Keep On Truckin
(sequel to IMYOR62)
Life in the Fast Lane
Okay, here we go. Focus. Speed. I am speed. One winner, twenty-one losers. I eat losers for breakfast. Breakfast? Oh crud, I knew I shouldve eaten breakfast this morning instead of worrying about that stupid photo shoot! Mmm, pancakes
No, no, no, focus. Speed. Faster than fast, quicker than quick. I am Veronica Vroom.
There was a knock at the trailer door. Hey Vee, you ready? came Macks voice from outside.
The door opened. Vee descended the ramp to a flurry of cheers and flashing lights as dozens of cars crowded around her. Fans and the press bombarded her with questions. Cameras clicked away like crazy. Mack came forward and with one intimidating sneer managed to keep the crowd at bay. Vee smiled seductively for the multitude of cameras poised on her every move. She turned slowly on the spot, winking and blowing kisses to her admirers. No one noticed the single kiss strategically aimed at the big red semi who was her driver. No one, that is, except Mack, who caught it and acknowledged it with a smile.
Whistles and catcalls rang out as Vee joined the other racecars on their way to the starting line. Before anyone could shout out Break an axle! they were off, streaking up the track in a roaring rainbow blur. Mack quickly made his way through the lumbering forest of RVs in the center field until he had a clear view of the track. He just barely caught a glimpse of the Chrysler as she sped past the fourth turn of her first lap.
Her pearly lavender paintjob glinted like moonlight on chrome, beautiful in spite of her sponsors tacky stickers. The most notable of these was a blue letter V inside a large pink heart in the middle of her hood. Several smaller hearts dappled her sides, along with the number fourteen.
Hold onto your hoods, fellas! announced Darrell Cartrip. Taking the lead in the first lap is the voluptuous Veronica Vroom! Helloooo mama, wouldja lookit that, Bob?
Im looking, Darrell! Believe me, Im looking! replied Bob Cutlass. That spicy little Chryslers caught everyones eye! And though she only just started racing last season, Im gonna go out on a limb and say that this lovely young lady may be the hottest thing on four wheels since the recently retired Sonia Alexa. In fact, Id say even hotter!
Youd better watch out, Bob! We dont want to offend any Alexa fans down there! Darrell chuckled. If you wanna compare Vroom to anyone, then lets not forget fellow female racecars Mitzi Bishi and Carmen Cruz! Eat your hearts out, ladies, and make room for Vroom!
* * *
a collision in the second turn leaving four racecars out of commission. Vee just barely managed to avoid becoming part of the pileup.
And thank the Manufacturer for those reflexes! exclaimed Bob. Did you see that swerve, Darrell? Talk about a precision instrument!
I sure did, Bob. Vrooms really on the ball today. Slicker than slick and faster than lightning!
Surely you dont mean faster than McQueen! Bob teased.
Surely I do, Bob, Darrell replied, and speak of the devil! Here comes McQueen now, rounding the third turn. Looks like he lost more than one lap after that blowout back in lap forty-four. Its going to take a miracle for him to catch up with Vroom now!
After spending the first half of the race neck and neck with each other, and only eight laps left to go, hes gotta be wondering, how the heck did this ravishing rookie manage to steal second place right out from under his nose?
Same way she stole my heart, Ill bet!
* * *
a swish of the flag, a roar from the crowd, and the race was over.
* * *
Mack forged his way through the crowd to get to Vee. Hey Vee! he called out to her over the roofs of several reporters and security vehicles. Vee squinted her eyes and looked past the blinding flash of cameras until she spotted him. She smiled and went to meet him halfway. Mack had to resist the overwhelming urge to sweep her up in his tires and kiss her passionately right then and there. Without a word he escorted her away from the clamoring crowd.
So did you get second or third place? he asked her when they reached her trailer. It looked too close to call from where I was parked.
