1974 Chevy Pickup Truck - High-Centered Santa - Skid Row
How YOU doin'? Name's Mark, but my friends call me Skid, so you can too. I drive a '74 Chevy that originally came from the factory with a smelly diesel motor in it, but don't hold that against me. I scored it from Turner's, after some dude blew up the diesel and dropped a ZL1 big-block in it that ain't exactly smog-legal. I also removed the restrictor plate from the carb to give "The Piece" more grunt, so don't blow up my spot because what The Man don't know won't hurt him, and since I don't ever have to smog-check my truck, he'll never know. I roll with a club called Draggers Inc., which is full of guys and gals that like to race and drag rocker. I'm the new guy at Sport Truck-well, that is, me and "Baller T" Gomez are the new guys, but I'm the newest. I'm not real qualified for magazine-type work. I work construction and the door of a local college bar, but Mike wanted me here to tell my tales from the road. I keep it real-real stupid. You'll learn to love me, though. Since I got this job right in the middle of the holiday season-that's Christmas, dummies!-I figured I'd tell you about a harmless X-mas Eve trip to the mall that happened recently.
I hate holiday shopping. It's ironic that we spend countless hours fighting traffic and long cashier lines full of angry old ladies, all the while songs of happy-happy-joy-joy emanate from the P.A. system inside the mall. Don't get me wrong; I love waking up on Christmas morn, anxious to share in the gift giving, but it's just the getting there that is extremely irritating. This is especially true if you drive a lowered truck and need to go to the mall to pick up a present for the old ball 'n' chain. Every trip to my local mall makes me wonder what road engineers were thinking when they designed speed bumps the size of boulders. I mean, couldn't they think of less destructive ways to keep the ricers from speeding through the parking lot?
Anyway, my friend Jake and I had to go to the mall right in the middle of the holiday rush to pick up the Sawzall I ordered for my girlfriend's Christmas gift. Yeah, she wants one, but she just don't know it yet. When we arrived at our favorite mecca of commerce, we found ourselves stuck in a line of vehicles that was moving at a neck-snapping 2 miles per hour. I cruised past the high-school chicks standing outside the movie theater at the mall, right up to a control arm-killer speed bump. I raised up the Chevy and positioned my truck at an angle to sneak over the ominous mound of asphalt. I felt the rockers contact the speed bump, and I heard the usual scraping sound as I dragged up to the top of the bump, but then something unusual happened. As my rockers reached the peak, all four of my 17s lost contact with the pavement and left me teetering in the air. My truck was literally balancing itself on the rockers atop this massive speed bump and I was going nowhere fast. The transmission pan, mufflers, and rockers were all creaking under the weight of the truck and the noise was God-awful. Thankfully, Jake is a fat bastard and helped move the truck by sitting in the bed while I goosed the gas pedal. One smoky burnout later, we were off the bump and parking The Piece.
As we got our stroll on, I remembered that Mom's really wanted a treadmill so she could exercise while watching Oprah and eating Ho Hos. Who am I to deny a middle-aged woman her right to happiness? I found the perfect one that had a cool racing stripe and a 128-ounce cupholder inside a sporting goods store. I grabbed a sales ticket for the Gut Buster 2000 and headed to the counter to pay the tab. On the way to the checkout line, a pimply faced kid still fighting the effects of puberty said in a broken and slightly annoying voice, "Let me go pull that from the back."
Off he went, as I sat and thought about what kind of damage I had done to my truck. He returned pushing a handcart with mom's new fat-burning machine and asked where my truck was parked without so much as checking to see if I had paid for the treadmill yet. My sense of morality kicked in for about, oh, I'd say a second, before I blurted out, "It's right out front by the bus stop." I followed right behind my new best friend as he huffed it to The Piece and even loaded the Gut Buster into the bed for me. I was so stoked about the freebie that I almost forgot all about buying that Sawzall for my girl. I even tipped my new best friend, which is something I almost never do. Realizing I still had a wad of X-mas cash in my pocket, I ran back into the mall to "buy" more gifts for the rest of the Hankey clan.
Inside another chain store, I sauntered from aisle to aisle, looking in other unsuspecting shopper's carts for schwag, grabbing the latest G.I Joe action figure with Kung Fu Grip for my little brother. I hadn't even made it over to the hardware section of the store when I noticed that there was some commotion coming from under a rack of women's clothes. Being the fine upstanding grownup that I am and having some sense of responsibility, I properly yelled at the obnoxious youngster under the rack and said "Don't you know how to act in public? Where's yo mama?"
