Spearfish Lake Tales
Contemporary Mainstream Books and Serials Online
Eventually they pulled into a pretty decent motel on the west side of St. Louis. Since they’d left Bradford, neither of them had mentioned what they knew was to come, even though they both had looked forward to it coming. “We could probably push it a little farther,” Ray commented as he shut off the pickup, “but why bother? We’ll still have all day tomorrow before this Pierce guy gets off work.”
“Couldn’t agree more,” Ginger replied. “There’s no point in killing ourselves today by driving till all hours. I see they’ve got a pool and a hot tub. What do you say we unwind a bit before dinner?”
“Sounds like a good idea to me,” Ray agreed. “Get rid of some of that road feeling.”
They went to their room to change after checking in. From knowing what was to come the previous week, Ginger had made some preparations on a quick trip into Hawthorne. Now, out of Ray’s sight, she changed into a string bikini that was considerably more daring than the one she’d worn painting the sign on the track a few weeks before. It was on the scanty side and she probably wouldn’t have worn it in public around Hawthorne or Bradford, but they were a long way away, and there was little chance that they’d run into anyone they knew around here. She even blushed a little when she came out of the motel room bathroom with it on, where Ray could see her wearing it for the first time.
“Holy shit, honey!” he exclaimed. “That sure makes you look sexy, not that you don’t look pretty sexy to me most of the time anyway.”
It was still a little embarrassing to walk down the halls to the enclosed pool room wearing the red bikini with only a towel casually thrown over her shoulder, but she knew she had Ray’s attention every inch of the way. Even with the Miss Marston gag at the track, Ginger had never thought of herself as being particularly sexy, but she did her best to shrug off the embarrassment and feel that way as much as she could.
In any case, she found herself getting used to it over the course of the next hour or so. The two of them played around in the pool, alternated with soaks in the hot tub – Ginger had never had the opportunity to try one out before, and found that she liked it. Maybe someday, she thought, but that was something for the future, and there were more momentous experiences awaiting in the here and now.
Eventually they decided it was time to head in for dinner. They went back to the motel room, but rather than putting on the jeans and T-shirt that she’d worn all day in the truck, Ginger took the time to dry her hair, then put on a light summer dress. It was something else she’d bought on the trip to Hawthorne the week before. She drew some appreciative looks in the motel’s restaurant, and not just from Ray.
Still, there was no discussion of what both of them knew couldn’t be far off now. Finally, after a leisurely dinner, the issue could not be put off any longer. “Ray,” she said as they walked into their room, “it’s still early. If you like, we could go hit the pool again, or we could do what I think both of us really want to do.”
“The pool doesn’t hold a candle to the other thing,” he replied a little shyly. “And I’ve wanted to do the other thing with you for a long time now.”
“Me, too,” she whispered. “We’ve waited long enough.” She turned to him and found his arms open and waiting for her.
There was a long kiss before she whispered into his ear. “Ray?”
“Ray, I don’t know how to say this, but you know it’s my first time. Be gentle with me.”
There was a rather slinky and nearly transparent baby doll in her overnight case that she’d planned to wear for this occasion, but all of a sudden the time for that had passed without noticing it. No words were needed now; just kissing and hugging and exploration with hands and body parts. Looking back at it later she could not have said at what point her clothes came off or how they did, but after a period of time that wasn’t brief they were naked with each other on the bed. The urgency they felt for each other just increased as time went by.
And then she found she was lying on her back, with some of Ray’s weight pressed down on her as he probed gently at her virgin entrance. “Please, Ray,” she found herself begging. “I need it in me.” And then he was . . . she felt the pressure in her as he probed deeper into her body, and if it hurt at all she didn’t notice it, since she was so lost in the intense feeling of the experience. It went on for a long time but however long it was it wasn’t enough, not that she was terribly aware of time passing – her time sense was lost in the other intense feelings, his hands on her and the wonderful feelings between her thighs. And then the world went crazy, and she’d never felt anything quite as good in her life.
Some time later – she could not have said how long – she became aware of the fact that she was lying on the bed with Ray next to her, kissing him gently while his hands still did wonderful things to her. “Oh, God, Ray,” she whispered. “That was so good! You’re wonderful! Can we do that again?”
“Of course we can,” she heard him say. “That was just a heat. The feature is yet to come.”
Ginger was just a little sore as the two of them walked out to the truck the next morning, but then she had every right to be a little sore and wouldn’t have changed it for the world. She’d hoped that it would be good, but the reality was even better than she had dreamed. She had been right. Her world had changed last night.
