"Time's come to pay your dues
Now you're messin' with a
A son of a bitch"

- Nazareth - "Hair of the Dog" -

                 Girl Money
Friday, 11:28PM
April 17, 1987

Knowing Flynn was like buying a jigsaw puzzle at a garage sale only to get it home and find out that the puzzle you bought was actually composed of several different jigsaw puzzles none of which you thought might even be complete.  The longer you worked on the puzzle, the more pieces of the puzzle that you put togther, you began to realize that the picture on the box bore no resemblance to the puzzle that you were putting together and that's about as close as I can get to ever actually describing what it was like to be friends with and hang around Flynn.

It was a humid Mississippi night.

Street meet.

Word of mouth set it up and it happened far more than I'd ever thought.  This was new to me, probably my fourth meet to attend and I'd never been to one by myself ... the first two I rode with Flynn and the third I brought my '79 TA.  Tonight I was riding with Flynn again just because I felt like watching instead of racing and watching Flynn make money was a lot of fun because Flynn knew how to hustle, both behind the wheel as well as leaning up against the fender of his GTO.

Street meet.

Speed meet.

Speed club.

Tire party.

Rubber run.

Other names as well ... all meant the same thing ... a horsepower free-for-all, hooligans with fast cars and cash and the desire to waste gas and burn rubber.

Bring your car ... or truck ... and race each other on an old, no traffic at this time of night, rural two-lane.  Flynn had asked me to come out to the meet with him and since I had nothing better to do ... and since spending time with Flynn was worth its weight in gold due to the crap he did and the crap he got himself into ... I jumped at the chance.  We took his '69 Pontiac GTO, Flynn driving and me riding shotgun, windows down, just enjoying the growl of the far from stock 400 cubic inch V8 under the hood.  Flynn's GTO growled like a volcano at speed, at low speed or idle it thumped and shook like it was about to start barfing parts out the bottom end but put your foot into it and once the revs went past three grand it turned from a grumbler into a moon rocket with enough horses under the hood to set you back deep into the seat.

We pulled into the meet, each one was different, sometimes you saw the same people, some regulars, but others passed in and out of the crowd, the news and the occasionals.  A few came just to watch or hang out.  Others came to sell parts or take a chance at winning a bet.  Some did handrolled or drank.  A few came to deal.  Dealing always went better if you had a fast car.

We pulled onto an old section of rural two lane in Perry County.

Flat and straight, nothing on either side but some cow pastures and flatlands.

There was a good crowd, I counted thirteen cars and three trucks which was about twice as many as had been at the last meet that Flynn and I went to a few weeks ago over near Purvis.

Flynn didn't waste time ... we got out of the GTO and he immediately started hustling, mixing with the crowd, using small talk and his hippy charm working deals and bets, trying to line up some sucker he could take for some real girl money.  Twenty minutes after pulling in to the meet Flynn was showing his engine to several potential runners and ten minutes later he was lining his GTO up on the line against a pretty hot 351 powered '71 Mustang from Jones County.  Flynn had cut his bet pretty fine and the race was close.  There was a point about halfway through the run when I thought that Flynn was going to lose but then the Ram Air 400 under the hood of the GTO came into its own and started pulling hard enough to put the GTO half a car length ahead across the finish line.

When he pulled back in to where I was standing, Flynn threw open his hood, took a flashlight, and started messing with the linkage on the carburetor ... gassing the 400, checking for ...

"She dropped off on me there in second gear." Flynn said, I guess, to me because no one else was standing around.

"That was a close race." I offered, leaning over the passenger side fender of the GTO and pretending that I could see what Flynn was trying to do.

"Wouldn't have been if this ... got it!" Flynn said, changing his grumbling to triumphant declaration.

"So ...."

"So .... now I make some money."

He’d made about eight runs so far, the last one had been between Flynn’s ’69 GTO and Ryan Cooper’s ’71 Camaro LT.  It hadn’t been much of a contest, Flynn had put Cooper’s Camaro down hard in second gear and had walked away from him steadily after that.  I watched as Flynn’s Goat came rumbling back down the two lane he collected his money from the starter, stuck the cash in his mouth, looked at me, arched his eyebrows twice then worked the steering wheel, shifter and pedals to slowly back into the spot his Goat had pulled out from.

Flynn was having a good night but that was about to change thanks to Ryan Cooper.  Ryan Cooper hated Flynn but I think that Flynn actually hated Cooper even more.  In just four times out with Flynn, Cooper had been at the first, third and fourth meet and each time there had been friction.  Tonight, when we pulled up and I had spotted Cooper's '71 Camaro parked down the road I'd pointed it out to Flynn and Flynn just chuckled.  Cooper was an asshole and he generally rubbed people the wrong way.  I guess that out of all the people that Cooper rubbed the wrong way it was Flynn that he rubbed the wrong way the most and that really wasn't a good thing.  There was something between Cooper and Flynn ... maybe even old blood because the two of them just didn't like each other, they just really didn't like each other, and Flynn gave Cooper hell whenever Cooper showed up or got within shouting distance of Flynn.  

Flynn couldn't stand Cooper and even if the feeling was mutual Flynn elevated it beyond the level of being personal and took it to an art form.  So much was his hatred of Cooper that I'd had my sides hurting from laughing at how Flynn would goad and tease Cooper about his old Camaro.  Ever since I'd started coming to these line races with Flynn a few months back there had been this animosity between Flynn and Cooper and that had gone on ever since I'd been with Flynn and apparently it had gone on for a while now, gone on for long before I ever met Flynn. 

Maybe years.

I looked back towards Ryan Cooper’s old 1971 RS Camaro.  The Camaro had once been Hugger Orange but it was now sun faded to an almost dull tan ... almost the color of old snack dip.  We’d kidded Cooper about that fact alone, a lot.  I think it was a sore point for him because he was always bragging about his motor, his so-called pro-built crate motor, and how he spent money where it counted instead on body and paint.  

“It doesn’t matter what it looks like as long as it goes fast.” Cooper would always brag loudly when we kidded him about his paint job. 

Which was all good and fine except that Cooper's Camaro never really went very fast.  Oh, it was faster than stock and it would probably outrun anything sitting new on a dealer showroom right now but there were cars and trucks here with basic mods that would shut down Cooper's supposedly "pro-built" motor without much effort.  When pressed on which "pro" built his motor Cooper never quite was willing to answer.  Flynn said it was probably one of the geniuses up at the Ellisville State School for Retardation.  Flynn picked up a wrench from his grab bag, crossed his eyes then started stabbing at his own engine with the wrench all the while making retarded sounds and saying "I am the fast!"

