Texas to Montana. It wasn't a long drive for Steven. Certainty not for the purchase of a 1973, dark green, hemi powered, two door beast of a Barracuda. The eBay pictures of it ran through his mind all the while he had been on the road. It was driving around, making doughnuts in the recesses of his gray matter. He had gotten it for a real bargain at only 5,544. It was a fixer-upper to be sure, but Steven didn't care. That was half the fun right there.
He longed for the day when it was his, fully restored, and cruising across the U.S at 95 MPH. He would get pulled over by the cops in some random state, and have to pull out his license, reading:
Steven M. Rampar
DOB, Nov. 12, 1988
He would smile, put back the license, and accept the ticket graciously. Then he would take off going about 75, accelerating the farther away he got from the po-po. Good thing he was already planning to put a CB in. Have to miss those toll-markers and "smoky traps."
Peering at his gas gauge he saw the red light come on. He was quickly running out of fuel. No surprise as he drove his matte-black, 1987 Buick Regal. A 455, V-8 engine under the hood that guzzled down gas like a dehydrated alcoholic in a beer brewery. Again, Steven didn't care. He had loved the car when he had first gotten it from his dad, Carl Rampar. A seemingly ageless automotive savant; he had actually bought the car for his son at the time of his birth. His father was not a Ford, Chrysler, or Toyota man. "Go GM and Get Moving," his dad had told him at the age of six when he had shown him the car. They had worked on it for all of his life. He started to get a feel for the vehicle at twelve, illegally driving it down more forgotten Texas dirt-roads than he or his dad could count. Steve pulled off dust doughnuts, left deep tire divots, and knew how to change gears just as quickly and skillfully as any professional stunt-car driver. Title and care were handed over to him at seventeen, legally driving it.
It was around that time Steven had taken over the mechanic shop that Carl ran out of his garage. Carl was many things to Steven. A wonderful father - absolutely. A tireless worker - without question. An advertising genius - not even close. Steven though had grown up with the internet at his fingertips. He outsourced, advertised, made logos, did deliveries, and pick-ups, along with making the company a chain in little less than five years. His father had seen the company take off just before he died of lung cancer, an unfortunate side effect of working around the more hazardous chemicals of his time. Not only that, but Carl was a cheap man too when it came to simple purchases for automotive care. He was a master when it came to buying and taking care of a car or truck, but when it came to cleaning fluids, oils and paint, he was a lot less interested, going with whatever worked at the cheapest cost. Steven was infallibly more careful about the products he used for the upkeep of his beloved Buick and shops. He had actually taken the time to make sure that all three of the garages had a list of "OK'd" products. Not one of them was to use an unapproved brand name without explicit instruction from Steven himself. He cared about not only the cars in his care, but the guys who worked with them as well.
Wanting to find a gas station fast, Steven ran his index finger down the spines of some his favorite albums. His CDs were in a compartment behind the gearshift. He passed by a ripped Jimi Hendrix, a tattered, broken jewel case of two Mountain CDs, some Deep Purple, (his favorite band but not in the mood right now) and stopped, debating between White Zombie and ZZ Top. He needed some hard guitar to keep him awake for another 30 miles where, hopefully, he'd see an information sign for gas.
Carefully picking up the White Zombie, he inserted the CD into his system and cranked it, enjoying the cool, crisp night air in his short auburn hair. He looked at the time as he heard More Human Than A Human blare out.
He cursed out loud, "Bitch!" He could make it through the night until he got to Limon, Colorado but his Regal couldn't. He had to break off the 287 somewhere. A few ending consonants passed on by him. None looked like safe bets for anything remotely civilized. Really, they were probably just back roads made up to look like small highways for a few miles, but then there would be a sign reading: Pavement Ends Here. He had driven down more than his fair share of them in Texas.
Steven's black Regal sped through the canyon-walled highway as he watched carefully for a sign. Unfortunately all he saw was white and black stone on either side. They looked like two titanic hands ready to clasp his car tightly and never let go. If he was a religious man, he would have been praying by now to see that blue neon square with a white gas pump.
He had all but given up hope, figuring he would have to resort to the twin, four-gallon canisters he had in his trunk when he passed a strange, colorful, hard-to-ignore billboard. It had an old Chinese man on it waving at passing vehicles. The background was a bright yellow glow from the four halogen lamps that lit up the sign below. Bright white words next to the waving Chinese man read out: Sang Po's Petroleum. Next Right Turn.