Beauregard Smith High School, Darlington, Sc, Monday, 0730
I didn’t waste anytime this morning after parking my car. The second my foot hit the doorway to B.S. high school I headed straight for the Principles office. I just knew that if I didn’t give Mr. Corely a heads up about what was about to happen. He would have my ass. To be honest with you I wouldn’t blame him one bit for being pissed off at me. Besides the guy may be a pain in my ass but he always backed the students if they were in the right including me. Even going up against that bitch Carson.
It took more than three hours last night to explain the problem with Carson and my school to the Mercedes-Benz people. The main problem for their understanding was how such a close-minded person could hold a position of authority over children. Mom had explained that Carson had tenure and was basically doing nothing more than looking the other way for the bullies. It took me laying it all out for them to understand. Once they did the Mercedes-Benz people got this very far off look in their eyes. Before they left Mr. Benz just said that if any of us should have problems have the school call a number on the back of his business card. Then he made sure we all had one. I knew that the phone number on the back of that went straight to MBI Headquarters and their Lawyers there.
Right now, my mind was on what was about to happen in the school’s main office. Forty of the school’s top athletes were going to be walking in shortly to sign up for the work study program. And it was ALL my fault. I had figured that most of the guys and gals that had shown up at the garage yesterday would be ineligible for the program. Boy was I ever wrong. Coach Hall had stood off to one side talking to parents and students making sure that each teen was eligible for the work study.
I was more than a little surprised by this and when I questioned her on it she just smiled. She explained that thanks to her, and the Coaches for the other sports that the standard grade point average to compete had been raised to 3.0 for most athletics. With the exception of the basketball and wrestling teams. Coach Hall was just making sure that everyone had the needed credits to enter the work study program. If not, she was giving advice on how to work around the problem to each parent and student. She really did care for the students’ education over athletic achievements.
I had no sooner entered the main office hallway than I was brought up short. There stood a line of students waiting to enter the office. To be more precise, my pit crews lined the hallway waiting to enter. I was already too late. With nothing more to do than face the music I squared my shoulders and marched to the front of the line. I entered ahead of Bill Casey who held open the door for me. He gave me a smile as I passed him saying. “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more or close the wall up with our redneck dead. Uh Bobbie?”
I have to give to William ‘Bill’ Casey. For a squared away baseball player and all-round decent guy. He could come up with a perfect one-liner to fit just about every situation. His crack with the reference from Shakespeare’s Henry the fifth made me take a stutter step and then chuckle. The fact that he had no problem with calling himself, and the others, a redneck just went to his wicked sense of humor. This was one time that I had to give him full marks for timing and content. I stepped back outside the office to talk with him before dealing with the insanity inside.
“Nice one, Bill. Any idea of how bad it has gotten?” I asked him.
“Corely is out of the office. Iron Panties is throwing a bitch fit over so many of us wanting to enroll in work study. She has Hall in there trying to force play some kind of bullshit. And she is saying that our contracts are worthless on the grounds of false employment. She’s saying that there is no way you can hire us as yours or Beth’s pit crew.”
“Fuck. I knew that bitch would try something but not this. Has Carson called the police?” I really needed to know if she had.
“Don’t know, but she has already thrown the copies of our contracts in the trash. Saying that it’s all some con job you’re trying to pull.” I could tell that Bill was holding something back.
“What else did she say about my contract or yours?” I demanded as I pulled out my phone. “I need to know exactly.”
“Carson said that there was no way in hell that a professional racing team would hire a crossdressing freak like Robert McGuire.” Kelly Hall said from her place in the line on the other side of the hall. “She pulled mom in the second we walked through the door this morning.”
“Thanks, Kathy. You guys just stand by and let me handle the Cast Iron Bitch.” I turned and walked back outside dialing mom and dad. My call was answered on the second ring. “Mom, you’re right. Carson is pulling some kind of bullshit to block or screw the pit crews. I don’t know where Principle Corely is other than out of the office. Basically, leaving Carson in charge.”
“We’re right around the corner like we planned Robbie. Mr. Howe, and Mr. Cheatem will be right behind us. Just go back inside to the main office like you’re supposed to and keep your phone on. Place it your shirt pocket. We’ll be listening in on everything. As well our lawyers.”
“Yes, ma’am. Are we finally going to put that bitch in her place?” I was really hoping that mom gave me the go ahead.
“One way or another Robbie. Now, get in there, but don’t push things. Let her do all the talking. Understood?”
I just smiled. “Yes, ma’am. Load and clear. Taking turn three low and going high for four.”
