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Joy Ride


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“Today is the day Americans have been waiting for; a day in which the obsolete mechanisms of the past are replaced with the conveniences of modern, industrial life. This will be a way to further ourselves in the world of business while also providing a safe method of recreation. It will make travel as quick as a cheetah chasing a gazelle in the savannah. I present an affordable means of transportation, the Model T Ford, for a reasonable $390.”
Dad turned the dial on the radio to quiet the buzz.
“Wow, a real automobile! Dad! We just have to buy one!”
“Well son, your mom and I were planning on purchasing one for Christmas. We are heading down in the morning to find our new automobile!”
“ARE YOU JOKING DAD? We are going to have a car? This is amazing! We will look so classy, driving through town. Everyone will be so jealous! I can’t wait to show Jenny! She will think I am so great!”
“Hold up there son. We will still walk to most events. Your school is only a half mile down the street. We are going to use it to travel more. Mom has dreamt of seeing the Grand Canyon. Now it’s your bedtime. For now, just dream of traveling. Tomorrow night we can go on a drive. Have the sweetest of dreams!”

Seven year-old Charlie crawled under the covers of his bed. He couldn’t believe that his parents were buying an automobile! Oh, the places they would travel to!
Charlie closed his eyes to go to sleep but instead saw himself pulling up to the movies in his shiny, Ford, Model T. Everything was perfectly clean. His best friends were in the back and sweet, pretty Jenny was on his right laughing. He hopped out of the car, pulled the door open for Jenny and walked into the theatre on a red carpet, dressed in a fancy suit. His eyes popped open. It felt like the night before Christmas where the snow was falling and Santa Claus was coming. The anticipation on Christmas was always too much for Charlie. Right now, waiting to have a car was as bad as resisting a warm plate of Mom’s double fudge cookies.
He heard the antique radio coming in and out of focus in the sitting room. His parents liked to sit and listen to what President Coolidge had planned for business or what the Ku Klux Klan was up to each night before bed. Charlie rustled in his sheets, unable to find a comfortable spot. He peeked at the clock on the wall. He was learning how to read clocks. The shortest hand was between the nine and ten. He figured it must be late because the moonlight was creeping up his walls. Charlie rolled on his other side again. He looked at the toys left on his floor. Mom was going to be so mad that he hadn’t cleaned up. Beneath his stack of comic books, he spotted a metal, toy truck. He hopped out of bed to grab it. He pretended that the creases in his blankets were roads that led to the ocean. The little car easily tackled the winding roads. Charlie then pictured himself driving through a light drizzle across a smooth road under palm trees as tall as skyscrapers. Pretty Jenny happened to be there, looking dashing in a lavender dress. Charlie parked his car and leaned in to kiss Jenny. His eyes fluttered open and the most inopportune moment. How he’d dreamed of kissing Jenny, a beautiful girl from school…
Charlie’s heart leapt as light beamed through the window. Had morning arrived? Sadly, he realized that it was only the street lights that were as bright as a factory fire, shining between his blinds. He looked up at the clock again. Surely the short hand would be close to the one, signifying the day that the car would come. Unfortunately, the short hand was resting on the ten.
Why was night taking so long? All Charlie wanted to do was walk down to the Ford factory with his mom and dad to buy a handsome, black Model T. First, he wanted to drive across town so everyone could gawk at their car as if it were the president making a speech.
Then he wanted to leave the city and ride across the foothills. He wanted to stick his head out the window and feel the chilly breeze on his cheeks. Then he wanted his family to arrive at a grassy, flowery meadow and have a delicious picnic under an oak tree. Then they would drive back to the city and visit one of those fancy, new, drive-in theatres. There, they would sit in the car, eating buttery popcorn and watch the newest Disney motion picture. Tomorrow was going to be the best day of his life- if only it would come faster.
Charlie couldn’t stop imagining all of the journeys him and his family were going to have. They could become explorers and drive clear across the country to see the mountains. Then they could go camping or climb the giant hills of sand he had seen in picture books. Or, his family could drive north to see the vast, open spaces of Canada.
Eventually, without Charlie’s realization, the scenarios shifted into dreams. Then the night turned into day. The moon disappeared and the sun’s warmth began to blanket the earth.
Charlie was startled by a sound as piercing and unnatural as a gunshot. He jumped up and searched the window for the source. He looked below him and saw a gorgeous, black car waiting in the driveway. He sprinted down the stairs faster than he ever had before and carefully leapt into the seat of the car. However, he misjudged the distance and crashed into the street.
“Well, Charlie your first car ride was going to be to a picnic in the meadow, but instead has turned up to be a trip to the hospital!”



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