“Ray,” she said as they got under way, “I know last night wasn’t the first time for you, but it was the first time for me. I really enjoyed it.”
“Well,” he replied sheepishly, “I did, too. If we get a little practice at it I think we can enjoy it a lot more.”
“Good,” she giggled, “except I think I need lots and lots of practice.”
“Good God, I think I’ve created a monster,” he teased, then got a little serious. “I think we’d better get as much practice as we can while we’re on this trip, though. I’m not sure how bad I want to have a night like that at home.”
“Yeah, true,” she sighed. “I feel that, too. Ray, what are we going to do?”
“Dunno,” he shook his head. “I guess all I can say is that for the moment we’d better get all we can the next couple nights, and then see how brave we want to feel when we get home. I’ll tell you this much, though: I used to have a place by myself back in North Carolina, and I wasn’t real happy with the idea of moving back home. You get used to having your own place. The time isn’t real good for us to get our own place, but maybe we ought to think about it, anyway. It’d need to be someplace in Bradford, so it’d be close to the track.”
“Yeah, I suppose,” she sighed. “Let’s face it, we’ve been able to get along pretty well since we’ve been living with your folks, but I don’t think we want to do that any more than we have to.”
“That’s my thought, too,” he said. “I think this idea of the shop is going to work out, but it’s going to take a while before everything falls into place. I know Dad is getting some work lined up that I can mess with out in the shop we have now, but that’s not going to cover all the bases, just yet.”
“Maybe a real cheap apartment,” she suggested.
“Might be,” he said. “There’s probably something available around town. I really haven’t looked, but maybe when we get back I can look at the ads in the Courier, or just ask around. I don’t think we need to be in a big rush about it, though. We’ve waited this long, we can wait it out a little more if we have to.”
“Yeah, I suppose,” she agreed, “but after last night, the waiting is going to be a whole lot harder.”
“For both of us, babe, for both of us,” he smiled. “I’ll tell you this much, though: I don’t think we want to go behind Dad’s and Mom’s backs on it. The only people we would be fooling would be ourselves. Face it, Ginger, they know we’ve been spending the nights together, and you know that as well as I do.”
“There have been some casual remarks about it,” Ginger agreed. “No teasing or anything. They know.”
“They sure do. What’s more, I think they wanted us to have the chance to be off by ourselves on this trip. After all, Dad has looked for that engine for years. I’m surprised he wasn’t down sitting on that Pierce’s doorstep last week.”
“He had to finish up school, and then there was the weekend,” Ginger protested.
“Big deal,” Ray snorted, “Dad likes road trips, he’ll do just about anything he can to take off and go someplace. He’s always been that way. There’s only one reason he’d have passed up a chance to take off for two or three days, and we did just what I think he was expecting.”
“Well,” Ginger sighed, “you’re probably right.”
“Oh, I’m sure I’m right,” Ray grinned. “I mean, nothing was said, but nothing had to be, because they know. What’s more, I think they wanted it to happen as much as you and I did. I honestly doubt they’d say anything if you just formally moved into my room with me and we just went ahead with having it regularly. I mean, so long as you could muffle some of those screams of delight I heard last night.”
“I did not scream with delight,” Ginger smirked. “I probably moaned with delight a bit here and there, but I don’t think it was screaming.”
“Tell my ringing ears that,” he laughed. “Or, maybe ask the people in the next room on either side. Don’t deny it, Ginger. I liked that, too. I really like knowing I can turn you on that much.”
“You sure turned me on, that’s the truth,” she giggled. “You’re saying we don’t do anything right now about getting an apartment or something, and just try to keep it down.”
“I’m not crazy about the idea, but I think it’s probably the best way,” he replied. “At least until things clear up a little bit. Let’s face it, staying with my folks has some good points, especially while the racing season is on, maybe till we get the new shop built.”
“Well, you’re right about that,” she nodded. “Boy, I’ll tell you what, though. Even if your folks are pushing us together, or at least not making any obstacles, they’re still pretty awesome. I can’t imagine what my folks would say if I were still living at home and my boyfriend moved in with me. I mean, the words ‘shit fit’ come to mind.”
“Well, I have to admit to a little surprise with Mom and Dad too,” he smiled. “Ten years ago, I think my folks would have pitched a shit fit if we were doing this. But that was ten years ago, and we’re ten years older, now. That makes a difference.”