Mom laughed at my reference to my last lap on the Lady in Black. I put my phone in my shirt pocket, squared my shoulders, and headed back inside. I walked past everyone again to the main office door. This time when I got to the door Bill just opened it without any smartassed remarks. Just as Bill had allotted to, Carson was in full-blown bitch mood. I hadn’t even got five-feet into the main office area before she dropped her sights on me.
“There’s the little trouble maker now. In my office McGuire. Miss. Benchley call the police.” I didn’t say anything to her. I just went into Carson’s private office. She was hot on my heels pulling the door closed behind her. “You have finally messed up enough that I get to expel you McGuire. This little con job of yours is going to land you in jail.”
“What con job are you talking about Mrs. Carson? Would you please care to expand on this accusation? I for one would love to hear your reasoning for this unfounded charge of fraudulent activity.” I know that I was throwing around a butt load of legal terms, but I wanted my lawyers to have all the legal ammo they needed to put this bitch in her place. Hopefully I can get her to show herself for the bigot that she is. I knew that Mr. Howe and Mr. Cheatem were recording this phone call in their office.
My little jab at her making false accusations was just enough to push her over the edge into a full-blown anger induced hissy fit. “Look you little freak. I know for a fact that no reputable racing firm would hire a sissified little fagot like you. Those so-called contracts that you have used to try and fool those other students with are all the grounds I need to prove fraud. When the cops get here I’ll press the precise charges and have you hauled off to juvie. I finally get to have your fairy little swishy ass thrown out of my school once and for all.”
“I always knew that you were a bigoted asshole Carson. I just didn’t realize how big of a bigot you really are, until now. And your accusations of me committing fraud are as false as they come. For your information I was indeed signed to a professional racing firm. Those contracts are legal in every way. If you doubt me just keep pushing. My lawyers will be here in just a few minutes. They should be walking through the doors any minute now.”
“Nice try McGuire. You’ve been in here since you walked through the door. I know for a fact that you haven’t had a chance to call in your parents. By the time you get the chance to call them you’ll already be in central processing. Before they can arrange for your bail I’ll have you expelled. I win you sorry excuse for human waste.” Carson sat back in her chair with a look of triumph on her smug face.
“I won’t be the one that gets arrested Carson. In fact, I doubt that I will be going anywhere. You on the other hand will be facing a shit ton of legal issues thanks to your little bigoted tirade.” I had the bitch and knew she was done. Stick the fork in and slice up the breast done. Her goose was cooked. She just didn’t know it yet.
Carson just smirked. “Good luck on proving your false accusations McGuire. I have more than enough paperwork to back my charges against you. Before this morning is over, either way, you’re done here at this school. You’ll be in lock up waiting to see a judge in an hour. By the time you get out I’ll have you expelled and your charges will amount to nothing more than the hate filled rates of a disappointing failure. Like I said McGuire I win.” There was a knock on the door to Carson’s office door. “Enter.”
When the door opened two police officers entered the office. Carson didn’t look behind them like I had. She just started giving orders. “Officers I want this person arrested for attempt to defraud a public office with intent to steal. The school will be pressing further charges once we have had a chance to consult our legal counselors.”
When they didn’t move to arrest me but stand before her desk Carson almost snapped. “Well, what are you waiting for? Do your duty.”
“Mrs. Carson, the only person who is facing criminal charges here is you.” One of the officers told her. “As why we’re not putting you in cuffs we’re merely waiting for Miss. McGuire’s legal representatives to arrive.”
“What do you mean Miss. McGuire? That thing is no more a girl than the man in the moon. AS for HIM having legal representation that is nothing more than a bald-faced lie. Arrest the deviant and get it out of my school.” The madder Carson got over the cops not arresting me the more charges that were being piled up against her.
“Officers have you informed Mrs. Carson of the charges against her yet?” Mr. Cheatem asked as he entered the officer. “If not please proceed with her arrest. My partners have been recording the conversation between our client and Mrs. Carson.” He looked over at me. “Roberta, you can hang up your phone now and join your parents in the outer office.”
I quickly followed his orders and stepped out of Carson’s office. The police officers closed the door behind me. I guess they didn’t want a student to see the wicked bitch of the east get what’s coming to her. I wasn’t surprised to see Mr. Howe standing in the office area with another man in a suit and tie. I was starting to get worried until they shook hands.
“Ah here is the heroine of the hour. Robbie allow me to introduce D.A. Steve Cook. Steve, Roberta McGuire, Formula One’s newest and brightest racing star. Also, the reason for your presence here.”
