This is the story I have been keeping secret until now! It was inspired by a very good friend of mine who is a fan of Doc. This story is just what the title says, his autobiography. That means it is written entirely from his point of view. I have worked very hard to make the chapters long (1000 words or more) and put lots of research into it too. This story will take you through his life from early childhood until death. Now, this story is still very much in progress, I don't even 100% know where I plan on taking each chapter. So, I need to know that there is enough audience response, aka reviews, to continue with the story. Otherwise, I will put my effort into different things. I encourage you to please give it a read and review if you would like to see more! Keep in mind that Cars and all associated characters, names etc are property of Disney Pixar, and the same goes for any mentioned copyrighted names. I make NO profit from this story, it is for entertainment purposes only.
The year was 1944. I had left the childhood of poverty and traded it for the tragedy of war. Lucky for me, ten year-olds couldn't be sent overseas. Not that things were much better on our home ground. All around my Illinois neighborhood hung remnants of the 'dirty thirties'. I could still remember the long days when I'd shared a single can of fuel with my three siblings. At least we had enough for meals now, even if it was strictly rationed.
Our lives were easier on the outside- war generated money, it fed the economy. But there was something unmistakable in my mother's eyes, something no boy ever wishes to see in his mother's eyes.
"Go on now; your sister's waiting on you. And no staying after school today, Doc. I want you straight home," she instructed and swung the door closed.
There I was left, staring at the abraded oak door and the blue and white flag that stood out against it. It was a woven piece of cloth that adorned nearly every house on the street. Ours had three white stars on it, some had five, and others had only one. It was meant to show pride, a star for every family member who had gone off to fight. One for each of my brothers, and one on top for my father. I always said his was the star on top because he was the one who looked after us all, the one who held us together through good and bad. Especially through the bad.
And while those stars were meant to be seen as courage, they were the sickening grief in my mother's eyes. It was the thing I could never wash from my memory.
I backed off the porch and made my way down to the road. As Mama had said, Cindy was anticipating my arrival. Her perky green eyes stood out from her pale yellow body as she anxiously searched my dull gaze. Her pupils were wide with worry, a look I'd seen in her eyes since the day she was born. She'd never lived a care-free day in her life, so she was constantly a timid creature.
"Alright, let's go," I said and set off to lead the way.
She hesitated and whispered, "I don't wanna go today Doc."
"Neither do I, but we have to. Now hurry up," I replied impatiently. I started to drive away but she didn't follow.
""Doc…I think Mama is sick."
I paused, then reversed to face her. "Cindy, Mama is just fine."
"Last night I heard her coughin'. And you seen her this morning Doc, her eyes is all red!" she threw back in argument.
I froze with silence. My sister had never spoken so heatedly, and I couldn't deny her observations.
"Look, I promise we can take good care of her when we get home. You know how mad she'll be if we're late for school though," I scrambled to answer.
Cindy was quiet for a second, then the strength died from her expression and she slowly drove down the road. We continued without words for a few minutes until we passed the Olson house.
"Doc, why did Mrs. Olson take down her war flag?" she asked me innocently.
I stole a glance at the solemn house and was completely dumbstruck. How could I tell her? How could I explain that all the Olson boys were dead? Dead as the dirt beneath my tires. You simply couldn't explain those kinds of things to four year-old girls.
"She probably is washing it," I tried to reason.
"Oh," Cindy nodded and moved her attention back to the road. She knew I was lying, but her delicate heart kept her from pressing for the truth. We were both aware of the primeval condition Mrs. Olson always kept that banner in, but she would never, ever, take it down. Not until the final star was removed from it…
I dragged my eyes away from the house. It had once been bustling and welcoming, but now it was cold with the touch of death. And in the early mornings when the fog draped just right, it made the perfect picture of a widow's sanctuary.
Willy had lived there. Willy Olson had invited my eldest brother over many times for play dates. I'd visited the place on several occasions too. How would my brother feel when he saw this? A place of memories turned hollow with sadness. Then again, that was if he came back.
When we reached the school I tried to empty my thoughts. But even here the effects of war couldn't be escaped. No matter how much I wanted to shelter Cindy from all the awful things in this world, there was no way of shielding her at school.
We spotted Jacob Kadett being pestered and beaten over by the wall, and we both knew why; his last name. Everyone in the student body knew his grandfather was German, and he'd been rejected by multiple teachers for the fact.
We knew it was wrong, Mama had taught us so. Poor Jacob had never done anything wrong to deserve such torture. His mother even made care packages for our soldiers, but she gave them to Mama instead of sending them herself. She didn't want to be scorned.
I tried not to stare at Jacob being tormented and it came as a relief when the school bell sounded.