When Cooper walked by Flynn and me, Flynn would always cough loudly to disguise his saying either "bullshit" or "retard" loudly.  Cooper would stop and look at Flynn and Flynn would just do something like use an oil rag to polish his open end wrench then, like a magician, whip the oil rag off of the wrench only he would grab the wrench with the oil rag and whip it away revealing only Flynn's closed fist and Flynn's erect middle finger.  Flynn would then smille innocently, almost sheepishly, slowly using his other hand to slowly lower the middle finger, apologizing that he didn't know that thing had been cocked.  Flynn would make several attempts to retract his middle finger, sometimes he pushed it all the way down, sometimes he couldn't budge it and he'd apologize for it being busted.

Another trick Flynn had was when Cooper walked by Flynn would start making radar beeping noises, hold his closed fist out in the air and wave it around.  As his fist got closer to pointing in the direction of Cooper, Flynn's middle finger would slowly rise up like an indicator.  When Flynn was pointing his fist and erect middle finger at Cooper the beeping he made would be its loudest and then he would look at Cooper and apologize

"Sorry, Cooper.  My new "Asshole Detector" keeps going off when you're nearby."

After having tired of making fun of Cooper's inability to run fast Flynn had instead started in on how Cooper's Camaro looked.  Flynn had asked Cooper why his Camaro was tan and Cooper had fired back that his Camaro wasn’t tan, it was faded dark orange.  Flynn had then walked up to Cooper’s Camaro and had taken a look at it, Flynn had even gotten down right next to the paint and given it really good eyeball.

“Nope, I think you’re wrong.  It’s not faded orange.  I think it’s more of a faded horse pussy tan.” Flynn said.  “Real old mare used twat horse pussy color.”

“How do you know so much about horse pussy, Flynn?” Cooper asked, snickering, trying to get one up on Flynn.

Flynn turned and looked Cooper straight in the face.

“Cause I fucked your mom last night.  That's how I know so much about horse pussy.” Flynn said flatly.

Deano's girlfriend gasped and Deano busted out laughing out loud, thumbs in his jeans pocket, rocking slightly back and forth on his boot heels there in the gravel on the side of the road.

"Oh, and your mom said to tell you if you ever found out who your real father was to tell him to send her some money.  She needs it for child support and her drinking habit.” Flynn said.

Flynn started walking and so did we.

Cooper was about to say something but stopped and just sneered.  Flynn turned and started walking off and since the little show was over Deano, his girlfriend and I just all kind of fell in behind Flynn and followed him.  

"Fuck off, Flynn!"

Flynn stopped, slowly turned and looked at Cooper.

“Pony Express.  Saddle bags and all!  Giddy up, momma.  Giddy up.” Flynn shouted back, again pantomiming riding a horse as fast and as hard as he could.

Cooper was about to blow a gasket but he knew better than to keep escalating it with Flynn because Flynn just didn't stop.  

It was incidents like that, every time Cooper and Flynn were at the same meet.  Flynn and Cooper went after each other but it was Flynn who really hammered on Cooper.  I learned all of this from Deano.  

I guess somewhere in all of that Cooper thought that he could get Flynn back if he lined up his Camaro against Flynn’s GTO and won ... that if he shut Flynn down in front of everyone that Flynn would be put in his place.  Every time that Flynn ran that night Cooper made a point of standing out and very vocally supporting whoever was running against Flynn and even cheering them on throughout the race.  It was the look of bitter disappointment when Flynn always drove back to the line to collect his winnings leaving Cooper with no viable avatar to stand behind and gloat and I guess that as run after run progressed that Cooper just kind of started to lose it in more ways than one.  They say that if you want a job done right you have to do it yourself and I’m sure that thought occurred to Cooper as he watched Flynn shut down three competitors in the space of an hour.

About forty minutes into the second hour on the line, Cooper had made it known that not only was he going to race Flynn but that he was going to beat him.  Flynn had ignored him for the most part but when Cooper stepped up and confronted Flynn in front of several people, waving money in his face then Flynn had smiled.  Flynn had smiled like some wild animal who was about to pounce for the kill.  A few races had already been set up so Flynn was content to let the others work their turns before he and Cooper lined up.  Cooper not so much so but Flynn told him to calm down that it didn’t matter when they raced the outcome would still be the same.

Cooper countered that his Camaro was going to shut Flynn’s GTO down.

Flynn just shrugged his shoulders and smiled.

“It’s your allowance.  Spend it how you want to, little boy, because we all know that  your mommy will just give you more.”

Five minutes later the first two cars had lined up, money had been put up for keeping and the two drivers had been flagged off.  A blue ’71 two door Chevy Nova went up against a gold ’71 Buick Skylark two door, both big blocks.  Engines roared.  Tires screamed and when the tire smoke had cleared it was the Buick a car length and a half ahead of the Chevy and still pulling.

And so it went.

Car and car.

Car and truck.

Truck and truck.

Truck and car.

Car and car.

After the fifth run Cooper had come looking for Flynn.

I guess it was time for all this drama to play out..  Flynn walked over to his ’69 GTO, grabbed the roof and hopped in through the open window, not even bothering to open the door.  Cooper got into his ’71 Camaro and started it up, revving the small block under the hood several times.  Flynn merely put his GTO in gear and drove it loping up to the line.

’71 Camaro against ’69 GTO.

Cooper was almost giddy, bragging about his crate motor, how it was built, what kind of cam he had, his double hump heads off of a genuine LT-1 solid lifter motor from a ’70 Corvette … Flynn just ignored him because bragging was probably the one thing that Cooper did best and it was probably the one thing that Flynn hated the most.  Cooper was one of those guys whose mouth was a lot bigger than his motor and he generally only lined up with guys he knew he could easily beat and when he did beat somebody he bragged a bunch about it afterwards to the point where even some of the most jaded among us got sick of Cooper's juvenile shit.   Cooper didn't need a Camaro ... he needed a tricycle with pink tassels and a silver ting-ting bell.

Tonight the crowd was kind of small, the pickings had been slim and Flynn had actually goaded Cooper, rather masterfully, into running against him, chastising him for being all mouth and not willing to run against someone that could probably beat him.  Flynn knew how much Cooper hated him and he'd seen how Cooper had cheered on anyone willing to go up against Flynn so it wasn't hard to work that to Flynn's advantage.  When Cooper had taken the bait it had been girl money in Flynn’s pocket.  It hadn’t really been much of a race, by the time that Flynn was halfway through second gear Cooper was already eating Flynn’s Goat’s dust and only falling farther behind.  By the finish line, a line of white Krylon rattle can paint sprayed across the two lane road at a quarter mile distance from the the line and a pair of wooden stakes with safety orange ribbons stapled to them had been driven into the ground on the shoulder at each side of the road, Flynn’s GTO was three car lengths ahead of Cooper’s Camaro and continuing to pull ahead.  Flynn hit the finish line and shut down, waiting until Ryan passed him before turning around in the middle of the two lane and heading back.  Once back at the starting line, Flynn had taken his winnings and considered the race to be over.