“About that Mike. I would like to know exactly why you thought it would be necessary to have Roberta bate Mrs. Carson into losing her temper.” DA Cook gave me a look. “Or was that all your idea young lady?”
“That was all me, sir. The schoolboard has ignored repeated complaints against that woman. She has used her personal beliefs as grounds for expulsion of students, or to force students that she deems morally unfit of an education to dropout. I have personally been the target of her bigotry. Just ask Mr. Howe or any of his partners. The only reason the woman hasn’t been fired is tenure and lack of evidence.” I looked over when I heard the door to Carson’s office open. I smiled as I watched as she was escorted from her office in handcuffs. “I knew that if I pissed her off enough. She would do the rest for me. I didn’t expect her to give me as much ammo as she did.”
“Young lady if that is you just pissing someone off, I don’t want see you going for killing mad. With what I heard over that conference call I can throw the book at her for more Civil Rights violations than Brown v Board of Education in fifty-four.” DA Cook answered with a smile.
“I don’t know all about that, sir. I’m just tired of that bitch trying to railroad me and my girlfriend into a trumped-up expulsion.”
“I do have to wonder why you went in so hard after her. Why didn’t you just ask for the Principle to join you in her office? That would have ended any chance of confrontation.” I could tell that the DA didn’t know about Corely being out of the office until after third period.
“Sir, you do know that Principle Corely is attending his weekly schoolboard meeting? He won’t be in until after third period.” Miss. Benchley interjected from behind the counter. “I can send him a text that he needs to return immediately, but I don’t know if he’ll answer or even get the message.”
“Excuse me, Miss Benchley, but what do you mean that he might not even get the message?” DA Cook asked harshly. “He is the Principle for this school and you should be able to contact him on short notice.”
“The weekly meetings are held over at the learning annex sir. That building hasn’t been retrofitted with cellphone and Wi-Fi repeaters yet. AS for the landlines those only go to the main office area. The meetings are held clear on the other side of the building from the office. Like I said before, we don’t know if he’ll get the message.” Miss. Benchley explained.
“I gather that this is a normal situation on Monday mornings Miss. Benchley.” Mr. Howe must have decided to go in for the kill from the way he was acting.
“Mr. Howe, everybody knows that Monday mornings are Principle Corely’s meeting time with the schoolboard. He always left Mrs. Carson in charge until he returned.” Miss. Benchley defended. “You should know that. Until we get a replacement for Mrs. Orwell he has to report in every Monday.”
“Excuse me, I don’t understand. Why is Principle Corely reporting every Monday? And what does this Mrs. Orwell have to do with anything?” Cook asked.
I answered this one for the DA. “Mrs. Orwell, is our school’s actual Principle. Mr. Corely is the Vice Principle. He’s only filling in for Mrs. Orwell while she is out on maternity leave. The school board doesn’t trust Mr. Corely because of his age. So, they make him report in on how things are going here at the school every Monday.”
“I think I see where this is going. I do have to ask one thing before going further. Did you intentionally plan to confront Mrs. Carson in such a way as to provoke her response this morning?” Cook gave me a penetrating glare.
“No sir. Nothing about this morning was planned other than my responses to Mrs. Carson. I knew that she would try something concerning mine and my sister’s pit crews. I was not expecting her to try to expel me. Nor was I expecting her to go on that little bigoted rant of hers. The most that I expected was her trying to block my teams registering for the work study program. That was all nothing more.” I was honest with the man. To a point. I wasn’t about to give the District Prosecuting Attorney anything he could use to get me into trouble.
“Okay hold on one minute here. You said that this concerns pit crews for you and your sister. Explain please.”
“That Consular is a story for another time. Just know that Roberta McGuire has a five-year contract to drive for reputable international firm and leave it at that shall we.” Mr. Howe stopped DA Cook’s questioning a long those line in a hurry for some reason. “Please continue with your statement Roberta about the reaction you expected from Mrs. Carson.”
“Yes sir. Like I was saying. I expected for Mrs. Carson to give the pit crews some kind of grief over their contracts and only came into clarify any problems. I’ve known that she has been trying to expel me for some time now. When Bill Casey told me how she trash-canned their contracts, I contacted my mother who put me on three-way with Mr. Howe’s firm. I was then instructed to place my phone in my pocket and return to the office. That is when I was first confronted by Mrs. Carson. The rest Mr. Howe’s firm has on recording. I do know that Coach Hall is in here somewhere with some of the other coaches. Don’t ask me where because I don’t know.”
Cook looked over at Miss. Benchley who pointed to the hall leading to the office conference room. “Coach Hall is in with Coaches Honeywell and Kline. Something about academic feasibility for the athletics department sir.”
