It Was One of Those Days - Pt XXIX


Here - watch THIS!
Saturday morning broke out as one of those text-book spring days – warm, no wind, and getting warmer each minute the bright sun rose higher in the blue, cloudless sky. After breakfast, I ran down to the local parts store and picked up a new set of plugs for each of the Buicks, not intending to change all of them out but I ended up doing so anyways. Seems once I get started on a project like that, I just want to keep going… sound familiar? I got the plugs changed, checked all the numbers on the TPS and so forth with the multimeter on the WE4 (even though we weren’t going to take it) as well as the TTA. Not surprisingly, everything was where it was supposed to be. They were ready other than some wax/detailing but that would have to wait – we were getting hungry.

Anyhow, before I knew it, it was lunch time. Kel and I ran down to a local eatery in her GTO and then stopped by Brandon’s house to see if he was still planning on going. After a brief conversation in his driveway while he was waxing his Shelby with Stacy elbow deep in the project with him, we headed back home. We immediately got to work doing a final detail on the TTA – and on the GSX.

Kelly and I had talked a lot during the week about what all this might mean, especially what was supposed to happen at the street race tonight. We debated about what car/cars to take and ended up deciding we were just going to go heads up with what we wanted to run. She wasn’t going to run her GTO and since the actual goal of the night was helping Jim catch a bad-guy or two, we just wanted to try and have some fun. So, in the end taking the GSX won out. It didn’t matter to us who knew what about what car we had since ‘Shawn’ and his gang had already seen Frankie at the restaurant before. ‘Shawn’ knew we had the TTA so we decided to just let the chips fall where they may.

Tonight was going to be about street racing as far as we were concerned and hopefully, Jim could catch his perps without issue for us.

At least – that was the plan…

We were just about finished waxing the GSX when Jim pulled in. He had a plain-clothes with him who, after Jim had popped the trunk on the black Crown Vic (unmarked), pulled a fairly sizeable briefcase out.

“Steve, let’s go inside and we’ll go over the details and the equipment with you and Kel. This shouldn’t take long. Oh – this is Rob, he’s our Surveillance expert and he’ll get you hooked up on the wires you’ll be wearing. He and his team will be in a van out of sight from where you guys will be and they will be monitoring your conversations. We really want to get Cy but he is smart… damned smart. If you can get him to open up about cars he’s won or might try to win or what he is doing with them, that would be great. If all we can bust him for is racing and then take him down town, that will be good too. But - we would LOVE to get him on record saying something that connects him to a car or two that are reported stolen and we believe that probably have been shipped on one of those ships like I showed you in the photo sitting at port near Cleveland… Are you SURE you guys are still up for this?”

Kelly and I both nodded a solid “Yes”.

“Ok, let’s go on inside… Rob? You want to take it from here?”

Rob held out his hand to shake with us and began talking as we walked on into the house. Less than 20 minutes later, he and Jim were leaving. It wasn’t too complicated – the main thing was that we had to be sure the wires were completely out of sight, that they were securely adhered to our bodies, and that the transmitters were “ON”, which of course was the MOST important thing of all. Oh, and of course we should not get them wet. Duh…

After Jim and Rob piled back in the Vic, we finished buffing up the GSX. Standing back and looking at its flanks, we both just stared. For some reason, this car captivates you. Maybe it’s the lines… maybe it’s the color – black, deadly looking, simply evil… or, maybe it was knowing that this car is one of one. People like Dollar Bill and his crew from Flint who poured their souls into creating this freak of mechanical nature are special as are those who can appreciate the significance of a mechanical monster like Frankie… whatever it was, we didn’t speak… the light danced about the curves and angles on the car and it just sat there… waiting… looking at it in deep appreciation... behind us sat the TTA in the adjoining bay. We turned to look at it too...

The TTA exudes a different attitude. It comes across as brash and bold yet extremely confident… it doesn’t really strike you as a killer when you first glance at which is one of the reasons I love that car. The white and gold almost make the car seem like a 60 year old filthy-rich CEO with an open shirt and gold chains dangling down upon his tanned chest while he drives his BMW around town – it just looks dated, very ’80-ish. Yet, you do not realize the power that that car has within, just like that that CEO who could buy and sell most of us. The TTA is the same – it has the power and ability to do what it wants yet it seems to be almost ignored (except by those who know what the car truly is) or overlooked.

The paint shown brightly off the F-body’s hood and flanks and the engine bay was spotless too. Both cars were as ready as they would ever be… sitting next to each other in the garage, one in white, the other in black, it seemed to represent the forces in the Universe who constantly are at battle – good and evil. The TTA looked like the Good Guy, the Lone Ranger of performance cars; the GSX – definitely the Bad Guy, the person with a dark soul that even Lucifer would fear; one who would just as soon smash your face in than look at you. It would be interesting to see how each might represent its Universal ‘force’ tonight….