To my surprise, it wasn't a youngster but a short little lady dressed in an elf outfit, obviously left over from the "Sit on Santa's lap and tell him what you want" booth. The dwarf scowled up at me and said, "Up yours, chicken legs!"
I'm pretty self-conscious about my calves so I called her a midget, which really pissed her off because I guess there is a difference between midgets and dwarves. She gave me an ugly look with daggers in her eyes and threatened to go postal on me, so I backed up into the aisle and was immediately run over by an old lady in a motorized shopping cart. Between the midget, oops, I mean, the dwarf that was mad-dogging me, and the old lady blazing the aisles on the Rascal scooter who was backed up by her inbred family, I suddenly had the same feeling I get when I have gas during church-sheer panic. I knew that if I kicked the dwarf and back-handed the senior citizen I could get away, but I also knew that the discount store security cameras were catching this all on tape, so I faked a seizure.
Yeah, yeah, I know it was a pretty weak move, but have you ever tried to fight a short lady? They kick hard! Anyway, the store rent-a-cops called the paramedics because I had popped an Alkaseltzer tablet in my mouth and was foaming like a madman. After several minutes of putting on a pretty damn convincing show for security and the EMTs, I was helped out the door into the mall. The midget chick and grandma followed close behind and I panicked because they still looked pissed. I started running through the mall as soon as we hit the front door. I knocked over a candy cart to slow down the angry women, the EMTs asking for my medical insurance card, and the two security guards.
Meanwhile, Jake was spittin' game in the middle of the courtyard to a girl working one of those cheesy auto accessory displays that sells glow-in-the-dark exhaust tips. We made eye contact, as I rounded the corner of a jewelry store and hurdled a baby stroller. I could see that Jake instantly knew I was in trouble and saw the angry mob gaining on me, so he jumped over a few small children, and I followed his lead. I looked behind me to see if our pursuers were close. The midget was catching up when I ducked behind the counter at See's Candy. The midget kept running after Jake, and I could hear the rent-a-cops on the radio calling for back up as they ran toward the candy shop. I knew I had to slow the cops down or they'd get Jake for sure, so I started hucking chocolate-covered raisins onto the slick tile floor of the courtyard. The candy store clerk just stood there, while the cops took a header after slipping on the raisins.
I boned out and caught up to Jake at the mall exit, where he had the midget in a head lock and the paramedics in a stand off. I watched as Jake used our little friend as a human shield and made his way to The Piece. I thanked God for door poppers, as I pulled the door open and fired up the big-block Chevy. I put it in Reverse, when I heard Jake jump into the bed of the truck. I filled the 'bags with CO2, and the truck hopped up and the tires started slipping in reverse. I heard a second thump just before I slammed the shifter in Drive and mashed the hammer. Smoke bellowed out of the rear fenderwells and the spinning tires screeched loudly. I looked in my rearview mirror to see Jake clutching the Gut Buster 2000, the paramedics laughing their asses off, and the midget brushing dirt off her paints. A smile struck my face, as I watched her put up the middle digit on her hand. Of course, I wasn't looking forward when I came upon the infamous speed bump.
I hit the speed bump with brutal force, which threw Jake right out of the bed of The Piece and onto the asphalt. The impact popped my right rear airbag, and the truck dragged to a stop, with mom's new treadmill sliding forward and busting the back window of my truck. Glass flew everywhere, but Jake jumped back into the truck, laughing so hard I thought he'd run out of air. I hit the gas again, dragging one corner of my truck out of the parking lot and threw sparks all the way home, where we were safe from the cops, midgets, old ladies, and angry shoppers.
We arrived at the driveway of the Hankey home with a broken Chevy and joy in our hearts. We'd pulled off our own Christmas miracle, escaping the mall with a free treadmill and made it home just in time for dinner. The holiday lights lit up the Gut Buster 2000 as we smuggled it from the bed of my Chevy into the garage. I was a little bummed at the thought of not being able to get my girl that Sawzall I knew she wanted, but I fixed that little problem by wrapping up some new air tools I had stashed behind my toolbox. And after wrapping up the G.I. Joe action figure for my little brother and the other Hankey presents, Jake and I hit the couch for some grub and passed out watching It's a Wonderful Life. All was right with the world.