It Was One of Those Days - Pt VI


Here - watch THIS!
May 24, 2001
I wiped my hands on one of those orange shop towels – you know, the ones that come in a bag of 100 or so and put off enough of the pesky orange lint when they’re new to make a large rug – and took the phone from Kelly.


“Steve? This is Ned… *cough*… how ya doin’?”

“Well, from what I hear, better than you. At least I’m not in the hospital – how are YOU doing?” I was genuinely curious because he sounded pretty good for having just wrapped a new High-dollar Shelby Mustang around a power pole.

“*Cough*… Not too bad, I guess… I’ve got a broken left wrist, a couple of busted ribs, and feel like I’ve been ran over by a semi load of illegal immigrants but other than that, I sure can’t complain. Although I don’t think I’ll probably ever Vickie back in a car with me again.”

Apparently, that was the girl who went for the joy ride of HER life that night. I don’t remember if we got her name or not…

“Ned, a deputy was here and asked me questions about the crash… I told him we weren’t racing – at least, officially that is. Did you talk to them?” I knew he had based on what Jim told me but I still didn’t trust this guy.

“Yeah, they were here for quite a while last night and again this morning. Asked me and Vickie about the same thing; whether we were racing, who *cough* we were racing, and so forth. Got all my insurance info – god, there’s gonna be a helluva rate-hike on this deal – and such but really, he didn’t cite *cough, cough* me for anything. They believed what I told them and that was that the motor locked up due to mechanical failure, the clutch was engaged, the rear tires locked at the same time… and so I slid into the pole. I was just damned lucky the car didn’t hit a few more inches rearward or I would be wearing a dirt suit today…. *cough… cough, cough*”

I found myself nodding… that was probably one of the worst wrecks I’ve seen and for him to not get killed was a miracle.

He continued…

“Steve, that isn’t the reason I’m calling you though.”

Ok, here it comes…

“Ok, Ned. Then why DID you call?” I must admit that listening to his annoying cough was much better than that “Har-HAR-HAR” horse-laugh of his.

“Steve, I want to race you again. I really think I was pulling you and had you beat but when the engine backfired up through the blower – I think the NOS was a bit too much or I lost fuel – it was all over. Would you be interested in running me again when I get my new car?”

I thought for a moment… I also noticed Kelly and Brandon standing there watching my face for some sort of clue as to why ol’ Ned was calling. I didn’t think agreeing to another street race would have gone over well.

“Ned, I’ve got to be honest. I screwed up by just racing you that night. I told you at the restaurant as well as there on the street that we should just wait and go to the track but you goaded me into it and look what happened. On top of that, I found a problem with the mill in my car and Brandon and I just finished pulling it out this evening and putting the other mildly modded stock-blocker back in. So, really, I’m not interested in another street race for both of those reasons.”

There was a long pause at the end of the line. Oddly, I felt like I could feel anger in the silence…

“Listen, pal… I was pulling your Buick and you know it. If you want to leave it like that we both know that I was winning and that’s cool. I’m just offering you a chance to try and redeem yourself, maybe make up for being part of the problem that night.”

I felt my face flush with anger. The nerve of this clown! First of all, saying he was pulling me and secondly, blaming me for his own stupidity.

Pausing, I decided not to reply in kind. After all, ol’ Ned might just be a little heavy on the Vicodin talking. Or not.

“Ned, I’m not street racing you again. And with the shape you’re in plus the fact you don’t even have a running car, on top the fact you’re probably a little spacey – understandably so – from the pain killers, I’m going to ignore the tone of your voice. But no – I’m not interested in racing you and for the record, you weren’t pulling ANYone, pal. I had you and you know it. You stayed on the Nitrous too long or something – it wasn’t my fault. But the bottom line is that YOU were the one being pulled.”

More silence. I could hear some shuffling around and some more *coughs*. Finally he spoke again. This time, it was like he flipped a switch.

“Sorry Steve, it might be the drugs talking. I gotta disagree with your opinion as to who was winning but that’s not important – we just didn’t get to finish the race, right? So let’s finish it and then we’ll both know. How about we hook up together the next warm spell out at the track? Bernie Niswager is the owner and a close personal friend of mine *cough*… I know he’ll open it up anytime I ask. I’ll pay the rental fee and we can get several runs in. Maybe even invite some friends too, whadayasay?”

Wow. When Ned flips a switch, he seems to pull the breaker too. This made me all the more wary.