My thoughts cleared as I snapped back to the here and now.  The hot and humid Mississippi night, out in the sticks, the smell of gas and burnt rubber and now there was going to be a fight.  Of that I was pretty damn sure and if there was a fight then my money was going on Flynn because while Cooper had the mouth to start the fight he definitely didn't have the balls it was going to take to finish it.

Girl money, all the way.

“Girl money.” I said.

“Gird Monday!” Flynn said in agreement, cash still in his mouth, as he climbed out of his GTO, not even bothering with opening the door.

“I wouldn’t have put that cash in my mouth like that …” I said.

“Why not?” Flynn asked, counting the cash.

“You don’t know where it’s been.” I said.

Flynn raked some of the hair out of his face and smiled.

“Oh, I know exactly where it’s been … It's probably been in the panties of some stripper.”

Flynn put the cash to his nose and breathed deep, running the cash left and right under his nose as he did so.

“Yeah.  Smells like GED and double-wides.  Here … take a sniff.”

He stuck the cash up to my face and I batted it away.   Flynn put the cash back up to his nose, closed his eyes and sniffed deep.

"You can almost smell the sadness and if it feels a little damp well that's just the tears of dreams never realized."

Flynn laughed out loud and put the folded up cash in his right vest pocket.

“That was easy.” He said.

“Might not be as easy as you think …” I said.

“Yeah?  Why so?” Flynn asked.

Ryan Cooper pulled his rumbling Camaro back towards the line and parked it in the spot he had pulled out of before.  When he got out of his Camaro it was obvious that he was pissed.  He looked around, spotted Flynn and me and slammed the driver’s side door of his Camaro, hard enough to rock the entire car.

I had thought that the race between Flynn and Cooper was over. 

Cooper apparently had other ideas.

Cooper didn’t like to lose.

Cooper really didn’t like to lose in front of a lot of people, especially when he had been bragging so much about how he was going to beat Flynn if he got a chance to go up against him, if Flynn wasn’t too much of a pussy to race him.

Cooper tended to act like a spoiled child when he lost, I’d seen it before one time too many and I felt that it was about to happen again.

“Hey!  Flynn!  Hold up!  I want to talk to you, you cheating son of a bitch!  You cheated and I want my money back!” Cooper shouted.

“Yeah.  I think you’ve got trouble.” I mumbled to Flynn, nodding towards Cooper.

“Yeah?” Flynn asked.  “You mean Twat Boy over there?”

Twat Boy.

Apparently Flynn's new nickname for Cooper.

“Yeah.  Twat Boy doesn’t look happy.” I said, shrugging my shoulders.

"It's that silver spoon he's had shoved up his ass since he was born.  Maybe it's not so much a spoon as it is a long handle ladel ..."

"No ... I think it might be that he's mad about losing the race."

“And that should concern me in what particular way?” Flynn asked very matter-of-factly.

I shrugged my shoulders.

“Just thought you should know because I think he wants to tell you all about what’s not making him happy.” I mumbled as we both turned to watch Cooper jog around the back of his ‘71 Camaro and head straight for us.

“You mean besides having a really small dick and being a big ol' titty baby?” Flynn asked in a comical voice.

"Yeah.  He's probably not heading this way to discuss his physical shortcomings with you."

Flynn laughed, turned and started to walk towards his GTO.  His body posture and expression said that he really was sick of Cooper’s antics and I felt that seeing how Flynn was posturing that if Cooper tried anything tonight Flynn was just going to take him apart and do society a favor at the same time.

“Flynn!  Turn around and face me, you fucking hippy!”


Flynn stopped, sighed and shook his head.  Other people turned to see what was going on.  A few moved closer, curious. Cooper ran up and stopped a few steps away from Flynn and me.


Red in the face mad.  

Somewhat out of breath.  

Hands clenching and unclenching.  

Body tensed up.

Looking for a fight.

Wanting a fight.

Out of his mind with anger and rage and humiliation.

“Have you got a problem, little girl?” Flynn asked, taking a swig from his flask.

Cooper got right up in Flynn’s face which was probably the second worst decision that he would make tonight.

“Yeah, I got a problem.  My problem is you!”

“Well then I’d say that you don't have a little problem, no, you have a really big problem.” Flynn said, smiling just a little, leaning in close.

“You cheated and you know it, Flynn!  You said we’d run straight motor and you cheated!”

“I did run straight motor.” Flynn said, stabbing Cooper in the shoulder with the finger of his hand that was holding the flask.

Cooper reached up to knock Flynn’s hand away but Flynn was quicker and Cooper just swiped at empty air.  If Cooper had knocked Flynn’s flask out of his hand or spilled whiskey from the flask I dare say that Flynn probably would have used his bare hands to just kill Cooper right there.  As it was, while Cooper was almost blind with rage Flynn was as cool as I’d ever seen him before.  In fact, Flynn did something that only made Cooper even madder … Flynn smiled at him and it was the smile of a cold blooded killer.

“You cheated!  Give me my money back!” Cooper Ryan shouted, probably a little louder than was good for his immediate health.

I’d been with Flynn long enough to know two things about him; he never cheated and he really didn’t like anyone accusing him of doing so but ... if there was one thing that he hated any more than those two things it was someone who was a sore loser and who tried to go back on a bet especially if that bet had gone in Flynn’s favor.  Flynn paused in his step, took another sip from his flask.

“Walk away, little girl.” Flynn said softly, almost growling.  “Walk away while you still can.”

“Yeah?” Cooper asked.

“Yeah.  Trust me.  It’s good advice.  Real good advice.” Flynn said, putting his flask back in his vest.

“Trust you?  What are you going to do about it if I don’t, hippy?  Huh?  Hippy.  Are you going to hit me?  Hippy.  Are you going to hit me?”  

“Probably not.  I don’t hit little girls.  You’re lucky, that way.” He said flatly.

Cooper really turned red in the face then.

“Maybe you can’t kick my ass … just like you can’t win for cheating.”

“Depends.” Flynn said again.

“Depends on what?  Depends on if you’re a cheating bastard or not?”

Flynn cut his eyes at Cooper hard then.  Steely, hard murder in his eyes then.  Cooper saw that as an indicator that he was getting under Flynn’s skin.  I saw it as an indicator that Cooper’s life expectancy on this world had just gotten a lot shorter.  A whole hell of a lot shorter and could probably be measured in minutes ... at best.

“Oh!  You don’t like it when someone calls you out for what you are to your face, do you?  You’re a cheating hippy, Flynn.  A long haired cheating punk ass hippy who needs a fucking bottle to win.”

Flynn had an amused look on his face … like a starving Bengal tiger that had just accidentally walked onto the live set of a Jerry Lewis Telethon for crippled kids.