I wanted to scream when I heard that Coach Hall was in with the Basketball and Wrestling Coaches. Those two meatheads were known sexist pigs. Mr. Howe must have seen the fear and anger spread across my face as he grabbed the DA by the arm. “Let’s join that meeting Cook. I have a feeling that we need to interrupt those Coaches now.”
“Roberta, you stay here with me.” Mr. Cheatem said before turning to Miss. Benchley. “Young lady, there are currently forty-one people that need to register for the work study program. Why don’t we get a start on the formalities shall we?”
“Why don’t I start, Mr. Cheatem? After all, all their contracts are dependent on mine. Once it is registered the others can just come in and list their names under mine as principle contract holder. That should work legally right?” I didn’t know if we could do that or not, but it was worth a try.
“Sorry, but no, Roberta. Until your legal name change goes through each member of your race team must register their individual contracts. This is to cover both you and them legally, Roberta.” Mr. Cheatem explained.
“Excuse me Mr. Cheatem. Did I hear you correctly? Robert is changing his name legally to Roberta?” Miss. Benchley asked excitedly. I just nodded my head yes, expecting her to go all Holy Roller on me. “Fantastic! About time you decided to be yourself Roberta. If you have any problems adjusting or with the teachers, you come to me.”
“Um… no offence Miss. Benchley, but aren’t you just a secretary?”
Miss. Benchley just chuckled. “Miss. McGuire there are a great many things about me that you don’t know. I am more than just a secretary. I also happen to be the school’s LGBT Counselor. If you need any guidance on your transition and the laws that cover you in school just swing by my office. I know that you already have a lawyer, but I can give you a little background on how they apply to you now.”
“Um… thanks Miss. Benchley. I’ll think about it. Right I just need to get enrolled in the work study program and register my contract.” I really didn’t know all that much about Miss. Benchley, but I didn’t think that now was a good time to get to know her better.
“Of course, Roberta. Do you have a copy of your contract?” I smiled and handed over the photocopy of my contract. I waited for her to spot the name of who I signed with. When it came I held my finger to my lips in the shushing sign. “I take it that neither you or your ‘employers’ have yet to announce your formal signing with the news hounds. Has your pit crew been warned to keep things under their hats?”
“In more ways than one, Miss. Benchley. I’m trying to keep as low a profile as I can for right now.” I was being honest with her. “Until certain legal matters have been sorted out anyway.”
“Understandable, Roberta.” She had been typing away on her desktop while talking with me. She made a fast scan of my contract then handed it back to me. A few more keystrokes and Miss. Benchley smiled. “Almost done Roberta. I just need a copy of your driver’s license. Both of them please.”
“Why do you need to see both, young lady?” Mr. Cheatem asked quickly.
“If this was a normal employment contract I would need only the one. This one though specifically requires that Roberta act as an active professional driver. Requiring certain professional licenses. I hope that answers your question Counselor?” Miss. Benchley answered him.
“Yes, it does Miss. Benchley. Will the other children need to show their drivers licenses as while?” Mr. Cheatem asked her.
“No, sir. Only Roberta needs to show her license to enter the program. Like I said her position requires those two items to work. If I understand correctly the others are pit crew, and don’t actively drive any cars. Is this correct?” She asked of me.
“The only time a member of the pit crew is behind the wheel is during loading and unloading of the car hauler. Even then the engine is off.” I explained.
“Then no one else will need to show their driver license.” Miss. Benchley smiled at me and Mr. Cheatem. “They will need to come in once they have their passports though as it is a requirement for their employment.”
“Miss. Benchley, why all the sudden interest to help out? You’ve never shown much in the past when students wanted to enroll in the work study program.” I was more than a little leery of this woman becoming so helpful.
“Because most of the time the students that try to enroll in the program are just looking for a way to cut classes, Roberta. They’re some of the less academically inclined students who don’t have the needed grade point average to meet even half the requirements. It’s our job as Guidance Counselers to help students understand that having more than just a passing grade does not cut it in the real world. To that end sometimes we have to take a rather harsh stand and say no.” I had to admit that I had never thought about it from the perspective of the Administration.
They had a job to do and sometimes that meant saying no. It wasn’t like they were out to be hard asses. They were just trying to give every student the same chance at a better future as the next. If it meant keeping someone out of the work study program, then so be it.
“Okay I understand, Miss. Benchley. Am I all done?”
She smiled and handed me a pass to get into homeroom as school had already started. “You’re all set. Send in the next person in line.”
