Going to Texas

Going to Texas

A Story by Samuel Dickens
"

It's 1927, and Claude heads to Texas to earn big money as a farm hand.

"

August, 1927

Claude was on his second long day of navigating the treacherous roads to Texas. (If one could actually call them roads.)

I'm gettin' pretty good at fixin' flats. It only took forty minutes to fix that last one.

Claude whipped the steering wheel this way and that, avoiding most of the worst potholes and ruts. Nineteen years old and skinny as a rail, the heat didn't bother him much. He could handle that, and hard work, too.

I hope cousin Hollis is right about them payin' big money for pickin' oranges.

Claude smiled, thinking about all the money he was going to make in Texas. A gallon jug of warm water sat beside him on the seat, and he took a big swig.

This water ain't as good as our well water back home in Arkansas. Guess I'll have to get used to things bein' different out here in the west. I hope the girls are friendly. I ain't had a girlfriend since Beulah left me for Carl Hicks. I can't believe she did that, neither, 'cause he's the ugliest guy in Scott County.

Thinking about Beulah made his heart ache, and a little voice inside his head told him, "Write her a letter and ask her to take you back."

"No!" shouted another voice. "From now on, we're playin' hard to get!"

Claude took another swig of water.

Yeah. Hard to get. Them gals had better just start chasin' after me for a change!

Lost in such important thought, he didn't immediately see the steam coming off the  radiator. He needed to pull over and let the engine cool off, but didn't.

Ssssssssss! Chuga-chuga...chug.

A plume of steam spewed into the air and the car rolled helplessly to a stop.

"Shoot!" he hollered. "She's done gone and boiled over!"

Not an uncommon occurrence with Model T's in hot weather, Claude knew there was nothing he could do but wait. After about ten minutes, he removed the radiator cap and poured in some water from his jug.

There, that oughta do it.

Claude adjusted the spark and throttle levers just so, then grabbed hold of the hand crank and gave it a mighty turn. The engine didn't start, so he fiddled with the spark and throttle levers again, then gave the crank another hard turn.

Pop! Chenka-chenka-spewww.

Claude moved the throttle down a quarter of an inch and spark lever up half an inch.

That might work.

Another mighty turn of the hand crank and again--disappointment.

Cotton pickin'! Start, you devil!

Sweat gushed from every pore. His face turned red. With both hands on the handle, he let out a loud grunt and threw everything he had into another turn of the crank.

Pow! Smack!

The engine backfired and his hands slipped off, causing him to somehow punch himself in the face. 

Aaeeeee! Kaiser's dirty nut-sack!

In an uncontrolled fit, Claude stomped about, kicked dirt, and slung his beloved hat (The one he only took off when getting a haircut) into the adjacent field. Exhausted and defeated, he crawled beneath the car; that being the only shade within a mile.

I hate Texas! If this damned thing ever starts, I'm goin' back to Arkansas!

Claude had lain underneath the Model T for a good while when he heard footsteps. Peeping over his right shoulder, he saw what appeared to be female feet, just inches away.

"Are you okay under there?" said the feet's owner.

Claude stuck his head out and looked up at the young woman in a dirty white dress with little blue flowers on it. "Uh, yes ma'am."

"Will your car not start?" she asked.

"No. It boiled over, and now she won't start."

"I'll help you push-start it if you'll give me a ride to Nacogdoches."

Claude crawled from under the car, stood up and took a good look at the girl. She wasn't ugly. In fact, she looked better than most of the girls back in Scott County.

"Alright." he told her. "When it starts, just run up and jump on the runnin' board."

Her eyes got bright, and she said, "Okay, let's get this thang runnin'!"

After retrieving his hat, Claude ran to the driver's door, opened it, put his right hand on the steering wheel and his left on the window frame. "Alright, let's go!" he shouted. Slowly, the Model T began to roll. When enough speed was attained, Claude jumped in and engaged high gear.

Pop-pop! Chuga-chuga-chuga.

It ran, although precariously. Claude nursed it along, trying not to let it die. Speed increased.

Cough--puta-puta-puta-cough!

"C'mon, c'mon!" he pleaded.

The girl's legs flew.  

"It's tryin' to run! We've almost got it!" shouted Claude, as the car picked up more speed. Looking in the rear view mirror, he saw the girl a good fifty feet behind, her legs and arms flying wildly. Faintly, he heard her cry, "Slow down! I can't catch you!"

Grinning, he took Beulah's picture from his shirt pocket and threw it out the window.

She's chasin' me. I think I'm gonna like Texas.


© 2015 Samuel Dickens



Author's Note

Samuel Dickens
Inspired by some of Dad's tales. He made a couple of trips to Texas when he was young, and always talked about how bad the roads were and all the problems with the Model T breaking down.

My Review

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Featured Review

I took a drive to Yuma years ago when my husband had to travel there to work on a car for the company he was working for. The heat was unbearable, and he was quickly beginning to show the signs of heat stroke.