“Hold on, Ned…”

I put the phone on “Hold” and brought Kelly and Brandon up to speed. They looked like they could just burst from waiting to find out what he wanted and after seeing me get pissed off, they were all the more curious.

After I explained it, I got the expected responses. Kelly said an emphatic “You’re crazy to even be on the same piece of highway as that nut job” opposed by Brandon’s, “Hell yeah! Run that bastard and show him what your car will do.” I looked back at Kelly, hoping she might give in after hearing B’s answer and seeing my face.

She did.

“Aw go ahead. As long as it’s on a track though, ok? You’re done street racing, Mario…” She gave me a quick peck on the cheek and exited the garage….

I clicked the phone off “Hold”.

“Ok, Ned… here’s what I’ll do. We’ll go when the next warm spell comes along and after you’re all healed up. You sure don’t need to be driving in your condition... If you can get another car by then, fine then we’ll race. If not, let me know when you’ve got one and we’ll give ‘er a try – IF it’s warm enough, IF we can run at the track, and IF everything is legit. But here’s the other part of the deal – no NOS, no monster blower or crap like you did to your last one. My GN is now in street kill mode with a bolt-on modified stock motor. It should be a mid 11 car or so. From what I’ve read about the Shelby’s, with traction and a few bolt-on’s equivalent to what I’ve done, you should be able to be the same. Let’s see what we can do then, ok?”

“*Cough… cough..* Har-HAR-HAR! Now THAT’s the spirit Steve… let’s have some fun. But beyond that, I look forward to running that old car of yours… for more reasons that you really need to know. For now, that is… *cough*”

I didn’t bother asking him what that meant. More vicodin-speak was my guess.

“Ned… let’s try and get some other cars to come too. I know Brandon would like to run his completely stock Shelby and I’ve got some buddies just itching to get on the track one more time but we all figured it was done till spring. Do you care if they come too?”

*CLICK* The switch seemed to flip again…

“Look Steve… bring all the witnesses you want. Sure, they can run. But they can’t run you until AFTER I do. Otherwise, we’ll wait for another time. Sooner or later, we’ll meet on the street again…”

“Ned, no need to space out here… ok?” Man, this guy is nuttier than my grandma’s fruitcake.

“Let me know when you’re up to it, ok?”

“Oh, Steve… it won’t be as long as you think... *cough*” Of course, I doubted he would remember half the conversation by morning.

“Sure Ned. Whatever… I’m usually off weekends but I need to know by a Thursday at the latest so I can make plans with my wife if we don’t go. So, you let me know.”

“Fine. I’ll be in touch… Oh – and one more thing.”

“What’s that, Ned?”

“I’ve already got me another car. It will be here Wednesday.”

Now, how in the hell did he get another Shelby that quick? I bit…

“How, Ned? How in the hell could you get another GT500 bought that quickly?”

“I didn’t go buy it. I already had it at home. The one I wrecked is one of three that I own and actually is sort of the middle-of-the-road, performance wise. I guess you missed the part about me being real good friends with the dealer, huh? Money talks, pal – bullsh!t walks. I’ve got the coin and I’ve got the cars. My black one is the one that bites the most. Evolution performance tuned it for me and it should be off the transporter later this week. Maybe someday, you can race it too. But you’ll need a couple more cylinders to play in its league! Har-HAR-HAR!!! *cough* See ya when it’s warm, ok?”


He hung up. I guess for me, the biggest shock of the entire day was learning that there was a person on the face of this earth that had (or at least CLAIMED to own) 3 of one of the rarest cars in the universe right now.

I couldn’t help wonder what the other two were like…especially the black one.

I quickly filled Brandon in on the balance of the conversation and watched HIS jaw drop as much I’m sure mine did when I told him about Ned’s claim of owning two more Shelby’s.

“Man, I had no clue, Steve. I knew he said he bought the red one at Findlay but I do believe he’s got some seriously deep pockets. You should see the pics he was flashing around of his house and garage – man, he’s makin’ it somehow… and THREE Shelby’s? His garage must be loaded!”

I nodded my head. Knowing what I knew about Ned, I doubt if it was a good work ethic that ‘earned’ what he had. But hey, I didn’t know that for sure so I just bit my tongue.

“You know something, though B?”

“What’s that, Steve?” he answered grinning, knowing where I was going.

“He doesn’t know what I’ve got in MY garage either though, does he?” I just grinned back.

I reached up and began turning off the lights in the garage, listening to Brandon putting the tools back in their places, the clanking of the steel on steel a reassuring sound for some odd reason. You can always count on the right tool to do the job...

