Drop #50: Lola

We drive into Eastern Pennsylvania. Since he’s been so good to me, I wanted to organize something special for his 70th. Jake and I have always gotten along well; in fact, better than I do with my father, and I’m pretty sure Jake thinks of me more as a son than a nephew too. His wife recently passed, and his daughters live oversees so it was basically up to me. Hannah showed no interest in getting involved.

Jake likes cars; he always has. He still often talks excitedly about his racing days, but he hardly even drives in any capacity anymore, and when he does, it’s in a 2003 Hyundai Accent. He has left that part of his life far behind, but I aim to resurrect it for a day.

It took six weeks of research, calls and emails, but I finally found a guy in PA who had what I was looking for and was willing to help me out. Till a couple of days ago, I had been getting more and more excited, because I knew Jake was going to love it. I hadn’t anticipated anything as much in ages.

I’ve made a big effort to keep it a secret, so Jake has no clue where we’re going till we turn into the South Bend Racetrack after three hours. He doesn’t say anything but perks up considerably, looking around alertly. Still, he doesn’t know what’s in store.

I pull up beside one of the garages and a compact man with a buzz cut and leather jacket comes to meet us when we get out.

‘Hank Jacoby,’ the man says.

I introduce myself, taking his hand, and Jake does the same.

‘So, Norm here tells me you raced Can-Am,’ Hank says to Jake.

‘Yes, 69 and 70.’

‘Must have been incredible back then, before all the rules and restrictions kicked in.’

‘It was. I recall those years often and fondly.’ His face backs his words.

‘Kind of crazy and dangerous, I’m sure, but worth the risk, right?’

‘That’s right. Especially if you’re doing what you love.’

‘Excellent. Excellent,’ Hank says, hands on hips. He’s the busy, grinning type. ‘What did you drive?’

‘Lola T70. I assume you are familiar with the car?’

‘Very much so. A wonderful machine.’

‘Noisy thing, and fast. Took bends like a screaming cat.’

‘Yes.’ Hank chuckles. ‘Well, let’s a have a look in the garage, shall we?’

‘Sure.’

‘What have you pulled here, son?’ Jake whispers eagerly as we follow. He has a spring in his step.

‘You’ll see,’ I say seriously. I let him go ahead of me as we enter the garage and walk towards its rear.

‘Well, here she is,’ Hank says, reaching the car: a low, curvy, wide-eyed beauty, black, with yellow lines down the middle.

‘Unbelievable. Just unbelievable,’ Jake says, shaking his head.

The moment has arrived, and I wish I was more engaged, but there’s no doubt Jake is well taken by it.

‘And it runs?’

‘Oh, absolutely. It’s fully restored and totally mint.’ Hank is proud as a dog done good.

‘It sure looks it,’ Jake says. ‘It’s wonderful. Just wonderful. Really. Well done sir!’ He takes Hank’s hand, and shakes it enthusiastically. ‘Well done.’

Hank laughs, his eyes closing as he does. He has begun enjoying Jake’s pleasure, as I have seen so many others do, and I usually do too. ‘You want to take it for a spin?’

‘Are you kidding me?’

‘Not in the slightest. It would be an honor to have it driven by a former racer.’

‘I accept, sir. Oh boy, do I accept!’

I’m glad things are moving so fast.

Hank gets Jake decked out in spiffy racing gear with helmet and puts him behind the wheel. There’s talk of safety and speed and then Jake’s off around the course. I take pictures, and I know it must be wonderful.

I absorb his many thanks on the drive home. It takes an effort to pretend there’s nothing wrong, but I manage. I don’t want to spoil his day in even the tiniest of ways. I suspect some time in the future I will feel pleased with my gift, but the day has been longer than the hours displayed, and I am ready to get back now.

I assume there’s no news cause Hannah hasn’t called, and in this case, no news is bad news. She has always been incredibly regular but is a week late now. What was only possible on Thursday is probable now. This obviously wasn’t planned, and I am in no way ready, but it is all the more devastating because I am not in love with Hannah. This scare I am enduring has made that clear. And I can’t help fantasizing about a future in which I am about to drive a Lola T70 in my first Can-Am instead. Jake would have been about the age I am now.

By E.M. Vireo

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About EM Vireo
flooding the world with fiction

4 Responses to Drop #50: Lola

  1. I enjoyed reading this – just a hint of Hannah in the beginning and then the full weight of her importance to the story at the end…

  2. rodriguez says:

    Nice work X

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