In the Public Eye: Part 7

I’d been hoping to do this installment and the one that follows it in one post, but it went longer than I wanted…

Standing in HQ’s hangar one week later, I let go of the hood of Night Wolf’s Corvette and heard it click shut.

“Done,” I muttered.

I’d spent most of Saturday testing the car. Grandpa had a long and detailed list of what needed doing and I didn’t want to miss anything.

Night Wolf drove a black, 1964 Stingray—sort of. By “sort of” I mean that I doubted that any of the parts were original. Even forgetting that the car was forty years old, I seriously doubted that an armored body, windows made of transparent metal, or hidden wings that could extend out below the doors were standard on any model of Corvette.

I had worked on Night Wolf’s car and Captain Commando’s motorcycle as a way of passing the time while waiting for the parts I needed for my redesign of my grandfather’s eavesdropping system.

My back felt sore after standing for six hours—standing under the car while it was on the lift and standing under the open hood while reaching into the engine.

I opened the door and sat inside. The seat felt good. I touched a button and the window disappeared into the door. My eyes swept across the dashboard, its complexity rivaling the control panel of the still mothballed jet. I knew what all the car’s controls did now. Travis would have a good time with it.

I put my hands on the steering wheel and thought about whether I should take it out for a drive. Then I closed my eyes. My grip loosened and I fell asleep.

I woke to find Cassie’s hand on my shoulder. She gave it a small push. “Nick? Are you awake?”

“I was just thinking about taking this car for a test drive.”

“Did you say thinking or dreaming?”

She wore street clothes—blue jeans and a dark blue hoodie. A motorcycle leaned against the wall behind her. I guessed it might be from the 1970’s.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“Dad’s other motorcycle. Mom had it in the back of the garage. Would you mind looking it over?”

“I guess,” I said. “I already finished the other one.”

“I know,” she said. “I’d just prefer to take lessons as myself instead of showing up in costume.”

Covered with dust and spider webs, the bike looked like it had sat in the back of the garage for ten years. I got out of the car and started wiping the bike off with a rag. It was a Honda CB400F.

“Did you ride it over here?”

“What? No, I pushed. I should have had Daniel float it over.”

So now I had another vehicle to fix. On the other hand, it didn’t have to break the sound barrier or hide a machinegun—which meant it would be simpler. I considered ways I might improve it. I might just toss the engine and replace it—maybe with a turbocharged diesel. But why stop there? Why not put in something interesting like a rocket assisted speed boost?

Cassie said, “Earth to Nick. What the hell are you doing?”

I realized that I was holding a screwdriver and had already begun to take the bike apart.

“Nothing that can’t wait,” I said. “You want to come along while I test drive Night Wolf’s car?”

10 thoughts on “In the Public Eye: Part 7”

  1. I think that:

    “I knew what all the car’s controls all did now. ”

    would read better as:

    I knew what all the car’s controls did now.

    BTW: great story!

  2. Speaking of mistakes it’s a “hangar” rather than a “hanger”.
    Man, I’d forgotten how much I enoyed this early stuff, Jim.

    1. There’s a missing “the” near the end of the sentence …”and standing under the open hood while reaching into engine.”

      That tinker trance was great.

  3. Thanks for noticing that. I vaguely remember being a little confused about that back then. I’ve been looking over the early stuff myself as part of my plans to publish as an ebook. Its nice to go back, and not dislike something I’ve written.

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