It’s Monday and time for a new story as part of a series called David’s Notebook. I know its a bit indulgent, but each Monday morning I will post a short story, no more than 600 words. Just simple and hopefully poignant.

Today we begin in a time of my youth when hot rods were the thing and cruising was part of the culture. Its joy and its pain.


He swept another squashed burger wrapper into the bag as he patrolled the parking lot of Bobbie’s Burger Shack #3.

Across the way Freddie pulled a pack of Winton’s from beneath the sleeve of his white T-shirt. As he removed the last cigarette from the pack he snapped the Zippo lighter open striking the flint in one practiced move. He held the lighter to the tip of the cigarette and inhaled deeply, all the while crushing the package with the other hand. Carelessly he dropped the crumpled ball.

Sitting a top one of the eating tables scattered outside of the shack she watched his action. “He is so cool” she thought to herself as he passed her the lighted Winston. She took it from his hand. She could taste him on the filtered tip just as much as the smoke she inhaled. He had style, right down to the way his ducktail hair was cut and blocked at the back, completed by the short strand of hair that hung from the wave in front. His eyes, hidden by the aviator sunglasses just added to the mystic.

“Don’t heat it up baby” he said.

“I won’t Freddie” she replied.

She reached out and stroked his arm touching the tattoo with the big red A inside the blue outline of a heart. The “A” was for her, Angela Crofton. They had been dating throughout high school. She loved Freddie and he loved her. They were an item.

He felt her touch. He liked it. He liked his life, but mostly, he liked his car. He was glad he had his glasses on, cause his Crown Vic was shinin’ today. He had spent his entire shop year finishing the car. The new two tone paint job of teal and white was perfect. It was made even more prefect by the wide chrome bar that crowned the roof. The new fender skirts and the dropped back end gave it a muscle look. Of course the new white walls didn’t hurt. He had replaced the original teal and white flat imitation leather interior with a new rolled and pleated teal and white vinyl and covered it in clear plastic.

With the help of his dad, they had rebuilt the engine and installed a 4 on the floor Hurst shifter to go along with the new clutch. It made the 292 cube’s run just that much quicker. And those straight pipes running out the back, just crackled when he and Angi cruised the strip. It was 1956 Crown Victoria and Freddie Hall, had it all. He was in a word, Bitchin’.

“Let’s take a ride Angi” he said.

“OK Freddie” she said grabbing his hand. Her poodle skirt waved goodbye to the shack as they strolled to the car.

The pipes cracked as the engine roared to life and exploded as he accelerated out of the parking lot and on the strip. It was a good day for cruising.

The boy watched them leave. He skin prickled at the sound of the pipes. “Someday I’ll be just like him” he thought as he swept the crumpled Winston package into the bag.

Eighteen month later, just two days before his twentieth birthday, Freddie was slugging his way through the jungles of Vietnam when he stepped on a land mine, he died instantly.  War is indiscriminate, it doesn’t matter how bitchin’ you are, it kills just same.

I hope you enjoyed the walk down memory lane.

David Hutchison