“She’s all motor, little girl.  No bottle.  Not my fault that you’re stupid enough to run a small block Chevy up against a Pontiac D-port 400.” Flynn said, taking another drag from his cigarette.

“It’s a crate motor!” Ryan said loudly.

“Yeah, you keep saying it’s a crate motor ... maybe you should have left it in the crate."

"It's a crate motor!"

"Yeah.  I get that ... but where did you order the crate motor from?  Chad?”

“Chad?  Who is Chad?”

Flynn looked up at the night sky and just shook his head slowly.

“It’s a country … in Africa.  They ship lots of things … in crates.”

“What’s a fucking country in Africa got to do with anything?” Cooper asked, moving closer to Flynn which was itself a very bad idea.

Flynn's body posture changed, subtley.  I noticed it, maybe a few others did but Cooper never saw it.

“A lot of amateurs run small block Chevys.  Doesn’t take a lot of brains to make a small block Chevy go fast … or a lot of money which is why people like you like them so much.  Chevys are cheap … they’re motors for idiots like you who can’t think on your own and for idiots like you who don’t know the first Goddamn thing about building an engine that has any guts or balls to it.  Pontiac D-port 400 is a better motor than a small block Chevy.  Moves more air per cube.  I’ll take you every time, mod for mod.  Hell, I’ll even spot you if it makes you feel better.”

“You’ll spot me?” Cooper asked in a really loud voice.

Flynn nodded, lit up his last Marlboro and crushed the empty pack in his hand before nonchalantly bouncing the crumpled up pack off of the middle of Cooper's forehead.  Flynn tilted his head back to blow the smoke from his cigarette out of his nose.

"You'll.  Spot.  Me?" Cooper asked, seething, each word a separate sentence.

“Sure I’ll spot you.  One car length.  Hell, I’ll even give you two car lengths ... just to make it fair ... and I'll still show you my tail lights!”

“You’ll spot me?!” Cooper shouted.

“Sure I’ll spot you.  Girls first, I always say.  Might be the only way to get you to stop throwing such a hissy fit.” Flynn smiled, blowing smoke out in Cooper’s face.

Cooper was so mad he was almost trembling.

"If you win, I'll give you double your money back ... Won't matter though.  I'll take you every time." Flynn said,taking a puff from his Marlboro.

"Every time." Flynn said softly, blowing smoke out at Cooper's face.

“You’ll take me every time you use that damn bottle you’ve got hooked up there in your trunk."

"I'll take you because you drive like a girl.  A spastic little girl." Flynn said and with that, just for an instant, he shot a quick glance at me and an even quicker wink of his eye and then he was all stone cold killer again.

"You won’t take me if you turn your bottle off the next time we line up.”

"Can't turn off what you don't have." Flynn said flatly, exhaling smoke again and looking at his cigarette.

About half finished.

“Flynn doesn’t have a bottle …” I said, trying to steer the eventual from becoming the inevitable.

“You stay out of this, dumb ass!” Cooper said, stabbing the air in my direction with his finger.



Let it be.

If Cooper wanted to commit suicide by Flynn, let him do it.  I wouldn't lose any sleep over it and so I held my hands up in a capitulatory manner and stepped back from the two of them giving them enough space to do whatever it is that they were going to do.  My first guess was that Flynn was about to grab up Cooper and use him to sweep the two lane clean.  My back went up against the passenger side door of Flynn’s GTO and I leaned there, digging my thumbs into my pockets, turning my head and wondering just how good of a show my front row seat was going to let me experience and if things happened like I kind of knew that they were going to happen could I get out of the way in time.

“I’m not going to race you again, Ryan.  Your car sucks.  Your crate motor, if you really do have a crate motor, well it sucks too.  Maybe whoever put your motor in your Camaro, because I know you didn’t do it, maybe they put it in backwards or upside down and that’s why it runs like shit.”

Cooper was about to lose it.

“My car is faster than yours!”

Flynn guffawed and blew smoke from his nose at the night sky.

"Oh, I think we just proved that's a bullshit statement if ever there was one." Flynn said.

"I'd take you ... if you weren't on the fucking bottle!"

“In your wet dream.  Look, Cooper … I don't run a bottle.  You lost because you drive like a little girl and you drive a little girl’s car with a little girl's motor under the hood.  We lined up.  You put up your lunch money for next week.  We raced.  You lost.  That’s it.  Everyone here saw the race.  I won, you lost.”

“I want my money back!” Cooper shouted.

“No refunds.  Sorry, you may be a charity case but I’m not a charity worker.” Flynn said flatly, chuckling.

“Fuck you, Flynn.  If you had just one of the balls that you like to pretend that you have you’d line up that pussy ass beat up piece of shit Pontiac of yours back up there on the line and we’d …”

Flynn started shaking his head and laughing at Ryan which didn’t help matters at all.

“Oh, we’re done, little girl.  Get happy.  Walk away.  Oh, and don't be home before two because I plan on stopping by your house later and fucking your mom again.  Maybe I'll give her some of this ...” Flynn said as he held up the money he had won from Cooper.

Flynn turned his back on Cooper and started walking away, taking a pull from his flask held in his left hand.

… and that’s when Cooper finally lost it.

I don’t know why Cooper thought it would be a good idea to just take a swing at Flynn but that was the worst thing he could have ever done in an argument with Flynn and it was Cooper’s biggest mistake of the evening, hands down.  

"Flynn!" I shouted trying to warn him.

I hadn’t expected Cooper to take a sucker punch at Flynn but either Flynn had expected him to do something like that (and been ready for it) or else Cooper just threw punches about the same way that he rowed through gears.  Cooper threw a punch that put a real spastic hole through a space of air and night where Flynn simply wasn’t standing anymore.  





Even I saw what was coming next … a blind man could have seen what was coming next and that’s when it happened. Flynn turned around to face Cooper, quick as a cat, and the look in Flynn’s eyes chilled my blood.  I guess Cooper saw that look too because there was an instant when time froze and everything got quiet.

No sound.  



There was a look in Cooper's eyes, the exact opposite of the look in Flynn's eyes and that was the instant that I think that Cooper knew, that he really knew, that he had just really fucked up.  Flynn's expression went from amused to cold blooded killer serious.  Cooper tried to pull back another punch but Flynn reached out and, quick as a snake, snapped his right arm out putting a fist into Cooper’s face so fast I almost didn’t see it happen.  Flynn’s right arm was like a whip and I heard it before I actually saw it.  There came a sound a fist makes when it moves through the air and then the sound it makes when it strikes a face, hard, a kind of wet snap.  Flynn hit Cooper again, just as fast and maybe even harder, this time in the stomach.  Over and under.  Cooper reeled backwards, his legs wobbly and his hands going to his face, a sound coming out of him that was mournful and full of pain and regret.

So full of regret.

Blood ran from between Cooper’s clenched fingers held tightly to his face.