“You might want to get one of the other Counselers to give you a hand. There are forty of us that need to register for work study.” I told her as I stood up to leave. “And please try to keep this as quiet as possible.”
“Don’t worry Roberta. I’ll have Mr. Bowey, and Coach Hall help out. We should have the others done before the end of homeroom. Hurry alone before someone starts asking unwanted questions.” She told me.
I just nodded my head and left. I know that mom or dad would fill me in on what happened after I left. They would get the full downlow from Mr. Cheatem and Mr. Howe. I had done my part and it was time for them to do theirs. I made it to homeroom with a half hour to go before my next class. When the bell rang no one asked me why I was late. Not that it was unusual for me to come in late or something like. No what was on everybody’s mind was the arrest of Mrs. Carson, old Iron Panties just before the bell for homeroom.
The speculations for why ran the gambit. Ah, nothing like good teenage gossip to lighten the mood of a drab and boring morning. I got more than a few laughs out of some the reasons for Carson’s arrest. The best one I had heard said she was an escaped prisoner from North Dakota wanted for prostitution and blackmailing a sitting U.S. Congressman. I had to have fun with that one when I heard it by adding a slight twist. I told the person that I had heard it from that I heard that Carson was some kind of Dominatrix, heavy into the Latex and Leather scene, who had been charged with assault with a deadly weapon on the Congressman. When they asked about the assault charge I had to go for broke and said that she was caught in the act of porking the Congressman with a 10-inch dildo when they arrested her the first time.
By the time lunch rolled around that twisted rumor had really gained traction and was the leading reason for Carson’s arrest this morning. I found that so damned funny it was pathetic. That was until I thought about all the times the woman had used rumors and innuendos to destroy some student or teacher she didn’t like. I figured that even if Carson beat the rap on the endangerment charges her career as an educator was over. At least in South Carolina, the belt buckle of the Bible Belt. The rumors surrounding Carson’s arrest also had another unexpected side effect for me. No one was talking about the line of students that had been outside the main office this morning before everything went down with Carson.
I figured that if she had just let us do what we had come into to do, that by third period the whole school would have heard about my contract. As it was nobody was even asking about it. It was as if me and the others had nothing to do with her arrest. Her arrest was turning out to be the perfect smoke screen. Totally distracting the other students and staff from what we had done. I knew that the word would eventually get out and I would have the gear heads hounding me for the chance to join my pit crew. But the longer it took, the easier it would be to say that all the positions were full already.
I was in a really good mood until the second to last period of the day, sixth period History with Mr. Greenly. The man could put the energizer bunny to sleep with his lectures on post-World War One Europe. My good mood and the smoke screen all disappeared in the blink of an eye. With just a few simple opening remarks in class from the most boring teacher in all of B.S. High.
“To start the class off today I would like to point out that history is happening around us all the time. Case in point, let us exam what happened over the weekend. Robbie, I would like to congratulate you on your signing with Mercedes-Benz as their newest driver. I understand that you set a new track time and speed record to gain that contract is that true?”
I was livid. “Mr. Greenly, would you care to explain how you came by extremely sensitive information regarding a McGuire Racing Designs Internal contract?” I snapped out as I stood from my desk.
“Just what are you implying Mr. McGuire?” he snapped.
“That you have knowledge of such a contract that has as of yet to be announced sir means that you have gained this information through illegal and/or unethical means by the use of insider information. Which can lead to charges of insider trading being filed against you sir. That is what I am implying.” I wasn’t going to let this go.
The man had just divulged extremely confidential information to a whole classroom of Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, and social media junkies. I wanted his source and I wanted it now before that information got plastered all over the fucking net. I also figured that if I threatened to have him arrested for insider information trading I could hopefully put a stop to most of the Blogger nuts from going hog wild.
He must have seen where I was going because he quickly backed down. He figured out that he had screwed up. “I learned of your extraordinary accomplishments this weekend from my nephew Anthony. He and his father were over at my house last night for dinner. If I had known this information was still considered confidential I would never have mentioned it in such an open forum. Please forgive my lack of decorum in this matter.”
I thought about what he said and tumbled to the fact he said he learned of it from a family member. “Your nephew wouldn’t happen to be Tony Towers sir?”
“He is. I thought that Tony or Ivan would have told you.” Mr. Greenly gave me a strange look as he answered my question.
“It seems that your family is full of surprises sir.” I said with a smile. From across the room, one of the most obnoxious gearheads calls out to me.
“Wait you mean you really did sign a driver’s contract?! That Tommy Hart wasn’t bullshitting around last night down at the strip?” I wanted to pound the kid, but the cat was out of the bag.
