A companion story to "The Black Vette" - you might want to read that one first, if you haven't already.

This is an original work of fiction, that borrows characters and lyrics created by others. I do not own, and make no claim at all, to any of the characters or song snippets in this story. I promise to be nice to them, and to leave them in good shape for the next aspiring author who comes along.

This story is dedicated to "Storyfan101".

THE BLUE VETTE

Chapter 1

The old blue Corvette Stingray convertible sat in the driveway, between the two arguing men.

"No - I take that back!" snapped the younger man. As an ex-pro race driver, Mark McCormick figured he was more than qualified to express an opinion here. "It's NOT a shame! In fact it's worse than that - it's a WASTE!"

Judge Milton Hardcastle lifted his chin, pointed an accusing finger at the younger man, and replied "Waste? WASTE? You wanna know what's a real waste around here?"

McCormick smiled and rolled his eyes, "Here it comes again." he thought to himself.

"What's a real waste around here is all the time YOU spend NOT mowing the lawn, NOT trimming the hedge, NOT weeding the flower beds, NOT cleaning the-"

"That's right," Mark broke in, "Change the subject! Who better at the art of misdirection than someone who spent decades of his life in a courtroom?" He smiled inwardly, that ought to get old 'Hardcase' wound up.

But the retired judge seemed to shrug it off like he always did, and shot back "And I suppose you accomplished more good behind bars at San Quentin, than I did behind the bench?"

"I think all those years behind the bench-" McCormick made a hammering motion by his right ear, "Maybe all those loud gavel-bangs so close to your head, must have affected your brain-"

"There's NOTHING wrong with my mind, I'm just as sharp as ever!"

"Oh yeah? Well I can't think of any other explanation-"

"Since when do I need to explain myself to YOU?-"

"-For letting what you have just sit here and GRACEFULLY GROW OLD!"

The judge's mouth opened briefly, but no sound came out. Mark struck while the iron was hot, "Daytona blue, 1964 Corvette Stingray convertible..." his voice softened a little, and he stepped back to admire the car, "327 V8, 4-speed, man - when I was a kid, this was one of the baddest cars on the road, EVERYBODY wanted one. Forget about Camaro, Mustang, Jaguar... only Ferrari and Porsche were even worthy of mention in the same breath."

"Yeah, I bought it brand new in the fall of '64..." the Judge smiled at the fond memory.

"Hey, back then were YOU the baddest thing behind the bench yet? Or were you still the baddest thing on two wheels in '64?" First a little 'velvet glove', Mark thought to himself...

"Nah, my days as a motorcycle officer were behind me by then..."

"Ah, already starting to slow down, were you?" Followed by some 'iron fist'! Mark could not help but smile.

"What! Look you don't know the first thing about me back then-"

"Well, I sure know what I see now." Hardcastle opened his mouth but McCormick pressed on, "I see a retired old fuddy-duddy of an ex-judge, who keeps this magnificent classic around to remind himself what a hotrod HE was back in the day." Hardcastle lifted an accusing finger but McCormick would not let him get a word in, "I see somebody who USED to be a rebel, who USED to get up every morning and grab the world by the tail, but is now so buttoned down and proper and all 'Sworn To Uphold And Defend The Law', that this magnificent machine is really nothing more than a memory, a bookmark in the old photo album, a shiny trinket that I'll bet hasn't broken the double nickel in years."

McCormick paused to catch his breath. Hardcastle still had his mouth open and finger poised, seemingly about to tell Mark off in spades. But inexplicably, no words came.

Mark pressed on, hardly believing his good luck. "In fact, you have a lot in common with this car," he said in an admiring tone, "You've both been around the block a few times. On the outside you look pretty good for your ages, no broken parts, no visible rust, pass your safety inspections easy..." The judge seemed distracted by the car, "But what about under the hood, deep down, inside the engine? How much carbon and sludge has built up from all that perfectly LEGAL cruising around? Hmmm?"

Hardcastle stared daggers at the younger man, but still seemed somehow unable to find just the right words to tear into McCormick with. So Mark jumped on the chance that might not come again for a long time. "You know, this old blue Vette just sitting here growing old is not JUST a shame and a waste..." he looked Hardcastle straight in the eye, savoring the moment with an almost evil grin, "It's downright CRIMINAL!"

McCormick turned and left.

Hardcastle stood in the driveway, eyes wide, mouth open, one finger still extended. He gazed silently back and forth between the car, and the spot where Mark had stood. He lowered his hand, but it was a long time before he slowly turned and went back inside.