Of course, Kel and I both wondered about how it would go on the people- level too. Not just when Jim and his boys swooped in but before… would there be a lot of cars? Would Jonah/Shawn and his gang actually show up? Would there be trouble before the law even got there? We just didn’t know much what to expect to so in the end, we came back to our original plan.

Have fun, win races, stay safe and see the bad guy(s) go down then, we could just move on and prepare for what was yet to come. For us, tonight was going to be a tune-up to the big event upcoming at Tri-County that was rapidly approaching. We even hoped that Bill Reynolds might show up as well as Ned/Nate/whatever his ‘name’ might be… we didn’t think that would happen but hey, if Shawn/Jonah came, maybe a lot of more of his clan might show up. Again, it was all speculation…

Shortly before dark, Brandon and Stacy pulled into the drive. Kel and I were sitting in the garage, listening to the stereo's Classic Rock station and watching the evening draw to an end. Long shadows were being cast across the driveway and the sounds/smells of spring were in force. Birds and insects were doing their best to play their own symphony of nature and the lush, green grass was begging once again for a cutting. Down the street, somebody was grilling on a Charcoal grille and smell of Ribeye's or T-Bones danced in the air... The grass and our grille would just have to wait until tomorrow – today just didn’t have enough hours in it.

The GT500 slowed to a stop and then shut down. It looked low and mean; a different attitude than Frankie but very, very similar. While the GSX was just simply mean and evil in almost a prehistoric way, the Black Shelby was the New Satan… smooth, polished… menacing and muscular, bulging with powerful muscles beneath its wide flanks… no flash, no stripes or big wings… just raw, muscular power… like seeing an NFL middle linebacker in a black suit…. You just know that this is not an entity to screw with…

“Hey, Kel – hey Steve; you guys all ready to go?”

Stacy waved a hello as B grabbed a couple more chairs and sat them near Kelly and me.

“Yeah… we’re ready…” Kelly chimed in, “Darn right, we’re ready… and the cars are even MORE ready… I just hope this all goes well but either way, we’re going to have a good time…”

Stacy smiled and nodded in agreement. Before he sat down, Brandon walked over the fridge and grabbed a couple of sodas. Handing one to Stacy he sat down next to her and we just mostly talked small talk.

Brandon knew about the wires.

“So… are you guys wired yet?”

“Not yet. We won’t put them on until we actually get ready to leave which won’t be for an hour or so. But they’re pretty slick, really. I always thought that it was some big transmitter and a few feet of antenna but these weren’t anything like that at all – here, look…”

I picked up the primary transmitter off of the table to my left. It was very small – about half the size of a small cell phone. Its antenna was internal and it was usually placed in the small of your back when worn, just below belt level and out of sight. With it was a small microphone about the size of a dime. Like the main transmitter, it had peel and stick tape on its body-side that was even moisture resistant so it wouldn’t fall off.

Jim did caution us about the best way to remove the hardware once finished – he had said that if we just tried to rip it off like a band-aid, we would take a layer of skin with it! Instead, we were supposed to use a Q-tip and swab around its sides with the release agent that was in the small bottle that Rob had taken out of his case earlier in the afternoon.

The microphone had its own battery and had a range of ~6-8 feet. As long as both the transmitter and the mic were on your body, the transmitter (actually, a combo receiver/transmitter) would pick up the microphone’s signal and in turn, transmit it to the main receiver/recorder that Rob and his crew would be monitoring which could be up to 2 miles away! Kelly’s equipment was identical.

“Man Steve – this stuff is TINY! Are you sure it will stay on?”

“Jim also has a camera for each piece but in the dark it doesn’t pick up too well so we’re not wearing it. He also was very clear that if we tried to pull the hardware off our bodies without using the release agent, it would take skin. I’m going to believe him because he showed me marks on his chest and back that were still healing up from not using the agent. It looked like an octopus had its way with him! So, we’re going to do what he said and use the agent to get them off.”

Kelly nodded agreement, a serious "I ain't takin' no chances" look on her face.

So, we talked cars and races and Reynolds and Law Enforcement and before we knew it, it was almost 11pm. Since we were only about 20-30 minutes from the old airstrip, we began to get ready. Kelly and Stacy went inside so Stacy could help her get her equipment on and Brandon helped me get situated.

By then, Kel and Stacy came back out and we headed to our cars. Kelly was going to drive the TTA and me the GSX… turning off the garage lights as we opened the doors we saw the cars sitting and waiting. We had them backed in and they looked like thoroughbreds ready to hurtle from the gates. We heard Brandon start up the Shelby as the garage doors came to a stop at full open. It sounded good… really strong and healthy and the whine from the blower hissed and whistled eerily…

I opened the door of the GSX and got in, closing the door solidly. Amazingly, even after nearly 40 years - many of which were sitting in Dollar Bill's barn -, the car was STILL tight and silent, a testament to the build quality of the day… GM has taken a lot of bad press about quality over the years and some – if not a LOT – of it was deserved.