“Robert, as much as you wish that I hadn’t broached the topic.” Mr. Greenly began only have me stop him. I sighed and stood up.
“It’s alright Mr. Greenly. It would have gotten out eventually.” I looked over at the gearhead. “Yes, Dale I signed a driver’s contract this weekend. Yes, it is with Mercedes-Benz. My sister Beth also signed a contract with the same people. As for the new track records they are unofficial. Both for NASCAR and Formula One. The reasons differ for each field. I hope that answers your questions. For anything else I con only say no comment.”
“Yeah right! Give us the good stuff already McGuire. Or are you just full of it?” Dale almost shouted back at me. “Like when are you going to introduce some real drivers to those fancy backers of your parents.”
From the back of the classroom Christal Price chuckled out load. “Yeah like you could ever hope to out drive Robbie even on your best day. We all know that you and your cronies have tried to out race him so many times and failed that it is beyond pathetic. Grow up already Dale. Just because your daddy decided to name you after Dale Earnhardt doesn’t mean you know how to drive.”
I so wanted to kiss that girl just then. I won’t because I really do love Kelly, but that didn’t mean I wouldn’t either. Christen Price may not be the classic cheerleader beauty queen, but she was most definitely one of those classic old-world beauties. The only reason she wasn’t part of any of the athletic teams was her wheelchair. Christen was a paraplegic thanks to a drunk driver crashing into her and her dates car last year on prom night. Her boyfriend Steve Miller hadn’t been as lucky. He died on impact trying to shield Christen as best he could. I remember going to Steve’s wake with Beth.
The cheap shot about Dale’s lack of skill behind the wheel was driven by her circumstances. Mainly because the drunk had been a friend of Dale’s, and the gearhead crowd. The only good thing that came out of the crash was the drunk got fifteen years over at Lee Correctional Institute and lifetime suspension of his driver’s license. Like I said I went to Steve’s wake that was held fifteen days after the crash. When I saw that more than a few of the gearheads showed up half plastered and three sheets to the wind. I got mad. I was so pissed that I ran the shitheads out of the funeral home with a tire-iron.
It was also the first and only time I let my emotions get the better of me when it comes to racing. I challenged the whole gearhead crowd to a winner takes all, no holds barred, 200-mile rat-race. I put five of them into back country ditches. I might not have gotten justice for Christen and Steve that night, but that whole crowd learned a valuable lesson about the price for drinking and driving. You drink, you drive, you lose your car. If not your life.
I watched as Dale’s face turned blood red with anger. “Don’t even open your mouth Dale. Not if you want to keep that piece of crap Nissan three-fifty Z. I know of a few charities that could benefit from just the sale of its parts.”
The threat was as real as it was implied. I would race the dipshit for pink slips, then part out his car before he had a chance to buy it back. I had done it to more than one gearhead in our school already. Dale knew that I didn’t play around when I rat-raced. Hell, the WHOLE school knew not to challenge me to a rat-race for pink slips. Because I would be the one driving away while you started walking. I think things might have gotten out of hand if Mr. Greenly wasn’t still in the room.
“That will be quite enough Robbie. Take your seat, please. Dale, I suggest that you remember the last time you and your crowd got froggy and challenged Robbie. If I’m not mistaken MRDI held a charity auction selling off six high-end street performance cars.” I couldn’t believe that Mr. Greenly would even go so far as to bring that up in class. Then again Dale wasn’t one of the more respected students at B.S. High. The fact was that he and the rest of the gearheads were flat out hated by more than one teacher. To more than a few of them, the gearheads were one step above the Basketball players and Wrestlers. There was not a lot of love for the main bullies of the school.
Once Mr. Greenly had regained control of the class he returned to his planned lesson for the day. During the class I kept getting dirty looks form Dale. I watched as he pulled out his phone and started texting. I just knew that he was letting his butt buddies know that Tom wasn’t bullshitting them about me winning that contract. I figure I have between the beginning of seventh period and the end of school before they try to corner me. Most likely at the end of school in the parking lot.
I waited until Mr. Greenly had his back to me and pulled out my phone. Keeping it below the level of the desk I sent out a text to the male members of my pit crew. I wasn’t about to let Dale, Thomas, and their butt buddies corner me without a fight or backup. I also won’t put it past them to try something with my car. After sending out my text I put my phone away. When the bell rings for class change I wait around to give Christen a hand.
“Thanks for putting numb nuts in his place Christen. He was really pushing my buttons today.” I told her as I stepped behind her chair to push.
“No biggie, Rob. It was the least I could do for you after what you did last year. No one else was going to do anything about those yahoos.”