I almost felt sorry for Cooper … almost, because Flynn wasn’t the kind of guy you wanted to get into a fight with let alone the kind of guy that you tried to sucker punch in front of a small crowd of people after you had just lost a race to him and then accused him of cheating in order to win.  No, Cooper was about to get everything he deserved … and some more on top of that and probably some whipped cream and a cherry as well.

Flynn took another step forward and grabbed Cooper by his throat to steady him from sagging to the ground, slinging him violently around in a half circle and slamming him hard, backwards over the passenger side fender of his GTO narrowly missing me where I stood leaned up against the Goat.  Flynn put Cooper out flat on the hood of the Pontiac, slamming his head up and down, dribbling his skull like a basketball, twice against the hood of the GTO and never once letting go of his grip.   

Surprised, dazed but trying to recover, Cooper kicked and flailed wildly there on his back but Flynn wasn’t letting go of him.  No, Flynn slowly dragged the desperately struggling Cooper on up the length of the hood, to the front windshield and then moved him on up the front of the windshield.  I stared in amazement as the muscles on Flynn’s arm stood out like ropes around a piece of wood, his fingers tightening on Cooper’s throat and his grip never once letting go.

I still couldn’t believe what I had just seen.  

I had expected Flynn to mop the side of the road with Cooper but not to do something like this.  Flynn had grabbed Cooper, lifted him up, slammed him backwards into the fender of the GTO, lifted him up onto the hood, then dragged him along the hood and up the front of the windshield one armed.  One armed and he had done it all the while drinking sips of whiskey from his flask with his other arm and hand.

Flynn used the finger of the hand that was holding his flask to jab at the air in Cooper’s direction.

“I told you to walk away, little girl.  Come this time tomorrow you’ll think that was the best damn piece of advice that your dumb as fuck self ever ignored.” Flynn growled flatly, squeezing harder on Cooper’s throat.

Cooper made a desperate mewing noise that wasn’t exactly healthy sounding.  

His hands clawed at Flynn’s hand around his throat but couldn’t make any difference in the pressure that Flynn was applying.  There was murder in Cooper’s eyes but now Flynn had this tranquil look on his face, like he was about to do some household chore and it wasn’t a thing in the world to him.  Cooper kicked feebly at Flynn but Flynn had a control grip on Cooper as well, pinning him there against the windshield of the GTO and choking him slowly, digging his fingers in tighter and tighter as he pressed harder and deeper on Cooper’s throat.  The color that Cooper’s face was turning was pretty amazing and a small crowd started to gather around the three of us there.  Cooper clawed at Flynn’s hands even more desperately and the wheezing noises he made sounded even more desperate.

"Are you going to calm down now?" Flynn asked Cooper.

Cooper made a sound that wasn't pleasant.

"I can't understand you.  Speak up!" Flynn barked.

Cooper made another sound that sounded a lot like "Fuhdu" and Flynn shook his head.

"No.  Sorry.  Still can't understand you.  Just nod your head if you're going to behave."

Cooper nodded his head, as much as he could with Flynn's hand right under his jaw bone trying to press him back through the front windshield of the GTO.

"Okay.  Good enough.  Now, Shields here is going to count to twenty and I’m going to let you go.”

“Probably let you go.” I said.

“Yeah, probably let you go, that is if I don't decide to do society a favor and just snap your fucking head right off of your shoulders.” Flynn agreed. 

Flynn took a long pull of his whiskey flask.

“Now ... when I let you go I want you to walk away, all the way back to your pussy car, or so help me I’ll sweep the road with you face first.  Do I make myself understood, little girl?” Flynn growled at Cooper.

Cooper continued to claw at Flynn’s hand but he nodded again and made a noise that sounded somewhat like he agreed to what I thought were the rather generous terms that Flynn was offering.  Whether he was or not, it was good enough for Flynn.

“Do you want me to count to twenty?” I asked Flynn.


I nodded and looked down at Cooper; the man was really in a world of hurt there under the ever increasing pressure that Flynn’s straight locked arm and vice grip-like fingers were applying.  Every now and then a tiny high pitched wheeze would escape from Cooper as he fought to get what air he could.  After a few seconds Flynn looked over at me and Cooper did too, desperation clearly evident in Cooper’s wide eyed look.

“What?” I asked Flynn.

“Are you going to count to twenty?” He asked.

“I already did.” I said.

“When?” Flynn asked.

“Just now.” I said.

“I didn’t hear you.” Flynn grumbled.

“I counted to twenty silently.”

“Out loud.” Flynn said flatly.  “You have to count out loud or it doesn’t count.”

“Oh.  You didn’t tell me that.” I said.  “Guess I’ll have to start over.”

“Yeah.  I guess you will.” Flynn said, turning his attention back to Cooper.

Flynn tightened his grip.

“All the way to twenty, out loud?” I asked.

“All the way to twenty and do it out loud.”

“Okay.” I said.

Cooper made an even more desperate sound as Flynn applied more pressure, working his thumb and forefinger up around the lower edge of Cooper’s jaw and digging in so hard that you could see Flynn’s fingers stretching the skin there.  I’m pretty sure that Cooper’s windpipe was starting to flatten under the kind of pressure that Flynn was applying.

“One.  Two.  Three.  Four.  Five.  Six.  Seven.  Eight.  Nine.  Ten.” I started, taking my time.

I got to ten and stopped.

And waited.

“Uh, Flynn?” I asked him sheepishly.

He didn’t answer me, just pressed harder on Cooper’s throat, trying to push him through the windshield itself.

“Flynn?” I asked again.

“As you can plainly see I’m a little busy, Shields.  What do you want?”

“I was wondering if you could tell me what number comes after ten?”

Flynn looked at me.

The tip of a smile appeared at the edge of his mouth then vanished just as quickly.  He turned back to slowly strangling Cooper there on the hood of his Goat.

“Like I said, I’m kind of busy right now, Shields.  Why don’t you go ask someone else if you’re having a problem with your basic arithmetic.  Get Deano over there to help you … he’s good with numbers.”

“As long as they’re on a bra …” I said.

“Yeah, well, numbers are numbers, sort of, so go ask him, why don’t you?”

“Yeah. Okay.  Hold on.” I said, looking around for Deano in the still gathering crowd.

Deano and his girlfriend were about four cars away, slowly making out, leaned up against his old Ford Ranger.

“Hey!  I see Deano over there. Let me go and see if he knows what comes after ten.  Don’t go anywhere.”

“Wasn’t really planning on it.” Flynn said flatly, taking another sip of his whiskey.

“I’ll be back as soon as I can.” I said.

“Yeah, well, don’t hurry on my account.  I've got enough here to keep me busy for a while.” Flynn chided, taking another pull from his flask.