There were separate entrances for the boys and girls, so I escorted Cindy as close to the girls' door as acceptable. My eyes caught with those of Bonnie Wilson. She watched Cindy join the line-up, then parted from her spot and drove towards me. As she did, I stayed glued to my position.
Bonnie Wilson had to be the prettiest girl in my grade, and the coolest too. She was a sweet purple Chevrolet Coupe with the biggest brown eyes I'd seen on a windshield. They were so perfectly round and in the sunlight small gold flecks would stand out in their rich, warm colour.
Bonnie noticed my gawking and sent me a gentle smile as she drew closer. Her smile was enough to make my day. I didn't know why it was so lovely. Maybe because it meant she was happy. Or maybe because I knew she meant it for me.
"Hey, Doc. My mama is making a nice dinner for my baby brother's birthday tonight. How'd you like to come over?" she asked me in her dainty, well-mannered way.
"You sure I can come?" I stammered after a short pause.
"Well, of course! Mama said I could invite one car…"
I was stunned. "What about Susie?"
"Oh, she's boring! She's only got one set of tires and she don't like to get them dirty," Bonnie said with a roll of her eyes.
"I…I've only got one set of tires too, you know," I admitted sheepishly.
Bonnie gave her airy laugh of amusement. "I know that silly! But you ain't afraid to get 'em dirty are you?"
She grinned again, "Perfect. You got any hide-out building experience?"
"Don't think so," I replied honestly.
"OK. We'll figure it out together. I wanna make one in my backyard. So, what do you say? Want to come?"
I nearly answered her, but I bit my tongue. I thought of Mama and her distress, of Cindy and her petrified eyes.
"No, I'm sorry, Bonnie. I mean, I want to, but I can't tonight, I forgot…," I trailed off nervously.
She looked sad for a second, then her eyes flicked back to their normal. "Oh. Well, perhaps you could drive me home after school?"
"Y-yes!" I stuttered immediately, "Right after school!"
She smiled, "Alright. I better go, bye Doc!"
I noticed how short the line had shrunk to and called my goodbye as I dashed off into the other direction. I couldn't wait for the end of the school day…
Class was never a good time for me. It left too much space for thinking. Which I guessed that was the whole idea, but not when you're thinking was about things besides educational. When the excitement of Bonnie's invitation had worn off, I was distracted by other bothersome thoughts. Mainly ones about Mama, images I couldn't get out of my mind.
After being called on three times in arithmetic, Miss Smith ordered me to her desk at recess break.
"Doc, is there something wrong with you? Are you feeling ill, dear?" she questioned me.
"No ma'am," I responded quietly.
"Doc… is there something going on at home?" she tried in a gentler tone.
I was silent for a long time. Then I told her slowly, "Miss Smith… this morning I saw my Mama crying. And I saw her cryin' last night too. She doesn't know, but I saw her."
Miss Smith sighed, "You know you shouldn't go spying on your mother like that."
"I wasn't ma'am! I went in the kitchen and there she was. I pretended like I didn't see her, but I know that's what she was doin'," I blabbered, on the verge of tears myself.
She nodded, "These are difficult times, Doc. I'm sure your mother is just under a lot of stress. So don't you worry, and be a good boy for her, understand?"
I sniffled and swallowed my fear, "Yes ma'am."
"Now, go back to your spot and finish your work."
I remained in that spot for several more hours. I kept my eyes focused on the clock and tried to remind myself of Miss Smith's words. Suddenly, I heard her call my name in the middle of class.
"Yes, Miss Smith?"
"Doc Hudson, you are to go straight to the principal's office, right now," she ordered in a flat voice.
Had I really been that absent-minded? So much for being a 'good boy'.
All eyes turned to stare at me driving down the aisle and out of class. I heard them whisper about detention and 'the crowbar'. I hoped I wouldn't get either, and my tank shook with a wretched feeling.
When I reached the office they took me in at once. The smoky smelling room only added fear to the atmosphere. Mr. Green was already parked when I came in.
"Doc Hudson?" the big Cadillac said from behind his disproportionately small spectacles.
I piped timidly, "Yes, sir."
"Doc, you are being excused from your afternoon classes. You may go home now."
I looked at him with worry. "I'm sorry I haven't been paying attention, sir. But I have to stay; I have to drive my sister home afterwards."
And Bonnie too… I thought to myself.
Mr. Green frowned slightly. "Did Miss Smith speak to you?"
"Yes, sir, during the first recess."
He paused for a moment, his hard exterior melted and he finally delivered the news, "Doc, your mother has received a letter of despondence. Your father…is dead."
That's it for chapter one! A few notes- "Kadett" comes from "Opel Kadett" which is a German car, Bonnie's name simply is a combo of "Bonnie Hunt" and "Owen Wilson", which any SalQueen shipper would know who those two are ;) And yeah...I think that's all. Remember, if you want to see more then PLEASE review, thank you for reading :)