a job,” Old Tony said sadly.

The next few days Cheyito left home pretending to go to school but going instead to work at the junkyard. But now that he no longer had his car as a project, work was boring and by Friday he wished he could go back to school. He was feeling depressed. His friend Beto had gone calling on Cheyito to get him to go back to school and getting him to tell everyone that he had been kidding. But first he wanted to cheer him up by recounting all the fool things that the students had done to the teachers during the week, it being their favorite pass time, that and talking about girls. When Beto had made Cheyito laugh he moved on to the more serious part of his visit. “I heard about all the shit you told Natalie,” Beto said. “What the hell got into you? “It wasn’t shit,” Cheyito answered reluctantly, not sure that he wanted to share his tale with anybody right now. “Yeah right. And I’m really Spiderman,” Beto said. “Wanna see my spider bite. Come on now, you gotta forget about trying to impress Natalie that way. She’s not going for it.” “I wasn’t trying to impress Natalie or anybody else Beto. I was just trying to tell the truth before anybody got hurt.” “Dude you went too far,” Beto said. “It’s ok to stretch the truth a little when you’re talking to a girl like Natalie. But Dude you went over the line.” Beto said. “I’m telling you that I wasn’t lying,” Cheyito said with frustration. “Look promise me that you won’t say anything to anybody and I’ll tell you the truth. Promise?” Beto was puzzled but he said, “All right I promise.” “Come with me,” Cheyito said as he walked out the front door and made his way to the garage.

“Remember you promised,” Cheyito reminded him as he opened the garage door. The afternoon light was fading but there was enough light coming through a window on the back wall of the garage so that Beto could see inside. Beto’s mouth fell open when he saw the midnight blue lowrider. He was speechless. The garage was small with barely enough room for Beto to walk along the walls without touching the car. He studied every detail and every once in awhile he would see something that would make him exclaim, “Oh dude this is so great.” When he completed his inspection Beto said. “Where did you get this car Cheyito? I’ve never seen a better looking machine.” “I put it together at the shop. Old Tony helped me.” “Really. God no wonder those girls are going nuts.” “Want to sit inside?” Cheyito asked. “Do I want to sit inside, Beto exclaimed. “Does a bear shit in the woods?” Beto quickly opened the door on the driver’s, sat down and closed the door. He looked around admiringly and then assumed different poses as he grasped the steering wheel. He and Cheyito once had lowrider bicycles that they used all the way into middle school to cruise their neighborhood. Beto couldn’t believe he was now actually sitting in a real lowrider. Beto first held the top portion of the steering wheel with one hand, while his other arm went around an imaginary girl seated next to him. Then he grasped the wheel at its lowest point and leaned way back in his seat as he had seen drivers do it in their lowriders. Beto had forgotten all about his mission to get Cheyito to apologize for his big fib and only remembered when Cheyito said that he needed to close the garage before someone passing by saw the car. “Hey I’m really sorry. I feel like a real asshole,” Beto said. “But you gotta admit it’s unbelievable that you actually have a car like this.” “Yeah I know,” Cheyito said. “Sometimes I have to come take a peek in the garage to make sure I haven’t been dreaming this all up.” “So let’s go for a drive and show Natalie and all her friends that you weren’t lying,” Beto said enthusiastically. “Naw. I don’t want to do that. Natalie will feel like I’ve been playing her.” “Yeah and what’s wrong with that. She plays anyone she can. Besides you’ll have to come out with it eventually. If not now when?” Cheyito shook his head. “It’s not the right time. When it is, I’ll know and you’ll be the first one I’ll call. And remember you promised not to tell anyone about my car, Cheyito reminded Beto, as he closed the garage door. Beto complained openly that it was no fair to have to keep a secret like that and that he probably wouldn’t be able to sleep and that if got sick, it would be Cheyito’s fault.

The next morning Cheyito woke up late and for the first time, he didn’t feel like going to work. But he had to, Saturdays were very busy at the yard and Old Tony was counting on him. Once there, Cheyito kept busy and he was not bored as he had been during the week. In the late afternoon Carlos came looking for something and Old Tony had taken him to the back where Cheyito was helping another customer and he heard Carlos tell Old Tony. “You really shouldn’t hire people who make up stories and go around pretending that they are something they aren’t.” Cheyito knew that Carlos was letting him know that he had heard everything and it was his way of embarrassing Cheyito in front of his boss. Old Tony was confused and told Carlos, “If you have something to say, say it, don’t pussy foot around. Who’s pretending to be what?” “Your boy over there,” Carlos said, motioning his head towards Cheyito. “He’s going around telling everybody that he owns a blue lowrider.” Old Tony was about to spill the beans when Cheyito stepped forward and shook his head at Old Tony and instead of revealing that Cheyito did own a blue lowrider Old Tony merely said “well boys will be boys.” As soon as Carlos realized that Old Tony was not going to play into his plan he left without another word.

