Leonis,1:1,2:2 - Lightning Rod - Part II

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Jerry raised an eyebrow as he examined Parker's curious expression. He looked down and traced a finger over the page, pausing to tap a spot on a worn crease right above the spot where Talladega, Alabama should have been.

Parker nearly laughed. "So many things different, so much the same," he thought.

"Somethin' funny, pal?" Don asked.

Parker shook his head. "So, what do you mean by, 'battles'?"

"You know? The battles between Horus and Seth, night to day."

"Ah, gotcha!" Parker remarked in feigned understanding. "And Thothrace?"

"It's a mechanized chariot race that starts a couple of hours before the setting of Ra and ends at the rise of Thoth. When Thoth rises fully and the crimson flag is lowered, the first chariot to cross the finish line will win the Eye of Horus and..."


"...have all the ladies any man could want," Don interrupted with a wink. "Ain't that right, Jerry? Awww yeah!"

Jerry shook his head. "That's all the boy thinks about," the older man said with a sideways grin.

"So, it's like Nascar?" Parker asked without thinking.

"Like what?" Jerry asked.

"Erm, nothing. I meant it's a race, right? During the full moon?"

"Yes, well, up until full moon rise."

Parker thought about things for a moment. "You guys want some help?"

"Help? From you, an Alexandrian? How can you help?" Don asked sarcastically.

"Listen, Don, we've already established several times over I'm not from around here. In fact, I'm completely lost. I can say this, though, I'll have a ride out of here on, um, what day did you say that was? Oh yeah, Osirisday and I'll be on my way and out of your hair. But, until then, I don't have anywhere to go...and I don't have any money or food. If you wouldn't mind just letting me do some stuff around here until then..."

Jerry looked over at Don.

The younger man shrugged. "Whatever...up to you. You're the boss."

Jerry nodded his head and then looked at Parker. "Alright, I'll let you help out, Parker. It isn't goin' to be easy work, you should know that. You'll be hauling off fluid changes and carrying heavy, dirty parts back and forth. You'll sweep up, keep the garage clean, and on the day before Thothrace, I want you to polish Lightning Rod top to bottom!"

Parker grinned and excitedly jutted his hand out for Jerry to take it. "Deal!"

...

Parker watched Jerry and Don put the finishing mechanical touches on Lightning Rod in between doing any of the various tasks Jerry assigned him. He always wondered what it would be like to be on the pit crew of a racing team. Now, he knew...sort of.

Later the next evening, Parker stood away from Lightning Rod, wiping away the sweat from his forehead with the sleeve of his filthy coveralls.

"Excellent work, Parker," Jerry said, patting the young man on the shoulder as he walked in through the open garage door. He examined the glossy surface of the vehicle as it sparkled under the shop lights "I don't think I've ever seen a chariot shine like ol' Lightning Rod's doing right now! Damn, nice job."

"Thanks!" Parker said with a large smile covering his smudged face. "She really cleaned up well, didn't she?"

"Speaking of cleaning up well, Parker...you know you don't have to run off when this is over. I've been talking with Don and he and I both agree you belong here. It's hard to find dependable help these days."

Parker sighed. "That's nice of both of you to say..."

"Uh oh, I hear a 'but' comin' on," Jerry said.

"But," Parker said with a nod. "I am trying to get home and this is my only ride or I'll be stuck here for a while."

"Stuck, huh?"

Parker shook his head. "I don't mean it like that at all. You guys have been nothing but gracious to me...an, erm, Alexandrian. Don't think for a moment I don't appreciate everything ."

"I know. Just consider it, Parker," Jerry said, placing an arm around the young man's shoulders. He pointed up at the near full moon. "Tomorrow night when Thoth is full, if...no, wait, when I drive Lightning Rod over the finish line, me and my team, and that would be you included if you join us, will instantly become famous and wealthy beyond anything you could ever imagine. The sponsors and gold will pour in. Think about all of the celebrity's you'll meet, including the Pharoah himself. He attends each and every chariot race throughout the Egyptian Empire, and this one will be no different. In fact, the Western race is one of his favorites. Please, don't make your decision lightly, Parker. Sleep on it, will you?"

Parker tried, but couldn't sleep much that night.

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