Racing in the Street

Racing in the Street

by Bo_Emp


Version for “Tales of the Veils” website.
Not for reproduction on other websites or in any other publishing format without author’s permission.

I got a sixty-nine Chevy with a 396
Fuelie heads and a Hurst on the floor
She’s waiting tonight down in the parking lot
Outside the Seven-Eleven store
Me and my partner Sonny built her straight out of scratch
And he rides with me from town to town
We only run for the money got no strings attached
We shut `em up and then we shut `em down

Tonight tonight the strip’s just right
I wanna blow `em off in my first heat
Summer’s here and the time is right
We’re goin’ racin’ in the street

We take all the action we can meet
And we cover all the northeast state
When the strip shuts down we run `em in the street
From the fire roads to the interstate
Some guys they just give up living
And start dying little by little piece by piece
Some guys come home from work and wash up
Then go racin’ in the street

Tonight tonight the strip’s just right
I wanna blow `em all out of their seats
Calling out around the world
We’re going racin’ in the street

I met her on the strip three years ago
In a Camaro with this dude from L.A.
I blew that Camaro off my back and drove that little girl away
But now there’s wrinkles around my baby’s eyes
And she cries herself to sleep at night
When I come home the house is dark
She sighs “Baby did you make it all right”
She sits on the porch of her daddy’s house
But all her pretty dreams are torn
She stares off alone into the night
With the eyes of one who hates for just being born

For all the shut-down strangers and hot rod angels
Rumbling through this promised land
Tonight my baby and me we’re gonna ride to the sea
And wash these sins off our hands

Tonight tonight the highway’s bright
Out of our way mister you best keep
`Cause summer’s here and the time is right
We’re goin’ racin’ in the street

© 1978 Bruce Springsteen

Ahmed remembered three years ago, when he was out racing with his friends as usual on the old Bahrain Race Track. A guy in a red Camaro, which he hadn’t met before, had brought his female cousin with him. A woman out with men playing. And then racing. It was very unusual. But of course she was completely veiled in black, including a quite thin outer veil covering her eyes. For a long time she just stayed in the passenger seat of the Camaro. While I outran them and the others in a couple of races. When we took a break gathering under a tree some meters away from the cars to drink a cola, she stepped out and walked among the cars to get a close look at all the beauties. But to my knowledge her eyes remain covered. And despite that she apparently took a good look at us men as well, especially me. As soon as we men headed back towards the cars, she was inside the Camaro again. After some more races, where I won when I participated, we gathered again to say goodbye. She left the car again, but this time she stood just five meters away facing us. I didn’t suspect she was looking at me. What could be seen of her downwards face was just an expressionless black surface. I just thought she wanted to listen to our conversation, because she was so interested in our cars. As soon as we turned towards our cars, she headed for the Camaro. Five minutes later, as I was driving out of the track, I found out she must have passed my car. Because on the passenger seat was a small piece of paper reading ‘Camaro. Call between 4 and 6 every day,’ and a telephone number. That’s how we started to know each other. I then learned, that seeing her cousin’s car she had begged her father to allow her to ride with him. She loved fast cars. Her father was a liberal type, who believed that woman should have equal opportunities, as long as it did not offend traditions. And as she was veiled, chaperoned by her cousin and had promised to stay in the car without talking to the other men, she was allowed. Her cousin didn’t reveal she broke one of her promises. After some months of frequent enjoyable telephone conversation, I took the correct traditional way of asking my parents to go to her parents and ask if they would marry their daughter Jamilah to me. Officially of course I’ve learned from her cousin that he had a female cousin interested in cars who liked to marry someone serious with cars. And as Jamilah’s parents obviously found a common interest would strengthen the relationship, we got married. Until then I had only seen her on a photograph and heard her cousin describing her delicate curves and always happy face.

We kept racing after we got married, but after a few months Jamilah stopped going with me. Her friends had mocked her saying racing isn’t suitable for a married woman. And she said her now more heavy veiling made watching the other cars less enjoyable. For some more months she kept coming in my garage chatting and handing me tools while I worked on the car. But that stopped as well and now she spends the evenings I’m with my car on her own or with friends. For long she seemed content doing her own things while I was with my Chevy. But Jamilah hasn’t been happy lately. I’ve sometime noticed she cries herself to sleep. First I thought, she was sad because her parents had decided to move to Jordan to be able to treat her father’s asthma problems at the Dead Sea. This led to a lot of trouble with packing and unpacking, when we took over their house. But now everything is in order and she phone or mail her parents nearly everyday. Yesterday when I came home from racing late in the evening, the house was dark. She just sat out on the cool porch staring at the stars, with a look in her eyes of one who hates for just being born. When I gave her a coming home kiss, I noticed the wrinkles around her eyes, and she just sighed “Baby, did you make it all right?” Then I said to myself ‘Let’s start all over again.’ And we went to bed as the days before. But I couldn’t sleep. And then I found out how starting all over had to be. At breakfast I said I would be home early and would bring some food ready to eat. We ate a little before sunset. I told her to leave the kitchen as it is and get ready for a ride. Five minutes later she was dressed in her abaya, gloves and large headscarf. I had packed a bag. Inside the car she put on her niqab with two layers of eye veiling. Looking at her featureless black face I imagined I saw the woman, who fell in love with me at the Race Track three years ago. We drove for half an hour to a secluded beach away from where people would come at this time of the day. With the sun away the air and the water was about the same in the mid twenties. In the light of the stars, we took off all our clothes and walked out in the water. After playing around in the water for twenty minutes, we got up, and I found the towels I’ve brought. We kissed and toweled each other. Then we dressed, but we didn’t go home. I headed for the race track. Just before we got there, knowing she was practically blind at night with only street lights, I handed her a semi-transparent scarf and said “Use this while we race. There are no condemning women here.” Arriving we had only missed two runs. The guys all got more eager than usual as loosing to a woman, although she wasn’t driving, would hurt their vanity. But my Chevy and I were now inspired by Jamilah again. As we had won three races she was singing “Tonight tonight the strip’s just right. Out of our way mister you best keep. ‘Cause summer’s here and the time is right. We’re goin’ racin’ in the street.” And even when driving home I kept hearing her now muffled voice coming out from that black cloth beside me.

Copyright © 2007, Bo_Emp ; bo_emp ‘at’ yahoo ‘dot’ com

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