“I have no idea of what you’re talking about. I can categorically deny any involvement with the meatheads of the gearhead crowd and the loss of six of their members’ cars.” I put on my best State Senator Lindsey Graham face as I said that. Which had the desired effect. Christen busted out laughing. As we walked down the hallway towards our last class of the day Christen patted me on my hand before looking up at me.
“Rob, I know what you did for Steve and me in shutting down their little rat-racing scam. So, does everybody else in school.” Christen waved for me to lean down next to her so only I could hear her. “You need to know something. Thomas Hart was downtown running his mouth about you getting that contract. I may not have the use of my legs anymore, but I still have my five senses. They’re going to confront you after school at your car.”
“How much and what do you know Christen?” I was worried about her getting in over her head and getting hurt by those thugs. I had already put six out of commission I won’t have any problems going after the rest. As it was I already had more than enough reasons for taking them on. The gearheads hurting Christen because she warned me about something they wanted to pull would just paint an even bigger target on their collective asses.
“I overheard Thomas Hart, Mike Sorenson, and John Foxx at launch talking about forcing you to sign them as members of your pit crew. They believe that their shot at the driver’s seat is through you. How they plan on doing that I don’t know. All I know it that they’re sure they can force you into to signing them as part of your crew.” The look in Christen’s eyes conveyed more than her words did. If she was this worried by what she overheard, then I need to take the threat seriously.
“I figured they would try something after what Dale tried to pull in last period. Don’t worry I got my bases covered.” I stood up and stepped behind her chair. “Come let’s get inside before Mrs. Lincoln nails us with a tarty.”
“I hope you’re right Rob. Because those fuck-nuts won’t be playing around.” Christen must have really been worried for my safety to cuss like that.
I just smiled and pushed her into the classroom. After taking her over to her desk I took mine and waited for the bell. My last class of the day may be a study hall but the teacher who monitored it was a real stickler for the rules. I sat quietly watching the door. Sure, enough Dale came in with just second to spare. That was all I needed to see to know where he had been. Him and the rest of the gearheads had been out behind the gym smoken and token. As they say amongst the stoner crowd.
For the next forty-five minutes I just did my homework. I didn’t have a lot, today. I was able to get most of it done before the bell rang. All I have left to do was read three chapters in History, and one chapter for Social Studies. Both of which I can take care of after my appointment with Sharron. I make a fast stop at my locker to change out books and get the ones that I need for my homework. After locking my locker, I headed for the side door and the student parking lot. As I exited the building I saw exactly what I had expected to see. Dale Cartwright, Thomas Hart, Mike Sorenson, and John Foxx along with nine of their butthole buddies. In short, the senior members of the gearheads had come out to face me down. Lucky me.
It was a good thing that I won’t be facing them down alone. Not by a long shot. As I approached my car the gearheads swarmed around me. I almost bust out laughing at the whole thug mentality of the group. As if they could force me into signing them to pit crew contracts through sheer intimidation. The only problem they had for this to work was finding me alone. Which wasn’t going to happen anytime soon.it was almost comical the way they puffed out their chests and swaggered around like they were gangsters.
Thomas Hart was the first one to get into my face. I guess as the so-call leader of this pack of jackasses he had the right to get turned down first. “McGuire, we want a word with. We know that your parents pull some strings to get you that contract. It’s the only way that a little fairy, like you could get one. If you want to avoid getting sent to the hospital this is what you’re going to do for us. You’re going to go in and tell your parents that you got three of the best drivers in South Carolina waiting for contracts. That you want them to sign us today. Got that bitch?”
I didn’t get to say a word. “HART! If you want to live to see the sunrise I suggest you beat it! The same goes for your fuck bubbies.”
As a group the gearheads turned towards the voice of Danny Hailee. Dale shouted. “This has nothing to do with you Hailee! Now piss off!”
“That’s what you get for thinking Cartwright. You need to take a good fucking look around before you go running your mouth.” Danny waved at the other twenty-two male members of the pit crews surrounding us in the parking lot. “There’s twenty-two of us and only thirteen of you. We got your sorry asses outnumbered fuck-head. You screw with our driver we put you in the hospital.”
I looked around at my pit crew. Each one stood ramrod straight cracking their knuckles or hefting a tire iron. The message was clear as a bell. If the gearheads wanted to get violent guys would be sending them to the hospital or the morgue. I needed to get a handle on this fast before it goes kaboom.
