The Legend of The JATO-Powered Rocket Car




Before I go on, I think I should take a minute to explain why this whole story is getting so lengthy. Actually, my wife says I should issue a formal apology for inflicting such a long-winded pile of shit on anyone who reads this. And I halfway agree with her. But I want to make you aware of one thing: I did not plan it this way. When I decided to write down the story of the Rocket Car, I figured it would take all of two pages, maybe three. Four at the outside. That’s because I was working from a set of 20-year-old recollections, and a lot of the details were missing. I didn’t realize that once I started dredging up these old memories, all sorts of bits and pieces would start to fill themselves in, whether I wanted them to or not. Four pages became five, then six, etc. etc. I originally planned to have the whole thing done by the beginning of April, so that it would be ready to go on the 20th anniversary of the first (and last) run of our Rocket Car, but April came and went, and I was still hunting and pecking. So did May, then June.

Nothing I can do about it now.

Besides the miscellaneous details that came flooding back when I started to write this story down, the technical details of the whole project turned out to be more involved than I remembered when I started writing. When I began, I remembered a simple 1-2-3 process that took place over the course of a few weeks, and seemed fairly simple. But as the story progressed, I realized I had to supply a lot more detail than I originally intended, just to keep it from sounding completely stupid. And I’m still not sure I’ve accomplished the not-sounding-stupid part. Even though the project was executed one step at a time, it had a goofy, ill-planned, Li’l Rascals feel to it, and no amount of explaining is going to change that. Because basically it was a Li’l Rascals undertaking. The only thing missing was a sign saying “He-Man Rocket Kar Klub” over a treehouse door. But I’m not going to lie about the facts or try to make the whole thing sound less silly than it actually was. If someone had been hurt or killed, or even we’d been caught trying to run a homemade rocket car through the desert, I’m sure we’d all have ended up in the pokey. Even if a judge were willing to overlook the instances of theft and trespassing and illegal possession of military fireworks, we’d have probably been charged with something, just on general principle. Conspiracy To Commit Flagrant Stupidity, maybe. If Beck had gotten his way, a charge of attempted suicide would’ve been a sure thing.

But nothing like this ever happened.

Having said that, I’d now like to issue a formal apology for inflicting such a long-winded pile of shit on you.

Sorry about that. It won’t happen again.

There you go, Lily. I did it. Happy?

Next: “Location Location Location”

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