“I’ve got to get some shut-eye, B… I’ll give you a call tomorrow or the next day, ok? If you hear something let me know and I’ll do the same.”

I knew Brandon was as tired as me. He just nodded agreement, tossed his soda can in the recyclables container, and headed out the garage with a wave. I went on in and grabbed a quick shower before collapsing in bed beside my wife… mercifully, sleep came quickly…

* * * * * * * *

Later the next day, just as I was beginning to pull into the garage in my wife’s GTO (I had to take it by the dealer on the way home from work for a look at what appeared to be leaking struts), my cell phone rang. Hearing the distinct Ford Mustang Exhaust ring tone I had downloaded for Brandon’s calls, I knew it was him.

“What’s up, B?” I asked.

“Steve, you’ll never guess what I just found out. I can’t believe it myself…”

Hmmm… Brandon doesn’t usually sound THIS excited.

“Ok, bud. What’s the scoop?”

“Well, I was down at the dealer’s this afternoon to pick up some filters for the Mustang when in comes this drop dead gorgeous brunette. I mean G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S! And she’s standing there talking to the service writer and I’m just trying to listen to her silky smooth voice when I notice her pointing outside and talking about her car. I slide away from the counter and look outside and what do I see? An honest to god, Ford GT, Steve! A red with white striped Ford GT! You know – the $165k jobs? This sweet thing was driving this GT!”

I still didn’t get what had him so excited other than maybe not getting out much?

“Ok, Brandon. A Ford GT. Cool. But man, we’ve seen a few of the around and even sat in that one down at Dayton a few months ago. Big deal. So why all the excitement?”

“Oh, Steve… you are not going to believe this. This lady begins giving her info and keys to the service guy and he asks her to spell her last name, and she seems all upset or something. Even sounded like she was crying... So, she does… R-e-y-n-o-l-d-s…. Mira Reynolds. Well, that kind of catches my ears because that is the same last name as old Ned. Remember? Ned Reynolds.”

“Ok, B. But I thought he was single and-“ Brandon cut me off…

“Steve, you’re not letting me finish. I heard her clearly tell the service writer that she was Ned Reynolds’ wife! Well that sure caught my attention! I know that the girl with him in the car the other night was NOT this lady. But even THAT is not the big news… man, let me get a drink of water… hang-on, ok?”

What in the world had Brandon so wound up? Just then, I saw Jim in his cruiser slowing down for my driveway with his blinker on, preparing to pull in.

“Steve, I’m back. I found out why she seemed upset. I first thought it might have been something to do with her being Ned’s wife and him being out with that girl?”


“But bro, that isn’t it. She actually begins to sob a bit…”

Jim shuts off his car, steps from the big black Crown Vic and dons his Sheriff’s hat and begins to walk on up the drive as I hold the cell phone to my ear…

“She tells the service writer that her husband just died this morning….”

What? I couldn’t have heard him right, did I? Is he saying what I thought he was saying?

“Brandon, you must be mixed up. Ned Reynolds is not married, nor could he have died this morning. I just talked to him less than 36 hours ago and he sounded fine.”

“Steve… it’s true. I made a couple of calls after getting more info from the service writer. Ned died this morning, supposedly due to complications from the broken ribs and his lungs… seems he drowned in his own blood before they could rescue him…”

The color washed from my face and even though it was cold outside, I felt even colder inside. How could this be? Ned? Dead?

“Steve, ya got a few minutes? I need to go over your statement again…” It was Jim this time…

“Brandon, I’ve gotta go. Jim’s here and I imagine it’s about what you just told me…” We exchanged quick good-byes and I flipped the phone closed and into my pocket.

“Sure Jim… is this about Ned?”

“Well, sort of Steve. But it’s also about you and what really happened Saturday night… Let’s go inside and talk, ok? This may take a while…”

To be continued…
Dang it...I've waited until today to start reading from the beginning (Being a older timer and all) thought that I'd caught the ending....

Great so Far :biggrin: Now I have to wait around with the Noobs :eek:
Great!!! I thought he would make it out alive and you would have a frshly built SII to drop in that ran low 9's...hmm

This is like the series "Prison Break". You can speculate but NEVER really know what is going to happen. When is part VII comming out? :cool:
NED Is DEAD, Why kill'em off?

Mannnnnnn, I was waiting for the rematch and you fixing the stage II. Look at us, Drooling for More. Well what can you do when a person writes so well. I dont get into stories but this one is good.
Part VII is up. It will be a few days before I can get Part VIII up though... but it IS coming.

Merry Christmas!