We’re only two and a half months from the end of 2020. I don’t know about you, but I feel like it should only be March, not October. But on the plus side, Halloween is almost here.
Today, I’ve written a short story that is based on my brother. Neither the events of this story or the people are real, but this whole story came to mind after driving with my tall brother in my sisters tiny little Fiat. So, he’ll probably never see this, but this is for you J.
Hope you enjoy! Happy reading!
The Bay Racers
High school is very much like the animal kingdom. You’ve got the ones at the top of the food chain. They’re the popular kids. Not a lot of them, but you don’t need a lot. Just a few strong ones to keep the others in line. Then you’ve got the people in the middle. They’re there, you notice them but they don’t make a lot of noise unless you bother them. They stay away from the head hunters and the head hunters stay away from them unless provoked.
But with every top, there’s always a bottom. And at the bottom of this food chain is the animal that is hunted. The prey. Some kids can’t help it. They’re easy targets, easy prey, whether they want it or not.
I consider myself to be in the middle. Around and watching but never really bothered. I didn’t bother the higher-ups, therefore they didn’t bother me. But I’m always watching. And the day before graduation, things got interesting.
It was no secret that some of the kids at our school were very into illegal things. One of those things being street racing. Our high school was a lot of rich kids with daddy’s money, and they would drop a couple grand on their new sports car, supping it up to be faster and better than all the others. The rival schools had their group of wannabe races, and eventually, the top racers from the school were dubbed the bay racers. Just outside of town, near the water, there was this restaurant called ‘The Shack Factory’. It was a hole in the wall burger joint that sold crack burgers and shakes for cheap. That became The Bay Racers’ place. No one knew when the races were or when they were going to be until right before it happened. Even the Bay Racers didn’t know. They got a text and had to drop what they were doing, and go or they didn’t race that night. The stakes were always high amounts of money, definitely money these kids could afford.
One day we got this new kid in at school. It was sort of ridiculous, we only had a week left before the end of the year, but his dad was some big software developer and the school let him in. He wasn’t welcomed with open arms.
Carter Sterling was the school’s top dog. The Alpha. He had the hottest girl in school on his arm and the most expensive car in the lot.
But when Jesse Wild pulled into the school parking lot on his first day, he was driving an SS charger. An old car, but a classic. It put Carter’s car to shame. And Carter didn’t like that at all, not one bit. The tension was thick in the air for the next few days. Carter didn’t like being challenged and Jesse didn’t seem to be one who backed down or shied away.
On Jesse’s third day, he was jumped by Carter and two of his friends, but Jesse could hold his own and ended up landing all three guys in the nurse’s office, while Jesse himself only had a black eye. And then Carter challenged him to a race. A race with the Bay Racers. Though no one said it out loud, everyone knew that Carter Sterling was one of the Bay Racers, and always won. If he didn’t, the winner would learn that Carter liked his place at the top.
Everyone knew about the race and every single person at our school and at the others was waiting anxiously for the text saying when the race was going to be. And finally, after two whole days of waiting, the text came.
‘The Shack Factory. 10pm. Winner takes the losrs car.’
Because there was a typo in the message, and that whoever sent it wants the losing car, I felt it was safe to say Carter sent the message. This way Carter would get Jesse’s car if he wins, keeping him at the head of the school. I think he failed to realize that in less than a week we would be graduating and none of them would matter anymore. But, I guess in Carter Sterling’s world, who he is in high school means everything.
Everyone was at the race. And I mean everyone. My entire class, and the ones below us. The neighboring schools, and their friends. The road is packed with people, and we all better hope that no squad car comes around because they‘ll figure out pretty quick what’s happening.
Carter is front and center at the starting line right past The Shack Factory. But no Jesse. That’s interesting. I thought Jesse would be here, no fear in his stance, but it seems that maybe I was wrong.
We waited, each person standing around biting at the fingernails, wondering what’s going to happen. Is Carter going to call it? Is Carter going to go after Jesse because he still wants the car? What will be waiting for Jesse tomorrow when he comes to the school for graduation?
And then it happened. We heard the loud sound of a whining engine as it comes closer. The crowd circled Carter’s car broke apart in the middle so a car can come through. A horn honked, and I felt myself frowning. I may not be familiar with a lot of cars but that doesn’t sound like an SS charger.
I stood up straighter, trying to see if I could see over the crowd, but all I could see was the roof of a red car sliding through the crowd.
The red car slid up next to Carter’s and for a moment everyone was silent. And then everyone laughed. Because next to Carter’s car was a cherry red… Fiat.
Jesse stuck his head out of the window.
“Are we doing this or what?” He asked, looking at Carter.
For a moment, Carter was shocked, not even knowing what to say.
“Uh, yeah,” he replied hesitantly.
Carter climbed into his car and started revving the engine as a girl in shorts and a tank top stood in front of them, in the center.
When she lowered her arm, Carter’s car started to move, and then… it didn’t. A ringing sounded through the air, making everyone flinch but I couldn’t figure out what it was from. Jesse’s car took off, zooming down the road, following the path for the race, and came back a few minutes later, the engine whining louder. By the time Jesse got back past the finish line, Carter was out of his car, his face fuming – a red I’d never seen before. He was yelling gesturing at Jesse and back to his car.
I pushed my way through the crowd, getting closer until I could see what had happened.
Carter’s car had a blown tire. And Carter was claiming that Jesse had blown out the tire.
“Did you blow out the tire?” Someone had asked Jesse as he climbed out of the Fiat.
Jesse nods, a small smile on his face. “Yeah.”
“What the hell dude?” Rang out from a bunch of people in the crowd.
“Why would you do that?” Carter asked.
“There are no rules to this race, and the way I see it, I won fair and square,” Jesse replied, his smile turned smug.
“Keys,” he said, holding out his hand to Carter.
Carter’s face of stone takes a look at the crowd around him and then back to Jesse. He doesn’t know what to do. The crowds torn. Half looked like they were in awe of Jesse, and the rest looked like they were ready to bat for Carter.
The whole crowd stood still as Carter reached into his pocket. He tossed his keys up, and caught them in his palm once, twice, three times. His shoulders drop and then he stretched his arm out, dropping his keys into Jesse’s palm.
Everyone was shocked. Me? My jaw dropped open.
And just like that, Carter was no longer the top of the food chain.