Hideaway Fall Writing Challenge Day 17

Today’s collage theme caught my eye. Please enjoy my short story that came from it.

***

It was an unusually sunny morning in Chicago. Typical. The sun would make an appearance on the day he was leaving. He had grown up there, knew it like the back of his hand. But it wasn’t for him. It’s not where he saw himself staying. No prospects there for him. He was heading out west. There, he was going to make it big. Make a name for himself. Not in Hollywood though, no, he was not an actor. Music, that was his life and soul. That, and his car. 

A 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air ragtop. Seafoam green they called the colour. It was huge. Long and wide, it had a presence. When he bought it, it was in a bit of a state. A few dings and scratches along its flanks needed beating straight. The engine sounded like it hadn’t seen an oil change in its life. Even less so, a good clean. He put what little money he had after buying it a year ago, into getting it back to better than showroom condition.

She was an absolute beauty. The paint was pristine. Under the sun that seafoam green colour was stunning. And the chrome, it seemed to continue for miles. Every individual piece was stripped off, polished and cleaned like never before and lovingly replaced. He took the wheels off and fully polished them until he could see himself. Then he polished them some more. To finish, he fitted white walls. The car was a work of art. And under the early morning sun in Chicago, it looked like a million dollars.

He dropped the ragtop, making the most of the sun and tossed his belongings on the backbench. Two medium duffle bags represented his entire life to date. He carefully placed his worn guitar on the passenger seat, buckling it in. It was going to be his ticket to success. He hopped in behind the wide steering wheel, pulled the collar of his jacket up against the wind and donned a pair of shades. Turning the key, the big Chevy V8 engine roared to life, growling as it idled. He looked at the house he was leaving behind one last time, shifted to drive and took one last spin through the city he had called home, before joining the road to his future. US Route 66.

~ ~ ~ ~

He was in no hurry. The gorgeous weather made the journey a dream. And the comfort within his car made it a pleasure. The long miles disappeared under the big white-walled tires, as the radio filled his world with music. Elvis Presley. Chuck Berry. Johnny Cash. Buddy Holly. Little Richard. Jerry Lee Lewis. Music had changed a lot. Gone were the clean-cut crooners, replaced by the edgy, sexy strains of rock and roll. It’s what fuelled him. By day he sat behind the wheel of his Bel Air belting out country classics and rock and roll hits from the last couple of decades. By night, he rolled up at the nearest roadside diner or bar. He’d rent a room and pay his way by playing a show for the late-night crowds. Who knows, he might even get noticed. But more importantly, he got to be up on stage, his guitar slung over his shoulder.

With every night he performed, he knew this was the life for him. The audience, the stage, the music. Leaving Chicago he was a little nervous, but every mile he drove his concerns faded. After days of driving, he pulled the car to the dusty shoulder as he approached Lake Havasu. He checked his map. California wasn’t too far off. He’d almost made it to the West Coast. He put his map away, turned on the radio and tuned the dial. He kicked up a rooster tail of dust as he rejoined the road as Johnny Cash sang Ring of Fire from the speakers.

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