Right then Cooper gave a really good attempt to get out from under Flynn, like he had been saving up what strength he could and he gave it a good try but Flynn held him pinned tight to the windshield and pressed even harder.  I almost saw the Goat roll backwards some on its suspension Flynn was pushing so hard.  Cooper’s attempt to get free must have pissed Flynn off.  Flynn grunted and pushed harder, punishing Cooper for trying something like that.  Cooper groaned even louder and kicked wildly there on the hood of Flynn’s GTO, his shoe heels banging loudly into the metal of the hood of the old Goat but Flynn kept him pinned tight, increasing the pressure even more and wagging his finger in a "naughty naughty" gesture in front of Cooper's face.

“Hedme!” Cooper half screamed, half choked.  “Hedme!  Hezkildnme!”

Most of the crowd had gathered around now but no one was moving forward to help Cooper.  In fact, amid whispers and hushed talk there came the occasional laugh or giggle.

“Dosumfin!” Cooper croaked out and I laughed, softly as I was walking away.

Deano was leaning up against his old Ford F-100 pickup truck about four parked cars down from where we were.

“Hey, Deano!”

“Hey, man!  What's going on back over there?” Deano said, turning away from his girlfriend and looking back towards me then at where Flynn had Cooper pinned to the hood of this GTO.

I looked back, shrugged my shoulders.  It was everything I could do to keep from smiling.

"That?  Oh, Flynn's just taking care of a little attitude problem."

"A little attitude problem?" Deano asked, looking from me back to Flynn and then back to me.

"Yeah.  It's nothing ... really.  Look, I kind of need your help.”

“Yeah.  Ok.  What’s up?” He asked.

“I’ve got a question for you.  It’s a pretty simple one.”

“Uh huh.”

“Yeah.  Flynn says that you’re good with numbers.”

“Kind of …” Deano said, not really sure what was going on or where I was going with my question.

“Oh?  Good!  Uh, look … uh, what comes after ten?” I asked, straight faced.

Deano looked me up and down and then looked over my shoulder to where Flynn had Cooper Ryan pinned against the windshield of the GTO.  Deano smiled.

“What?” he asked, trying to understand what all was going on.

“I’m supposed to count to twenty.  Flynn asked me to count to twenty and I counted to ten but I ran out of fingers and I can’t remember what comes after ten and it would really help me out if maybe you could tell me the next number ... you know, kind of jog my memory.”

Deano smiled, laughed and shook his head.

“You’re serious?” he asked.

“Yeah, kind of.  I need to know what comes after ten so I can count to twenty.  Maybe jar my memory, you know.  It’s kind of important.”

“Who wants to know?” Deano asked, nodding back towards Flynn and Ryan having it out on the hood of Flynn’s Goat.

“I do.  Like I said, it’s kind of important.”

“How important?” Deano asked, nodding to his girlfriend to join him as he was looking over my shoulder at the spectacle behind me.

“Uh, like important enough to keep Flynn from dusting Cooper like Bundt cake back there on the hood of his GTO?”

Deano laughed out loud.

“Dust him like Bundt Cake!”

“Pretty much, yeah, and if I don't get back there and if I can't count to twenty then I think Flynn's going to jail and Cooper is just going to be a chalk outline there on the hood of the Goat.” I said, looking over my shoulder at Cooper trying to fight off Flynn, kicking and wailing there on the hood of the GTO.

“Eleven.” Deano said, smiling.

“Eleven?  That doesn’t sound right … Eleven?  You’re sure?” I asked.

“Yeah, pretty sure.” Deano said, smiling in a way that meant he wasn’t exactly sure what was going on but that now he was really interested in finding out what it was and maybe getting in on part of the fun.

“Okay.  If you say so.  Thanks.” I said turning and walking slowly back to Flynn.

“Hey, Shields?” Deano asked, smiling, and trying to figure out what was going on.


“Why the hell did you need to know what number came after ten?”

“Well, Cooper over there said I was a dumb ass and Flynn asked me to count to twenty to give Cooper some time to cool off and get his shit together and …”

“And …”

“And, well, since I’m a dumb ass I ran out of fingers to count on and so I needed a little bit of help to count higher than ten.  Flynn said you were good with numbers and that you would know what came after ten so I came looking for you.”

“Uh huh.” Deano said, laughing.

“Yeah, look, I really need to get back there otherwise the way that Flynn is squeezing him that guy Cooper is probably going to have some kind of brain damage … I mean, above and beyond what he already has, you know.”

Deano laughed, shook his head, motioned for his girlfriend to join him and they walked up to merge with the crowd that was gathered now around Flynn and the still struggling Cooper there on the hood of Flynn’s GTO.

I waited a few seconds then tapped Flynn on the shoulder with a finger.

“What?” Flynn asked, somewhat annoyed.

“Eleven.” I said, proudly.

“What?” Flynn asked.

“Eleven comes after ten.” I said, really proud of myself, rocking back and forth on my boot heels and smiling.

“You don’t say.” Flynn chided.

“No, but Deano does and I kind of trust him.”

Flynn shrugged his shoulders in reply.

Cooper was getting pretty frantic now, his color wasn’t at all healthy or natural looking and he continued to claw and grab at Flynn’s arms but Flynn wasn’t budging.  Flynn took another swig and smiled, pushing down even harder on Cooper’s throat.  This made Cooper emit a sound kind of like a squashed frog.  The crowd had pretty much formed around us now, gawkers and onlookers, hushed whispers and open talk.

“Eleven, huh?” Flynn asked.

“Yeah.  Eleven.  Eleven comes after ten.  Deano said so.”

“Well, that’s good to know.”

“Yeah, I guess it is.  Do you think I should ask someone else?  You know, just to make sure?  Get a second opinion on something important like that?” I agreed.

Flynn seemed to really think about that.

“Naw.  I trust Deano on something like that.  Trust him with my life.” Flynn said, looking at Deano and winking.

Deano laughed and so did his girlfriend, half burying her face in his chest.

“Okay.  Eleven.  I think I’ll write that down somewhere, you know, to have it for future reference.”

“Might not be a bad idea.” Flynn agreed.

Cooper squirmed under Flynn’s relentless grip.  After a few seconds Flynn looked back at me.

“What?” I asked.

“Are you going to count or not?” Flynn asked.

“Count?”  Again?”

“Yes, count again.” Flynn said, mock anger in his voice.

“Again?  I have to count ... again?” I asked.


“Eleven.  Twelve …”

Flynn shook his head slowly.

“Hell, Shields.  You have to count to twenty.  All the way.  From the start.”

“Oh.  That’s a lot of work, you know.”

“Yeah, well, not my problem.”

Giggles and laughter from the gathered crowd.

I rolled my eyes up, pursed my lips and started to mumble to myself.

“Out loud, Shields.” Flynn said, sounding frustrated.  “It doesn’t count unless it’s out loud, Shields.  God damn it!  I thought that we had already fucking established that fact.”

“Oh, yeah.  Sorry.  We did.  I forgot.  My bad.”

I counted slowly up to twenty, out loud, using my fingers and then starting over again.

I skipped thirteen.

On purpose.

Just to see if Flynn would catch it and he did.  I had another angle I was wanting to play with this and it was all I could do not to smile.  Flynn caught the absent number, just like I’d hoped he would.

“You skipped thirteen.” Flynn said flatly.

“Yeah.  I know."

"Why the hell did you skip thirteen?"

"Uh ... because it’s unlucky.” I said.

Giggles and laughter from the crowd.  Flynn and I were giving them a real show and all at Cooper' expense.

“It doesn’t count if you skip thirteen.” Flynn said.

“But I don’t want to say that number.  It's unlucky and saying it might jinx you or me tonight when we’re racing.”

More giggles and laughter from the crowd.

“You’ve got to say it or it doesn’t count.” Flynn said.  “I want you to say it.  They want you to say it and I'm pretty damn sure that this fucking asshole right here wants you to say it.”

“Saydit.” Cooper gasped out in one long word.  “Saydit!”

Giggles and laughter from the crowd.

“What?” I asked.

“Saydafuknumber.” Cooper gasped out, using both of his hands now to try to pry Flynn’s hand from around his throat but still unable to.

“Thirteen.” I said, pretty proud of myself.

Flynn didn’t let go of Cooper.

“There.  I said it.”

“Not good enough, you’ve got to start over from the beginning.” Flynn said.

“Start over …? But that’s hard!” I whined, stamping my boot hard on the road.

Giggles and laughter from the crowd.

Flynn shrugged his shoulders.

“Do it.” Flynn said.

“Damn it.  What if I don’t want to?”

"Then I twist this little girl's head off."

"Yeah ... see, that's not really my problem." I said.

“Sayditall!” Cooper wheezed out in a hoarse whisper, his hands desperately trying to break Flynn's grip on his neck.

“You heard the little girl.  Say it all.” Flynn said.

I waited.

“What are you waiting for, Shields?” Flynn asked, mock impatience in his voice.

“He didn’t say please.” I said, pointing at Cooper.

"No.  No, he didn't." Flynn said, pushing down harder on Cooper.

“Pleedz!” Cooper squealed.

“There, he said it.  Are you happy now?” Flynn asked.

“Well, I think manners are important.  It’s how I was brought up.” I said.

Flynn almost lost it then.


The corner of his mouth twitched and he turned his head towards me, his eyes closed but I could tell he was doing his best not to laugh and break the role he was playing.

“Okay.  Here goes …” I said, taking a deep sigh.

I counted out slowly one to ten as Flynn really put the grip to Cooper, pushing him even farther up the windshield of the GTO.  Cooper kicked wildly, trying to find traction on the faded paint of the hood of the old Pontiac but failing to do so.  The sounds that he was making now were even more serious than the ones he had been making before.  His face was really showing signs of oxygen deprivation and I don’t know how much longer Flynn and I could keep this charade up without Flynn actually choking the life out of Cooper or at least doing some kind of semi-permanent harm to him.

I thought about it and decided that we could do it a little bit longer.

Just a little bit.

After all, Cooper had it coming.

I counted and managed to get to ten and stopped.  I looked around like I had lost something really important or I’d forgotten something really important.

“Eleven.” Deano said loudly, laughing, and getting into the spirit of the moment.

I snapped my fingers and gave him the thumbs up sign.

“Eleven.  Twelve … Uh …” I continued then paused.

“Say it.” Flynn said, not taking his eyes off of Cooper.

“Saydit!” Cooper groaned.

“Aw, hell!  Do I really have to?” I asked, looking kind of nervous.

“Yes.” Flynn said.

“Yedsaydit!” Cooper said, clawing at Flynn’s arm.

“Thirteen. There.  Are you happy now?  I said it.  Fourteen.  Fifteen.  Sixteen.  Seventeen.  Eighteen.  Nineteen.  Twenty.” I said.

Flynn still maintained his grip on Cooper’s throat.  The guy was turning purple there under Flynn’s grip.  Hell, his eyes were even starting to roll back into their sockets and it sounded like his breath was rattling around in his chest.  At that point I didn’t know if we were still just giving this guy a hard time or if Flynn really was going to choke all the life out of him.  I got ready to step in if it became necessary to prevent a killing.  Cooper wasn’t really worth saving but Cooper also wasn’t worth going to prison for.  Flynn would probably mark Cooper’ death as doing society a favor but I don’t think a judge would see it the same way.

“Uh, Flynn.”


“I counted to twenty.” I said.

“Yeah.  I guess you did at that.  Kind of proud of you there.  Good job.”

"Thanks.  I learned to do that in school."

Silence except for the occasional flinch and twist from Cooper there under Flynn’s merciless grip, and the random futile kick from his legs.

“Hey ... I think you're killing him.  I mean, really killing him.” I whispered.

“Yeah, I might actually be doing just that.  No one’s going to miss him.  Much.  Long.  When he’s gone we can drag his useless ass to the Shriner’s burn center for children and donate him.  He’d make a lot of happy kids that way, I bet they’d get a ton of skin grafts off this guy.”

Cooper made a really unhealthy sound then, like a couple of straws being shaken around in a soup can.  Flynn still hadn't let go.  I took a step closer because right then I didn't know if we were still playing with Cooper or if Flynn had just gone off the deep end and was really going to send Cooper to meet his Maker COD.

“You can let him go now, Flynn.” I whispered.

“No.  No, Shields, I really can’t do that ... not just yet.” Flynn said with a serious growl to his voice.

“Why?  Did I miss a number again?” I asked, not sure where this was going but definitely sure that I didn’t want it to end like it looked like it was about to end.

Suddenly I wasn't so sure that Flynn was just trying to teach Cooper a lesson ... suddenly I wasn't so sure that Flynn was just rough housing.

“No.” Flynn said.

“Then why can’t you let him go?” I asked.

Flynn sighed then smiled, turning to look at me then getting serious and turning back to look at Cooper there in his grip.

“Because this dick whistle here hasn’t asked me nicely to let him go.”

Cooper looked up at Flynn, wide eyed and desperate.

“Pleed.” Cooper croaked out in a long whisper that faded to almost nothing.

“What?” Flynn asked him.

“Pleeeeed!” Cooper wheezed.

"I can't hear you, little girl." Flynn growled.

"PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEED!" Cooper rattled.

“Good enough.  Now get off my car!  I don’t like shit on my hood!” Flynn said, releasing his grip on Cooper' throat and neck.

Flynn gave Cooper a hard push to the right then grabbed hold of him by the front of his shirt and jerked him off the hood and windshield of his GTO.  Cooper rolled around on the ground, limp, gasping for air, the color of his face changing slowly back to what I would consider healthier tones.  The sounds he made were a combination of gasps and retches before he finally fell into a heap and started sobbing uncontrollably.  Flynn gave me a high five, hopped up on the fender of his GTO and leaned forward to point his finger and his flask accusingly at Cooper who was lying there on the ground beside the front fender of the GTO.

“Listen up, ass wipe.  THIS is the only motherfucking bottle I carry when I’m on the line!  The ONLY motherfucking bottle and it is a flask, not a bottle!  A bottle is what your horse pussy mother uses to feed you dinner ... after she's squeezed it from her saggy tits.  Now, the only way that this flask is hooked into my motor is if it's touching my lips while I'm driving.” Flynn shouted, holding his flask out to show it to Cooper lying there on the ground next to the GTO.

Cooper looked up at Flynn and there were genuine tears flowing down his cheeks, his hand went to his throat which had orange marks, deep orange marks near where his jaw was hinged to his skull.  He was probably going to have some interesting bruising there in the next few hours.  Mixed emotions started rippling through the crowd.  

People were confused.  

I was confused.  

Was Flynn still putting on a show or was he serious?

 If there was any doubt as to if Flynn was playing or not then that doubt was completely removed when Flynn hopped down from the hood of his GTO, took three steps towards the poor guy and kicked him, hard, almost flipping him for a loop backwards.  Cooper screamed and collapsed in on himself, crying as Flynn stood towering over him.

"I." Flynn shouted, kicking Cooper again, hard.


Another kick.


Another kick.

Cooper gagged and rolled around on the ground, slowly, making all kind of unhealthy noises.  I didn't know what a broken rib sounded like but if I had to guess then I'd say, right then and there, that Cooper had a couple of those.  Flynn shook himself out, ran a hand through his salt and pepper hair then turned around to face Cooper and took another jog towards him.  Cooper cried out and pulled himself into a fetal ball.  Flynn towered over him.

“You want to run me, run me motherfucker!  Run.  Me.  Mother.  Fucker.  Put that faded tan horse pussy colored punk ass Camaro of yours up there on the line next to my Goat and we’ll run … crate motor, no crate motor … pro-built or built by a retard, I don't care!  Put a fucking NASA rocket in it!  I don't care!  Put your pussy Camaro up against my Goat and we'll run any day, any time.  Hell, I’ll even spot you.  I'll even double the bet if you win.  I’ll even drive with my fucking left arm behind my fucking back and I'll still beat you!  Hell, I’ll let you tie my arm behind my back just to be fair and I'll still beat you because I can steer with my dick and shift with my right hand and I can always beat a stupid little whiney no balls breast milk fed pussy smear like you!”

Cooper looked up at Flynn, slowly, his body rocking ... spasming.

“Do you want to do that, you stupid fucking little girl?  Do you want to line up again so that everyone can see me whip your ass down the ribbon?  Again?”

When Cooper said nothing Flynn huffed, handed me his flask, kicked Cooper as hard as he could, again, this time bowling him over then squatted on his boot heels, reached down, grabbed a handful of Cooper’s hair and pulled his head and face up to look directly at Flynn.

“I asked you a simple fucking question, little girl!  Do you want to race me again?” Flynn seethed through clenched teeth.

Cooper shook his head, as best as he could with Flynn holding his head tight by a fist clenched tight in his hair.

“Didn’t think so.” Flynn said, dropping Cooper’s head back down and standing back up.

And like that Flynn's posture and expression softened ... the change was one of the scariest things that I'd ever seen.  His voice, when he spoke, was almost fatherly, almost tender, almost forgiving in a priest-like manner.

“Oh, if it’s any consolation you can look in my trunk.  You can look under my hood.  You can look under my car.  Hell, you can look inside my ex-wife’s twat, if you want to.  You can look where ever you motherfucking want to look and you won’t find a juice bottle because that Goat right there runs on motherfucking motor and motherfucking motor alone.  I built that engine.  Me.  I didn’t have a rich daddy to buy me some over the counter crate motor for my orange-so-faded-from-the-sun-that-it’s-now-tan-horse-twat-colored Camaro like you did.  Anytime you want a rematch, little girl, you know where to find me.  I’ll be happy to oblige.  Just make sure you bring your allowance for the week because I’m going to take that from you each and every time.”

Flynn started forward to kick Cooper again, hard but Cooper instantly curled up in a ball and whimpered loudly, begging and Flynn stopped about a step away, boot drawn back.  Flynn hopped in a half circle, punched the air in frustration then walked away towards his GTO.  He paused, reached for his flask which I gave him back, took a long swig then turned around and looked down at Cooper there on the road.

“And one last thing, ass wipe … if you ever accuse me of cheating again without any proof, if you ever call me a cheater again to my back or to my face and especially if you ever take another swing at me when I’m not looking I’ll kick your ass so hard you’ll think what I did to you tonight was foreplay.”

Flynn started to walk around the back of his GTO, headed for the driver’s side door when he stopped, leaned on the roof and looked back at Cooper.

“And after I’m through kicking your ass I’ll punch your face.  Hard.  Real hard.  Twice.  Maybe more than that.  Tell your mom I'll stop by Friday night after your daddy leaves for the bar to go drinking with his buddies and tell her to wear that perfume that she wore last night.  I'm kind of partial to that fragrance.”

Cooper managed to get some of his composure back, rising to a sitting position and wiping at his cheeks and then his throat.  No one moved to help him.  Flynn had told him to back off and I think that my opinion that Cooper had pushed Flynn too far was the group consensus as well.

“God damn amateur.  I hate people like him.  I fucking hate people like him.” Flynn muttered.  “Tell me that I cheated!  Tell me that I run a motherfucking bottle!  A motherfucking bottle!  That I cheated!  Fucking asshole.”

Flynn suddenly hauled off and wailed his fist against the roof of the GTO.

Flesh on metal.

Resounding thumps.



Three times.


Then he folded his arms, rested his head on them and stared off into space.

“You okay?” I asked in a subdued tone.

Flynn sighed heavily as he leaned back from the GTO.  He ran his fingers through his salt and pepper hair, flipping his head back and closing his eyes.

“Yeah.  Yeah.  I'm cool.”

“You sure?” I asked again.

“No.  Not really.  Shields, I’m hungry, I’m out of smokes and this ..." 

Flynn said as he held up his flask.  

"... Is almost dry.  Let’s get out of here.  I’ve had enough fun for tonight.”

“I'm good with that.” I said.

“You drive.” Flynn said, tossing me the keys.  

We crossed each other's paths switching sides then got in the GTO and slowly drove away.

“You leaving?” Deano asked.

“Yeah.  Just … yeah.” Flynn said.

And like that I fired up Flynn’s GTO, put it into gear and we drove off.