I tied for second with whats-his-name, Vee answered. The Leak Less guy. Though her voice was subdued and her face blank, Mack could tell she was holding back a grin. He drove closer to her and gave her a congratulatory nudge that, though a small gesture for him, nearly caused her to collide with a forklift carrying a stack of tires.
I guess that means Lightning came in third?
Third or fourth, Vee replied. Theyre still trying to figure it out, I think. That guy sure likes sticking his tongue out.
Oh hey, there he is now! Hey, kid!
Lightning was standing near his trailer, arguing with a blue racecar.
You only got third place cuz you just cant keep your dang mouth shut! exclaimed his rival. Theres no way you wouldve beaten me otherwise!
Lightning smirked proudly. One word, pal: nnnnyeh! he replied, sticking his tongue out at him. The blue car growled and drove away.
Mack chuckled. Youve come a long way, McQueen. Nice to see that youve become so refined over the past few years.
Thanks, Lightning replied, having misinterpreted Macks remark as a compliment. Say Mack, have you seen Gaspar? I asked him to wait for me by the Rusteze tent after the race, but hes not there.
Mack groaned inwardly and glanced around. Knowing him, hes probably over by the
yep. There he is, over there. He nodded toward the big blue stage where the Dinoco girls were posing for a photo shoot with the King. Though he had retired from racing two years earlier, Strip Weathers had yet to be replaced as Dinocos golden boy. Off to one side of the stage stood a crimson semi truck. He looked nearly identical to Mack save for his brown eyes and darker red paintjob.
Whats he doing over there? Lightning asked.
Mack sighed and shook his hood. Only one thing I can think of. He drove toward the stage. Even though Gaspars back was to him, there was no doubt what the big rig was up to. When he was near enough, Mack could clearly hear him flirting with one of the Dinoco girls. He rolled his eyes.
Hey Dad, he said, giving the crimson truck a nudge. No response. Dad!
Gaspar jumped and turned around. What? he yelped. Look, Im keepin my tires to myself! See?
Lightnings looking for you! Mack explained.
Oh, is that all? Gaspar appeared both relieved and disappointed by this news.
Yeah. Time to go home.
At these words Gaspar perked up. He turned to the nearest Dinoco girls and with a tip of his hood said, Sorry ladies, but this truck is spoken for! As he drove away the girls whispered amongst themselves and snickered.
Mack smirked at his father. I dont know why Mom doesnt come along to make sure you behave yourself, he grumbled.
Hell, if she did, I wouldnt have a reason to misbehave! Gaspar chuckled, then sighed. Dodge, I miss that woman.
You just saw her yesterday, Mack reminded him, and well be home in a few hours.
So? That dont mean I dont miss her when shes not around.
* * *
A few minutes later Mack and Gaspar had hitched themselves up to their trailers. Lightning snickered at Mack. I still cant get over how ridiculous you look hauling a purple trailer! he teased.
Mack smirked at him, but did not reply. A purple trailer he could live with. Inwardly he thanked his lucky stars that he hadnt been coerced into getting a paintjob to match or Vees sponsors logo printed on his cap. Even she wasnt all that thrilled about being sponsored by Velvalube, the joint lubricant for women. The design was far too girly for her taste, and the overpowering floral scent of the product caused Macks allergies to act up.
Hey Vee, Mack called to her over the intercom. Can you hear me back there?
Loud and clear! she replied.
Ready to go home?
You bet! A few seconds of silence, then - Hey Mack, guess what tomorrow is?
It took him a moment to realize what she was hinting at. Oh, right! Valentines Day! He grinned at the prospect of what such a romantic day would entail for them both. It had been over two years since that fateful day when his best friend from high school had crashed into him in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. Two whole years, and his love for her was just as strong as it had been the night theyd shared their first kiss while on the run from the law. Mack was determined to make this Valentines Day one she would never forget.
Beside him on the freeway, Gaspar seemed to be thinking the same thing. His grin was far more devious, but Mack ignored him. He had plans of his own to worry about.
Chapter Two: [link]