Race day dawned bright and cool. Perfect weather for sliding a four-wheeler through tight turns and tripling jumps Mark thought as he unloaded his quad from the trailer. When it was safely on the ground, he pulled on his racing gear and went to register.
The official at the table handed him a packet of papers. “Since you’re only sixteen, a parent will have to sign, giving you permission to race,” she said.
Usually Mr. Dan came with him and acted as his guardian, but today his dad had insisted on coming. Mark walked back over to the truck. When he opened the door he saw that the floorboard was already littered with beer cans.
“Dad, you know you can get me disqualified if they catch you drinking,” Mark said.
“Don’t worry son. No one will know. See, I brought a soda can, and I’m going to empty my beer into that. Everyone will think I’m drinking Pepsi.” He smiled crookedly and said, “I came here to watch my son win, so go get ‘em.” Then he lifted the can to his mouth and drained it. “Hey, pour me another beer into this can. I guess I should have brought my glasses. I keep missing the hole.”
“You keep missing because you’re too drunk to see,” Mark mumbled, but he poured the beer for his dad and dropped the can into the floorboard. “I’ll see you after my race,” he said louder. “I parked you here so you can see the track. You won’t even have to get out.”
Mark walked over to the pit area and pulled on his helmet and goggles. Then he sat on his quad, waiting for his first race. He turned when he felt a tap on his shoulder.
Derek was standing just behind him. “Hey, Drunk’s Son. Remember our bet. You win, you get the key back,” said Derek. “You lose, you do whatever I ask.”
Mark cringed at Derek’s nickname for him. His last name was Anderson, but Derek had been calling him Drunk’s Son since the day he lost his first motocross race to Mark in the seventh grade. The name stung because of the truth behind it, but he had learned to ignore the taunts.
“I haven’t forgotten,” he said tightly. “You’ll be handing me a key at the end of this race.”
The announcer called for the riders to move to the pre-staging area. Derek walked over to his quad. “Prepare to become my slave,” he called over to Mark, gunning his engine before he drove over to his starting gate.