It was late in the afternoon when they pulled into Max Pierce’s driveway at his place on the outskirts of Tulsa. Pierce’s shop proved to be a fairly large metal building, crammed with stuff, which included several complete sprint cars, and the frames and parts of several more. “Wow,” Ray said to Max, who appeared to be in his late forties or early fifties and was on the heavy-set and meaty side, “Looks like you’ve been in sprint cars for a long time.”
“Them and Midgets,” the smiling man said. “I like to think that sprint cars are pure racers and don’t pretend to be anything else. We’ve got a 427 series I mostly run in, although I’ve got one car set up to run the 231 V-6s. There’s a track down south of here that runs them, and I like to go down and make trouble once in a while.”
“Dirt sprints?” Ray asked.
“Oh, yeah. I don’t think I’ve raced on pavement ten times in my life. If it ain’t dirt, it ain’t racing. Your dad said your family had a track. Dirt track?”
“One of them,” Ray said. “We actually have two tracks; the other one is paved.”
“I’ve gotten myself involved in tracks once or twice, and it was always a pain in the butt,” Pierce shook his head. “Two, you have to have your head examined.”
“We get along,” Ray said. “It was mostly my dad and mom who started it back when I was a little kid, so we’ve got the worst of the bugs worked out over the years.”
“Your dad said you were starting a museum, and needed that old Offy for one of your cars.”
“Yeah, it’s a 1948 Kurtis Kraft, restored to its 1956 condition,” Ray replied, and went on to explain a little of the car’s history. “We probably won’t run the car for more than a few parade laps and it really doesn’t have to run at all, but we would kind of like to have it complete.”
“Got any other good cars?”
“We’ve got a few,” Ray smiled. “Including what’s probably the last Offenhauser to attempt to qualify at Indy. That was only two weeks ago, and I was the chief mechanic. The car is still sitting in its trailer out behind the shop. The guy who’s giving it to us is going to try to set an all-time track record with it next weekend for a last hurrah.”
“Hilyard?” Pierce smiled. “I saw that on TV. Boy, he sure twisted the tail on that thing after they fixed it up, didn’t he.”
“After we fixed it up,” Ray grinned. “Ginger and I were there working on it, too.”
“Yeah, that’s right, Gary said he was talking to you folks there in Gasoline Alley. Never been there, but that had to have been fun.”
“Might be there again, you never know,” Ray told him, starting to get antsy and wanting to get a look at the engine they’d driven a thousand miles to see. “But I’m mostly interested in the home track and the business we have out back. So this 255, do you think it can be made to run?”
“I don’t know,” Max shrugged. “I guess Gary told you about what I did with it. That was back, oh hell, about ’67. I happened to come across this guy that had it and didn’t know what to do with it, so I bought it cheap and slapped it in a sprint car. Those same folks down south that run the 231 V-6s were trying to run an economy sprint car class and it sort of got out of hand, you know how that stuff works. So I slapped that mill in a car and went down and cleaned house at the season finale, which had a big payout. I probably shouldn’t have done that, they changed the rules on me for the next season, but at least they tightened up on the rules and have kept them that way ever since, so maybe it wasn’t a total loss. Anyway, when they changed the rules, I yanked the engine out, set it on a pallet, oiled it pretty good and threw a tarp over it. Didn’t think I’d ever use it again, but you never know. It’s just set there since. After your dad called last week, I took the tarp off, drug it out into the middle of the shop and looked it over. The engine still seems loose and doesn’t seem corroded on the outside, anyway. It turns over pretty easy, so I’d guess it might run, but I can’t guarantee it after all this time.”
“I understand that,” Ray told him. “While we’d like to have a runner it really doesn’t have to be. It’s just a shame to have that car sitting there without any engine at all, and we wouldn’t want to put anything but an Offy in it.”
“I can understand that, with a car like that,” Max agreed. “Guess I’m glad I hung onto it. Half a dozen different times I’ve been set to haul it off to the scrap yard, but I’ve always thought someone would show up sooner or later who wanted the thing. You want to go have a look at it?”
Ray and Ginger followed Max into his shop, to discover the engine sitting on a pallet in the middle of the floor. Just at a glance, it appeared to be in good shape, clean if not museum clean – certainly better than Ray had expected. “I’ve got some spare parts for it, plus a few extras like a starter jackshaft,” Max told him. “Didn’t use a starter cart with it, just a push truck like most sprint cars. I’m afraid I don’t know much about the history of the thing, other than I know it hasn’t been rebuilt since it ran in an Indy car probably back about ’64 or ’65. It was a good, tight engine and ran pretty good the one time I raced with it.”
