Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD (08/03/17)
TITLE: Better Luck Next Time
By Ken Grant
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"Drivers prepare to race."
The announcement produces both a roar from the small, but vocal crowd and the revving of engines by the competitors. The scene makes Gina's blood race. She lives for moments like this.
The flag flutters and Gina's vehicle shoots off the line and into the first turn. This is a tight racing course. The distances between cars are razor thin and the boys like to play tough; especially with her, the only girl. She feels the power underneath her, the engine is working well so far, but all of her attention is on driving her car and watching out for the crazy actions of the drivers around her. There is nothing like the thrill of racing and Gina can't help but smile.
"I can do this."
Ten laps into a twenty lap race and Gina is in third place. The top two cars are clearly superior to hers, but she knows that can change quickly. In this game, one mistake can cost you dearly and she has trained to keep her focus and composure no matter what happens on the track. The boys sometimes get riled up and she likes to take advantage of that weakness.
An accident at the front sends the top two cars careening into the center of the track and amazingly Gina finds herself in the lead with only four laps to go. She thinks about what winning would mean. She thinks about how the boys would finally have to give her the due they are so reluctant to give her. She looks back to see who is gaining on her. Her car is as good as any that remains in the field. She just needs to keep her wits about her and she is home free.
The sound a racer never wants to hear echoes inside Gina's helmet. She steers slowly off of the race course as her ride loses power and then there is a big bang as she is clipped by an overzealous racer. Her car spins and spins out of control before flipping over and skidding to a stop. Fortunately the race harness leaves her with nothing more than bumps and bruises, but sadly for today her racing hopes are crushed.
"Are you okay?"
"Fine. The harness worked perfectly."
"I'm going to cut you out."
The track attendant cuts her loose and she shimmies out from under her car. She looks at the wreck with sadness. It was a good car. She almost had it.
"Honey. Are you okay?"
Her father surrounds her in a hug. Clearly he is distraught.
"I'm fine, dad. You're crushing me."
Her dad releases his hold. He has that look like the world is about to end. His love for her is very apparent.
"I was so worried."
"The harness worked perfectly, but the car didn't."
"I thought you had them today."
"Today is done. I'm really tired. Tomorrow, though, I'll get back to work. I'll build an even better car and then I'll show them. I'll show them, dad."
"I know you will, honey. I know you will."
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