Chapter 1: Leaving a Legacy in Peace
Where would you like me to begin?
Exam day. I always hated it as a kid so I naturally felt sympathy for poor little Speed Racer.
I guess in this flashback…
Rex was supposed to pick up Speed so I began to walk home knowing that Speed's school let out soon. I held my books tightly to my chest as I walked down the sidewalk and my yellow dress flowed behind me. My black hair was tied up with a satin yellow ribbon and I was wearing a pair of black converse with yellow stripes on the side. Then there was the distinct sound of an engine roaring towards me. I gasped and turned around to see the Mach 5 behind me with Rex behind the wheel. He smirked as I leaned in the driver's side.
"I thought you were supposed to be picking up Speed…" I stated curiously. "I am."
"What? We can still make it. Hop in."
"What about when Speed has to get in the car."
"You can just sit in my lap."
"Get in Bambi."
I grumbled about him using my name as I climbed into the Mach 5. Rex and I aren't dating, just to clarify. I have a crush on him and I hope he likes me to but he was more or less my best friend and I really didn't want to ruin it considering that I absolutely adored his family. Then I let out a startled squeal when Mach 4's tires screeched as it took off down the road.
Speed landed on the track with the rest of the racers behind him. He was going fast. Like really fast. I was in the stands with Spritle, Pops, Mom, Chim-Chim, and Trixie. I was also the only one connected to the car besides Sparky who was in the designated pit area or whatever you call it. Even though I hung out with Rex so much before…the accident…I still didn't pick up on the terms unless I was with him.
I was never connected to the public radios because whenever little Speed raced, people always compared him to Rex. You could have two opinions of Rex Racer. A complete cheater and dirty racer…or a legacy among racers and a great friend. I always supported the second one for obvious reasons.
Sparky offered a warning to Speed who mumbled "I got it." Back. He was really out of it today even though he was doing great. That snake guy always found new ways to tick me off.
"I figure he'll slingshot on you at the next turn."
"You better be Speed." That was me…just to clarify. True to his word, Speed was ready when the snake guy did a slingshot and was coming right towards him. The Mach 6 jumped in the air and threw off the course of the Snake Guy's car as it began to tumble and roll until it exploded and Snake Guy was ejected out of the seat in his bubble wrap ball thing. "Watch out for the dog balls coming up. You might wanna ease off the wheel." Duh, Sparky. Speed knows that. "Not this time, Sparky." Or not.
There was a faint whistle from Sparky as Speed actually did the exact opposite of what he should do. He sped up instead of slowing down. The Mach 6 had sparks flying off of her as Speed skimmed the very edges of the bowls. When he got back to his normal driving and I looked at the stopwatch Pops was holding and attempted to muffle a gasp of surprise. "Holy cannoli, Speed. You know who you're racing?"
I saw a ghost that day. I didn't really think that cars had a soul until I met Rex so when he finally convinced me…things were slightly weird for me with cars. I saw the Mach 4. Rex's old racing car ahead of Speed's by only a little. Everything began to solidify as I had another flashback.
Rex's car landed on the platform with the others far behind him. I stood next to Speed as I watched the scene unfold. "Rex is gonna win it, ain't he, Pops?" Pops stopped the stopwatch. "Nobody's gonna catch him. He's gonna win it. He's gonna set the course record. Nobody's gonna stop him." Pops was still looking at the track intently but he responded to Speed's comments anyway. "Quiet. There's still a lot of race to go."
"No way. It's over. Rex is the best racer in the world. Everyone else is running for second, Pops." I guess I had a lot of confidence. "Yeah!" We all looked up at the cars driving above us and I felt slightly proud to know that the one in the lead is my best friend.
Everything went back to normal as Speed's car passed through the Mach 4. There hadn't been such passion and speed in racing since that night eight years ago and I can still remember going to victory lane to congratulate Rex and give him a hug as I ranted on about him getting hurt and how dirty and sweaty he was.
I was surprised that Speed was racing for Rex's record to say the least. "Jeepers, he could do it, Pops. He could really do it." Spritle sounds like little Speed when he watched his big brother race. "What if he does it? What if he does it, Pops?"