“Alright let’s back this shit down a notch people!” I yelled out. I watched as my pit crew and the gearheads backed off. I turned to Thomas. “Alright Tommy boy. You and your guys want a shot at being pro drivers. I’ll get you one.” I could see the wheels turning in their heads. They all knew that my word was good as gold and I had never gone back on my word.
“What’s the deal McGuire? In the past three years you’ve never offered any of us a chance like this.” John Foxx asked with more than a little suspicion.
“Simple Foxx. All you and your boys have to do is get your FIA Super License or NASCAR License. Before you ask I’ll tell you what you need to do. The first of which is pass the physical exam. Oh, and guys part of the physical is a piss test. You fail that and your done. It doesn’t matter how good of a driver you are you’ll never get behind the wheel of a pro-racer.” To drive the point home, I remind them of a NASCAR driver who failed a random piss test. “If you think I’m joking meatheads. I suggest you remember what happened to Jeremy Mayfield in 2009. They suspended his ass from NASCAR indefinitely. The guy is lucky to be driving Pro-Cup for the World of Outlaws instead of still driving a delivery truck.”
I could tell by the look in their eyes that they all remember the drug scandal that rocked the 2009 NASCAR world. I could also tell that most of them were already wondering if they could pass the piss test. My suspicions were confirmed by Neil Hawks. “They don’t test for pot, do they? They only test for the hard shit, right?”
“No, Neil they don’t just test for the hard shit. They test for everything under the sun. I had to get a special dispensation from the docs, FIA, NASCAR, and every other organization I wanted to compete in, for the chemo drugs that still show up in my system. And that is after three years people.” I saw no need to lie to these meatheads. “I had to prove that each and every trace had been medically necessary. So, yah, they test for pot, Neil.”
“What about the pit crews McGuire? Do they piss test the pit crews as well?” Asked Sam Hurley out of the blue.
Danny was quicker to answer that one than I was. “Yes, Hurley they piss test the pit crews as well. Just ask Hart if you don’t believe me. His brother tried to get him on with MRDI in the shop. Tommy boy failed and wasn’t hired. Do you really think those types of racing firms are going to trust multimillion dollar machines to a bunch of druggies?”
By this time the gearheads had as a whole walked away with their dreams of forcing me into signing them as pit crew dashed. Only the four big trouble makers remained. It was time to send them packing as well. “Like I said. You get your Super License or NASCAR license I’ll set you up for a shot at getting a pro-ride. Hell, I’ll even help you prep for a trial run, but you need to know something guys.” I watched as the glimmer of hope started to return to their greedy little harts.
I showed no mercy in crushing those hopes with my next words. “Most of the pro-teams won’t sign someone with a criminal record. That means you got to clean up your acts. Not just for a few months but come completely off probation if you’re on one. Then you need to petition the courts to seal your records. They can’t do it for you unless you make that petition and pay for it. That takes bucks people, bucks you don’t have to spare right now. And I know that none of you are old enough yet to get a juvie record sealed. There you have it in a nice neat little package. That’s what it is going to take for you to get your shot at the big time. Any of you man enough to go for it?”
None of them said anything to me. They just turned and walked away with their heads down. They know I was right and they had zero chance of ever getting what they dreamed. Not unless they turned their acts around. Oh, they knew that I would keep my word, but they had a lot of work to do before that happened. I had made sure they understood the facts of life.
Danny and the rest of my pit crew walked up after the last of the gearheads walked away. “Damn Robbie. Where the hell did you learn to wheel and deal like that? I mean you had them eating out of your hand. You weren’t serious about that offer to help them with their tickets, were you?” Danny asked.
“I was dead serious about helping them Danny. If they put in the work and clean up their acts. I’ll go out of my way to get them a shot at a pro-ride. Just as I would for any of you if you want to get behind the wheel.”
Will Hackney started to chuckle. “No offence, boss lady. But you can keep the crazy shit to yourself. I have no desire to place my dear life in the hands of fate at over one-hundred miles an hour.”
I couldn’t help it, I had to get a dig in for the boss lady comment. “Chicken.” Almost as one, all the guys put their hands under their arm pits and started to flap their arms clucking like a pack of hens. It was the perfect tension breaker. As we all laughed. “Alright you clowns. You need to get over to the garage. And I need to go see my doc. I’ll see you all tomorrow morning.”
The mood suddenly turned sober at my comment about seeing a doctor. Danny asked for the rest of the team. “You okay Robbie? Nothing wrong?”
“I’m in good health guys. I’m just seeing my shrink today. That’s all. I see her every other Monday.”
“Like I said. You got to be crazy to drive the way she does.” Will crowed. I just gave him a salute in return. The traditional one finger salute.
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