Cheyito explained everything to Old Tony, who had shaken his head in amazement that Cheyito did not want to embarrass Natalie, who did not care at all about his feelings. “I know it’s weird of me to be doing this,” Cheyito said and remembering what Beto said about eventually having to let people know that he did own the midnight blue lowrider, he added. “There’s a big car hopping competition tomorrow at Lincoln Park. Will you come help me work the hydraulic system?” “You bet your life I’ll help you,” Old Tony said, quickly realizing that there might even be an opportunity to make some money betting on some of the cars. Sunday was the day of the 16th of September All Comers Lowrider Car Show and Car Hopping Competition. Every Lowrider Car Club in all of East Los Angeles would be there as well as some from other cities in California and the Southwest. It was a huge event and it drew thousands of people to the park not only to see the cars but also to celebrate Mexican Independence from Spain. There would be music, food and other entertainment.

Cheyito called Beto that evening and asked him if he wanted to attend the event with him but warning him that he would have to wear a disguise. Beto was so excited that he forgot to ask what kind of disguise and it was only when he showed up at Cheyito’s house the next day at 7am that he learned that he had to wear a hooded sweatshirt, paint his face blue and wear sunglasses. Cheyito’s mother applied the paint and when they walked out the door, nobody would have recognized them. Old Tony met the boys at the registration table and it was his name that was on the form, Cheyito wanting to remain anonymous as long as possible. They walked around the park checking out the cars and trucks in a large variety of styles and colors. It could take a person an entire week to see and enjoy every vehicle on display. Cheyito’s car was one of the best, if attention by others was an indication, people milling around it the entire morning.

The spectators were also were enjoying the two hooded young men in blue faces and dark shades that were the apparent custodians of the car. The spectators asked them questions and the boys not speaking but responding in pantomime and doing robotic movements. Cheyito was shocked to see Natalie and her entourage approaching and when he saw her eyes widen, he momentarily panicked, thinking that Natalie and all her friends would recognize him. But Natalie only gave him her best smile and looked demure and coy in anticipation of his response. Her friends didn’t have a clue either. Beto saw them also and without missing a beat, blew all of them kisses and continued with his robotic dance. When Cheyito realized that they were not identifiable, he also blew them kisses and joined Beto in his extemporaneous dance to the heavy rap beat emerging from the car’s stereo. 

Natalie and all her friends squealed and stomped their feet and returned their kisses. In body structure Beto and Cheyito were similar, both slender and about five foot nine. Their faces were unique but the blue paint masked those individual characteristics. Natalie was not sure which of the two had sent her the original kisses. It didn’t matter, she would have liked to get either one of the blue faced boys off in a corner by herself but the crowd of people made that impossible. After staring at them for awhile Natalie thought there was something familiar about the way one of the blue faced boys was dancing but she couldn’t recall where she might have seen those steps. Then Cheyito looked right at her and showed her the same dance step he had shown her at the end of the semester’s dance. She suddenly remembered and her face turned red. “Let’s go she told her friends, this is boring me,” and she turned and left without seeing if her friends were behind her. Of course her friends were, she being the trend setter in everything that they did. “What’s wrong Natalie?” one of them asked, surprised by Natalie’s change of attitude. “Nothing I just realized how much more interesting Carlos is than either one of those boys.” “You’re crazy girl, those guys are hot,” another of her friends said. “I think I’ll stay right here.” “Yeah me too,” another friend said. “We’ll see you later on.” “Whatever,” Natalie said and she continued walking away.

Cheyito was glad that she had recognized him. She had walked away before her friends realized who was in the blue face and shades. Now she could save face when he finally revealed his identity as the driver of midnight. The car hopping competition was to begin shortly and Cheyito and Old Tony moved the car to the judging area and set up the remote controls for the battery operated hydraulic system. Carlos was already set up and Natalie was with him with her arms wrapped around his waist. Carlos glared defiantly but Cheyito was not frightened, he was confident that his sixteen batteries and four hydraulic pumps were about to blow away the competition. And he was right. Carlos, the reigning champ, never had a chance and when Carlos went on stage to accept his second place trophy, leaving Natalie momentarily next to Cheyito, she whispered to him, “You’re a good dancer Cheyito.” Cheyito smiled, relieved that she would not be embarrassed when he revealed who he was. He was not sure when that would be. He was enjoying being a mystery man. But it would be soon. Midnight was not meant to be stored in a garage. It needed to be driven and showed off.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

i really enjoyed this short story! Continue writing more of them.