"He won't Spritle. Not on purpose anyway." Then Pops made a grunting noise for us to be quiet.Spritle carried on his conversation with Chim-Chim as I stood and watched the rest of the race. I looked over at Trixie and guessed what she was flashing back about.
I was in the garage with Pops and Rex admiring Rex's toned muscles and clearly outlined abs he had through his wife beater. I seriously think I may have been drooling. They were currently working on an engine so I just sat back and enjoyed the show in my yellow jeans and black t-shirt with a yellow nine on the front. Pops gave me a knowing look as he saw me staring and I began to blush. Thank the Lord that Rex didn't see that.
Then I heard a little engine come down the road and turned to see Speed's little munchkin car coming with a little girl on the back. He parked and greeted all of us and continued with his little game picked up from his brother called "Call Bee by her real name all the time until she has a nervous breakdown."
"Don't call me that!" Rex rolled his eyes and the little girl let out a small giggle. "Hey, Speedy." Rex continued to work on the engine. Typical. "Who's your friend, Mini-Racer?" Speed glared at me and introduced the girl as Trixie and told us that she was in his class. She waved and let out a small "Hi." Then Speed took out a package from his car and told Pops that it was from some guy who was a big fan. Then Speed said he was driving a '68 Fendersin and Rex's head shot up so fast he could have gotten whiplash. "Let me see that." Rex snatched the paper box out of Pops' hand and placed his ear to it. His eyes widened and then he grabbed a mop, broke it in half, placed the box in Speed's car, and then positioned the piece of mop so Speed's car wouldn't stop.
Rex grabbed me and pulled me in so I was against his chest and I gasped when the car exploded right before our eyes. "Cool beans." How can an eleven year old handle that so well where as I'm eighteen?
How many of these flashbacks am I going to have today?
It was raining.
At least one more apparently.
I was walking towards the Racer's walkway when Rex stepped out with a bag in his hand. "Rex?" He looked at me with such sadness that I felt like crying. "Where are you going?" He shook his head and continued on down the pathway, head down. "Rex?" He kept walking. "Rex, answer me!" He continued shaking his head and eventually I placed my hand on his chest and he still didn't look up at me. I grabbed his chin and pulled it up to see he was crying. "Rex what's wrong?" He grabbed me so I was hugged against him and he let out a choked sob. His face was buried in my hair as I tried to calm him down but nothing seemed to be working.
He then grabbed me by my shoulders and looked me in the eyes. "In the future…people are gonna say things about me and…god…I hope you don't believe them." Then he paused and looked at me for a long second. His face began to slowly inch towards mine and his eyes fluttered closed as he got close enough to feel my breath on his. Then I closed my eyes as he placed his lips gently on top of mine. It was a sorrowful yet passionate and soft kiss that can never be erased from my memory. He pulled back slightly and I yanked his head down again and soon I could taste the salt in his tears and now mine. Then when I pulled away and had my eyes closed for about fifteen seconds, Rex left. A tear ran down my face as I looked to where he was previously standing.
Rex Racer was gone.
I heard a glass crash onto the ground so I ran into the room and my eyes immediately welled up with tears. I didn't hear any of what the anchor was saying. I just saw what looked to be Rex's new car in flames. After that there was nothing but sadness in the house. It lasted for nearly a year and Speed and I got in a lot of fights in school over the year. Nothing could ever change the fact that Rex Racer was dead.
People said that he was a dirty racer. People said that he cheated the most in every race. However…other people said he would forever be a racing legend. People said that he was one of the greatest men in the history of racing.
I remember what Rex told me before he left every time his legacy was mentioned. I always believed the more positive people in saying that Rex was indeed a genuine hero. That was something that would never change.
When I finally came out of my flashback I saw that Speed didn't beat Rex's record. Everyone was yelling and trying to make sense of why Speed wouldn't take the record. I was one of the proud few who sat there with a smile and a tear trailing down my cheek. We were the ones that knew why.
Speed Racer was leaving Rex Racer's legacy in peace.