But the Buick’s were truly the ‘Gentleman’s racecar’ – the GSX muffled the sounds of B’s GT500 to almost silence… the hinges did not sag, the windows fit tightly against their weather-stripping, and the car still smelled nearly new. The Corvette might have gotten the press - but the Buicks were BUILT WELL.

I put the key into the ignition and turned it forward to ‘Run’. Immediately, the gauges jumped to life…

I matted the accelerator a couple of times…

Twisting the rectangular shaped key in the chrome ignition slot on forward to “Start” slowly, I imagined its travel in the cylinder… rotating… rotating… then – CONTACT!

Immediately, the contacts were closed and in a nano-second current surged through relays and wires and solenoids… 12+ volts shoved by a LOT of amps raced from the trunk-located battery to the starter and the 455’s compression tried to resist the torque placed by the starter on the flywheel. But it couldn’t… immediately, the engine turned over…

The crank drove the big cam resting impatiently within the block via the chain… as the cam rotated in its bearings, the lobes rotated and forced push rods up or allowed them to fall depending on where they were in the timing sequence… spark was already being generated via the distributor/coil and fuel/air mixture was being sucked in hurricane force into the massive intake… connecting rods began to rise and fall, taking bucket-sized pistons with each stroke as exhaust or intake valves opened/closed in concert with the push rods… it was a deadly yet coordinated mechanical dance of power… compression squeezed the fuel/air mixture and at precisely the right moment -

SPARK and with it the explosive force of combustion! The highly compressed fuel/air was trying to blow the piston and combustion chamber apart but only succeded in driving the piston downward in its power stroke... the same process now following the firing order within the mammoth engine resting in Frankie's bay...

IT - was alive...

In less than a second after the ignition cylinder's points made contact, Frankie ROARED… true to his evil nature, he protested loudly, shaking and sputtering for a moment as he came awake… angry at being disturbed but now wanting to inflict his anger upon lesser vehicles; vehicles who had no way of understanding what made Frankie who/what he is…

The GSX trembled the earth and concrete… next to me, I could barely hear the TTA start, such was the difference. Where Frankie was idling and shaking with anger, the TTA was whistling and burbling… the Trans Am was smooth and composed… not much mechanical attitude to be seen… just quietly confident and yet powerful… ready to do whatever was needed… it was just – ready to go.

Kelly looked over at me, her window down. Our eyes met and I nodded… she nodded in agreement… it was time.

By now, Frankie had settled into a steady, heavily cammed idle… I pressed the brake pedal down, snicked the shifter into drive… immediately, the GSX tried to lurch forward, only the brakes being able to restrain the immense torque being thrust upon the drivetrain by the big 455… in the TTA, Kelly did the same and I saw the TTA lurch also, trying to leave the confines of the darkening garage and head on out into the night…

We both turned on our lights and released the brakes almost simultaneously as the cars rolled out of the garage… stereo on the shelf in the garage was playing Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way”...

“Do-do-do-DO, do-do-do-DO-do… do-do-do-DO, do-do-do-DO-do-DO...“ Joe Perry’s killer guitar licks were screaming the intro… a signature song for a defining night... we were about to see who COULD 'Walk This Way'...

We pulled on out onto the garage apron and paused… pressing the remotes, the big overhead doors closed behind us... we were now completely within Frankie's environment... the dark.

Brandon and Stacy were down at the end of the drive facing us, the GT500’s parking lamps and fogs were on… he backed on out onto the road as we pulled ahead, both of us riding the brake pedals to keep the cars at bay as we rolled on out… Frankie continued to try and get loose, almost surging at times as the huge lift and duration throbbed powerful stabs at the drivetrain…

I pulled out first with Kelly behind me and Brandon/Stacy following up… finally, I released the brake fully and began to give some accelerator to Frankie…. He KNEW it was time…

Yes. It was definitely time…

To be continued…
I can't describe it. Anticipation, the night before the biggest game of your life, seeing the exspession on your son's face for the first Christmas he understood? It's really not fair! can't wait, like picking up your first new car at a dealership. I want to keep reading. Wow just great stuff. Can't tell you how many times I've read starting at the beggining through the last chapter. Great flow. Very impressive. If this is a drug I'm hooked!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm sorry guys - I have been covered up like you would not believe. I am in the midst of changing jobs as well as trying to sell our house plus buy a new one in the city we're moving to since I accepted the promotion. My free time has been zilch!

BUT! This coming weekend, I will have three afternoons that I am planning on using to finish this story.

Hang in there - I just need to get it down in print. I am sure you will be happy with how it turns out.

There IS a light at the end of the tunnel - and it is not a train. :eek:
Congrats on the promotion. Hope it frees up some of your time.
Some of us on this board live for your stories. Hope to see some of them in print sometime in the future.
Good luck with the new digs.
We're still here. :biggrin: