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Power Part 1
By Lisa D.
age: 14

Honk! Honk honk! The small classroom of 30 was disrupted by this noise coming from the driveway of the school. As it continued, the teacher made her way to the window and looked out to see what was causing the commotion. A few students joined her. Then they turned around and faced me. It took me a moment to realize it though, and when I finally did, it was a little embarrassing.

“What?” I asked.

The teacher laughed and said, “Your dad is waiting in the driveway in the red GTO honking for you.”

I didn’t really know why that was funny, but I knew that if my dad had to wait any longer, he would likely leave without me. I quickly piled my books into the small backpack at my feet and ran outside, waving to everyone as I went past. It took me long enough to reach the door of the classroom to see that no one waved back. Oh well, when had they ever?

Outside the stuffy room it was nice and breezy. A few puffy clouds passed overhead and made this afternoon perfect for a car show. Yeah, the car show I forgot about. My dad had told me to be waiting outside at 2:00 but I had totally spaced it! Now as I rushed down the driveway towards him, I could see the look of frustration on his face. I opened the trunk of the muscle car very carefully, put my backpack inside, and sat in the passenger seat next to my dad.

“Why weren’t you out here waiting?” he asked angrily as he started up the car and let it warm up.

“I forgot…again,” I said, knowing this had already happened once before in the same month.

He sighed, “Just don’t do it again.”

Wow, I had expected more argument from him.

The rest of the drive to the show was silent. The revving of the old engine filled the air, creating enough noise as it was.

Pulling into the Main St. driveway, I was first to notice the long line of show cars already waiting to get in. It was going to be a long wait, I thought to myself. My dad pulled the car around at the back of the line and turned it off. He got out and walked down the line of cars, inspecting the competition. I didn’t bother getting out of the car. The handle always gets stuck and I can never open the door. Pulling out my sketchbook, I started drawing the scene around me. A couple sitting on a park bench a few feet away, two show cars, a 1966 Pontiac GTO and a 1957 Chevrolet, were in my view. Also a few crows nibbling on a piece of garlic bread carelessly discarded on the ground not ten feet from a trashcan. Sighing, I made my first line.

The line of cars moved faster than I had anticipated and I wasn’t able to finish my picture. I cringed right before my dad started up the car. I’m always afraid of it not starting, but this time it did, and soon we were driving through the car show gates and being pointed along by people in orange vests.

Our spot pleased my father. It was right in front of the pizza parlor. That way we could sit inside the building where it was air conditioned and still be able to see the car while we ate. It took him about ten minutes to finally get the car parked to his satisfaction and then we went inside.

The rush of cool air that hit me from inside surprised me and made me jump back, accidentally knocking into a woman and her stroller by the door. This caused the baby inside to start whaling.

“Sorry,” I called as my dad pushed through a small crowd gathered around a big screen TV watching the wrestling match.

“Let’s keep moving. I have a feeling it might be hard to find a table this time of night,” he called to me and made his way to the farthest empty table from the TV.

“Aren’t you going to want to watch the fight?” I asked. My dad has been known to put up a fight unless he gets what he wants and I didn’t want to get thrown out of a pizza parlor at a family oriented car show.

“No, honey. This is fine,” he said, pulling out a chair from the table next to ours and sitting down. I followed his example and grabbed a chair for myself, realizing there had been no chairs at our table.

“What’ll it be?” asked a rushed waiter who had happened to be walking by when we sat down.

“I haven’t had a chance to look at the menu yet, or even get a menu for that matter,” Dad said.

The waiter nodded. “If you’d like I will bring one to you.”

“No that’s fine, I know what I want anyway. I always end up getting the same thing,” he replied. “The chicken breast, please.”

“And for you?” the waiter asked.

“I’ll have a Diet Coke and some corn chips,” I said, trying to cut back on the red meat I was so fond of. My dad looked at me, surprised. I always got the cheeseburger.

“O.K.,” the waiter said and was gone before I could say thanks.

“That guy sure was rushed,” my dad said. I had no sooner nodded when I felt a sharp sting on the back of my hand. But I was too involved in looking at the people around us to look down, so I just wiped where the pain had been and forgot all about it.

The show went by very quickly which was out of the ordinary. Usually they seem to take forever. Before I knew it, the crowd of people who had cars in the show were gathered around a small podium. The president of the SCC Car Club took the stand and spoke into the microphone.

“Welcome, everyone, to the twentieth annual Garden Grove car show.” The crowd clapped. “I hope you have all had fun tonight and now it is time for trophies!” Everyone cheered and became quiet in anticipation.

I never really got excited at this part of the car show. I just like looking at all the cars but I appreciated everyone’s enthusiasm.

“Category A. A 1957 Chevrolet belonging to Michael Biehn.” I glanced upward at the name. It was the name of my favorite actor. I thought he was awesome. But he was from the 80’s and even then, wasn’t very known. No one seemed to notice the significance of the name and had begun talking amongst themselves, waiting for their car category.

I looked up at the trophies, waiting for him to come and receive the trophy. He never came and the president announced that they would mail to to him and that he must have left early.

I was so disappointed. But it probably wasn’t really him anyway. My dad was surprised when in Category H, his car won first place! He received a flame-designed trophy and had his picture taken for the magazine the club sponsored. You could see the smile on his face from across the parking lot.

Getting out of the crowded driveway of the car show took forever. We must have sat there for twenty minutes while other show cars pulled out of their spots. My dad screeched the tires on our way out when we drove away from the plaza and towards home. It went smoothly. We only got stuck by two red lights.

It was when we got to the intersection of Chapman and Lemon when we hit the third red light. We stopped just in time, but the large truck behind us couldn’t stop and I was jolted forward when it hit the back end of our show car! Cursing, Dad got out of his car and went out of my view to talk to the driver of the truck.

Five minutes later, he strolled back into view and drove away from the intersection. I waited a few minutes until I couldn’t take it any longer and asked him what happened.

“The guy was drunk, but he was only about twenty. I couldn’t call the cops and have his life ruined with a DUI.”

I stared at him, “What are you talking about? He just ruined your show car. Why shouldn’t you call the cops and have him suffer the consequences?”

He sighed, “Because it’s the right thing to do to forgive him and just be thankful no one was hurt. I think the incident alone scared him enough that he won’t drive for a while.”

I turned away, angry at the man who crashed into us and angry at my dad for letting him go. But by the time we pulled into the driveway of our house, I had realized he was right.

We silently pushed the car into the garage and went inside the house.

“Yeah, you could say my mom was pretty upset,” I was telling my best friend Ally the next day. We had rode our bikes down to the “Circle”, or the roundabout that the small town of Orange was built around. I had parked my bike on a small post outside the Army Navy in the back of a short alleyway. I don’t know where Ally parked hers. I had just met up with her now.

“Wow, I can’t believe that guy didn’t get busted!” she exclaimed, throwing her empty ice cream wrapper into a nearby trashcan. I noticed the small ring of chocolate around her mouth but didn’t say anything. She’d figure it out on her own time.

“Yeah, but can we get off of this subject? I came down here to forget about it. That’s all my family’s been talking about recently,” I said, starting to walk into an antique shop on the side of the street.

“Hey wait for me!” Ally called out. I hadn’t seen her stop to tie her shoes. When she caught up, we walked down inside the building.

Inside, it was dark and cool. It took some time before our eyes were adjusted enough to see. Ally walked up an aisle to my left and I continued straight up the main corridor. A gleaming electric guitar hung securely on the main wall in front of me. I quickly inspected the strings and realized that the guitar was really new. What was it doing in an old shop like this?

“So, that device there caught your eye?” The old voice startled me and I turned sharply around to face a woman amongst the fading record boxes in the corner.

“I didn’t see you the-,” I began.

“You shouldn’t be in here you know,” she cut me off.

I was about to argue with her that it was open and the public was able to come inside, when Ally came running towards me.

“We’ve got to go, Sandy!” she grabbed my arm and dragged me out of the store. As I was pulled away, I saw the deranged smile on the lady’s face and it ran shivers down my spine.

When we were out on the sidewalk in the safety of other people walking around us, I asked, “What was that all about, Ally?” rubbing my arm where she had grabbed me.

“A creepy man was following me through the store and it gave me a really creepy feeling. When I saw you I just grabbed you and ran.”

“Yeah, I noticed,” I said. “Well, I think I am going to go home because that place really gave me the creeps.”

She nodded, “Me too. I guess I’ll see you tomorrow at school!” Ally ran off and around the corner.

As I walked back to where I had parked my bike, my mind wandered back to that shop. That was so weird. That lady seemed familiar, but I couldn’t place her. The whole thing was probably just a prank anyway.

I rounded the corner and stopped abruptly. Two men were struggling with my bike lock. One of them had hedge clippers and was trying to cut through it. I walked back around the corner to think. Should I go and confront them? What if they hurt me? I decided it was worth the risk. My parents would be furious if they found out someone had stolen my bike!

I ran around the corner again just as they cut the bike lock in two and got on. I yelled at them and the first man without the clippers pedaled the bike and took off down the street. I stopped and watched them disappear across the busy street filled with traffic. There was no way I could catch them now.

I glanced down to look at my watch when I noticed that between my fingers, thin, threads were spun. Taking my other hand to wipe them away, I realized it was like that on this hand, too! They were webs!

“Great, there’s a spider on me somewhere,” I muttered to myself and started to search my jacket pockets. Then my hand got caught on the side flap of my pocket, except there was nothing for them to get caught on. My fingers were sticking to the jacket. Then it hit me.

“No way, this is not happening.” I have spider abilities! I thought, then angrily pushed the thoughts from m ymind. Yeah, right, spider powers? Ha!

I started the long walk home, muttering to myself about how I didn’t have a bike, making people walking by stare. But I don’t care, I thought. Someone just stole my bike! Not like anyone would do anything about it.

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