I love how you expressed Claude's frustration over the model T breaking down, which in comparison was pretty much like his relationship with Beulah.
How he threw her picture out of his pocket - and simultaneously, out of his life. The humor and satire were quite enjoyable, and left me feeling a high five for Claude. Perhaps the only thing this really needed was a cold beer!

Cheers, Sam!

Posted 6 Months Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Nancy2Write4You

2 Weeks Ago

Im from texas and i had to peek at your story im glad i did Haha I had fun reading it in a hillbilly.. read more
Samuel Dickens

2 Weeks Ago

Thank you. I'm happy that you and your daughter enjoyed the story. Although I'm from Arkansas, I liv.. read more
Nancy2Write4You

2 Weeks Ago

You welcome and nice I'm sure u have great memories in texas



Reviews

Ha ha ha she really was cute. a girl was really chasin' him. I love your stories they are awesome!

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

As a native texan born and raised I can tell you the roads are still bad and the cars aren't much better either.this is a enjoyable little story to read when you need a smile on your face.well done

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Samuel Dickens

1 Month Ago

Thank you. I lived in south Texas for several years.
Briliant Samuel - you really know how to bring these old stories to life. As always the story just flows along and pulls us in and we forget how good this writing is because you make it look effortless.
Well done once again,
All the best,
Alan


Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Samuel Dickens

2 Months Ago

Thank you, Allan. I'm honoured.
a great story sam,you are a true story teller my friend

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Samuel Dickens

2 Months Ago

Thank you. I'm happy to know you liked it.
Love the Model-T sound effects! Sweet and beautifully-written story of a 1927 in the west. Claude is a likeable and believable young man on a difficult road trip at a significant time of transition in his life. Great effect with protagonist's thoughts written in italics. Cohesive with good continuity between past and present. GreAt read Sam!

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Samuel Dickens

2 Months Ago

Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed it.
Annette Pisano Higley

2 Months Ago

You're very welcome Sam!
I love how as you read through the story you learn perhaps why Claude is heading to Texas and what he's leaving back in Arkansas. Found it really creative how the dialogue in he story is almost 3 dimensional, where you hear laude's inner voices, his talking to himself and interaction with the girl at the end, makes the story even more enjoyable and readable.

Posted 4 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Samuel Dickens

4 Months Ago

Thank you, Guy. I'm pleased that you enjoyed it.
Guy Murphy

4 Months Ago

My pleasure. Great writing
Great Story - The description of early cars took me back to my experience with a 1930 Austin "Chummy that I "restored". The bodywork was pristine but the driving was a nightmare. No starter except for a starting handle that could fly out at you, cable brakes and "candle power" lighting. No chance of it attracting a pretty girl!!!
Writing stories of real people in real situations, as you do, has all the pace and style of the best fiction. Easy to read, uncomplicated and of course, believable. I love reading them.
Norman


Posted 6 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Samuel Dickens

6 Months Ago

Thank you. That Austin was a lot like the Model T, so it seems. Though they weren't exactly "chick m.. read more
Norman223

6 Months Ago

I'll show my 75 year old wife your last sentence. She'll be "over the moon". I'm certainly not gi.. read more
I took a drive to Yuma years ago when my husband had to travel there to work on a car for the company he was working for. The heat was unbearable, and he was quickly beginning to show the signs of heat stroke.

I love how you expressed Claude's frustration over the model T breaking down, which in comparison was pretty much like his relationship with Beulah.
How he threw her picture out of his pocket - and simultaneously, out of his life. The humor and satire were quite enjoyable, and left me feeling a high five for Claude. Perhaps the only thing this really needed was a cold beer!

Cheers, Sam!

Posted 6 Months Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Nancy2Write4You

2 Weeks Ago

Im from texas and i had to peek at your story im glad i did Haha I had fun reading it in a hillbilly.. read more
Samuel Dickens

2 Weeks Ago

Thank you. I'm happy that you and your daughter enjoyed the story. Although I'm from Arkansas, I liv.. read more
Nancy2Write4You

2 Weeks Ago

You welcome and nice I'm sure u have great memories in texas
Now there is a moral to this well told slice of fable. The characters are well drawn and the action flows and does not give up. Unlike the car.

Posted 6 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Samuel Dickens

6 Months Ago

Thanks, Ken. I never got to drive a Model T, but Dad sure had stories about them.
Funny. Just too funny. "Kaiser's dirty nut-sack"? I'm gonna remember that gem next time I'm cuss-driving, for sure. Another good job: use of italics for inner thoughts, grammatically correct quotation marks. I can be a grammar nazi, sometimes and you pass. Moving on....

Posted 6 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Samuel Dickens

6 Months Ago

I pass? Whew! Punctuation is my weak point, for sure. I guess folks have quit cussin' the Kaiser, so.. read more

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Added on June 22, 2014
Last Updated on November 9, 2015

Author

Samuel Dickens
Samuel Dickens

Foot of the Ozarks, AR



About
Greetings, all. I'm a sixty-nine year-old father of three sons who enjoys writing, art, music, motorcycles, cooking, and a few other things. From 1967 to 1988, I served in the US Navy, where I travele.. more..

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