“Guess there’s not a whole lot we can do but haul it back home and see,” Ray told him. “To tell you the truth, my dad would have been tickled pink to find an engine that was in a whole lot worse shape than this one.”
With the help of a chain fall dangling overhead it was only the work of minutes to load the engine, pallet and all, into the back of Ray’s pickup. With it went some boxes of smaller parts and a few larger loose ones. In exchange, Ray gave Max a check, then the three of them went to work tying everything down and putting a tarp over it.
“Makes me feel good to know that someone’s getting that who’ll have a good use for it,” Max said as he stuffed the check into the pocket of his bib overalls. “Don’t suppose I could con you folks into hanging around for dinner?” he asked. “Mayleen ought to be pretty close to done with it by now and I’m sure she’ll have enough for all of us.”
“Sure, we’ll be glad to,” Ray said.
Mayleen Pierce proved to be a smiling, chubby woman with greying hair, and the dinner table discussion consisted of talk about race cars. “You ever try racing a sprint car?” Max asked Ray a while later.”
“No, never have,” Ray said. “I got to run a guy’s 360 car around the paved track one time years ago and it was a heck of a ride, but I’m so wrapped up with the track I don’t get to race much. I’ve got a McElroy Modified with a 360 Chevy in it, but I’ve only been able to get out with it once this season and don’t know when I’m going to get to do it again. I can’t imagine what it would be like to run a 427 sprint with that much horsepower on dirt.”
“It gets pretty good sometimes,” Max agreed. “To be honest, for the most part it’s too much horsepower and getting all of it to the ground can be a real hassle, but there are times you want all the horsepower there is and then some.”
Ginger was surprised to find out that the hopped-up Chevy V-8 under the hood of Max’s sprint car put out about the same amount of power as the turbocharged Offy in the Eagle! The turbo Offy was a much smaller engine and had to be pushed to its limit to get that kind of power, including the turbocharging. “Engines have come a long way since that 255 was built,” Max explained. “That engine at its best probably only puts out about half the power of a big sprint car engine.”
There was considerably more racing talk and tall tales – sometimes with the two merging indescribably, of course. “I have to ask,” Ginger said finally. “How did you get hooked on racing in the first place?”
“It just hooked me,” Max smiled. “I was brought up down outside McAlester, and when I was growing up there was nothing to do but look for trouble and there wasn’t even a hell of a lot of that to find. The first car race I ever saw was down there in the early fifties – ’52, ’53, something like that, I was still in high school. Remember that, Mayleen?”
“Couldn’t forget it,” the smiling woman said. “It was the first race I ever went to, and it was the first real date we ever went on, too.”
“That was back before we had TV, of course,” Max went on, “so it could get awful damn dull around. Well, one night this little touring race car show came to town. There wasn’t any regular track around, so they set up to run on a ball diamond there. There was only ten or twelve cars, funny looking Midgets. Well, it was something to do, so Mayleen and I decided to take in the show. Well, it was a heck of a good show, the racing looked like it was a lot of fun and I decided I wanted to do something like that. That was part of the reason we moved to Tulsa when we graduated, I knew they had a real race car track here. And, well, we’ve been doing it ever since.”
“It worked out right for us,” Mayleen said. “Those racers only came to town the one time that I know of, but it sure was the right time for us. I’ll never forget that night, those little cars racing around the ball diamond, roaring and raising Cain, and it seemed like a whole different world than all the dull stuff around town. I remember thinking that those folks had to have had quite a life, getting to travel around and do all sorts of interesting things while we were just stuck in McAlester.”
By now, Ray and Ginger were exchanging huge knowing grins. It was Ginger who popped the question: “You don’t happen to remember the name of that outfit, do you?”
“Oh yeah,” Mayleen smiled. “It was the Midwest Midget Sportsman Association. They sure opened our eyes to a lot of things. Haven’t heard anything about them since, and I’ve often wondered what happened with them.”
“It’s a long story,” Ray said, “but it’s one I’ve heard all my life. Dad was one of those drivers you watched, and if it was late ’53 or ’54, my mother was one of them, too. The guy who owned the association is now our track announcer.”
“You’re kidding!” Max laughed. “Small world, ain’t it?”
“Sure is,” Ray smiled. “What’s more, that 255 engine you just sold us is going to be sharing the museum with the only two surviving MMSA cars.”
“I will be damned,” Max shook his head. He reached in the pocket of his bib overalls, pulled out the check that Ray had given him earlier, and scaled it back across the table to him. “Those guys gave us both a hell of a lot just by showing up, and I might as well give a little of it back.”