It was after the night at the Foxboro Raceway that Moose and I became friends, at times inseparable. I hung out with him and his good friend Dennis who was from the next town over. Moose and Dennis, in my young, inexperienced eyes, were two of the coolest guys on the planet, at least the parts I had visited. I couldn't believe I was hanging with them. We frequented bars and partied our asses off, sometimes until first light. The girls adored them and I became the third wheel, learning the ropes from two of the best. Moose's medium brown hair and blue eyes were in direct contrast to Dennis' jet black hair and dark eyes, but they worked the room incredibly well together, a lot like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It was popular to wear both blue jeans and dungaree jackets and all three of us dressed alike, had moustaches and were all about the same height- 5' 10". We looked like three "Marlboro Men", which was a desirable look, at the time.
It was in December of 1975 that my mother and father decided to sell our house in Sharon, Massachusetts and head south to Miami, Florida, leaving both Moose and I without a forwarding address. I was 19 and Moose was 23. Moose had done some automobile reconditioning and I detailed cars on the side. We decided we'd move to Miami and open up an auto detailing shop. Dennis couldn't go with us, he worked in his family's package store and wasn't able to just up and leave. It was after Moose and I firmed up our plans that Dennis took me aside and said "Listen Vinnie, Moose is my best friend, but I don't trust him and you shouldn't either. Watch yourself-" It was a surprising change of perspective from the usual camaraderie that existed between the three of us, but I realized that Dennis and I had become friends along the way and he was giving me a heads-up and I appreciated his candor and I did not take it lightly...
My mother had to have her chocolate brown, 1972 four-door Gran Torino transported to Miami and we were more than willing to drive it there for her, securing our ride and fuel costs while helping her out. We added two other local kids who needed rides south, Kenny and Robin.
Kenny traveled in Moose's circle, drove a Corvette, had medium length light brown hair, a moustache, and he wore a wide brim bushman's leather hat on occasion and when he did, he reminded me of a more refined version of Dennis Hopper's character Billy in Easy Rider.
Robin was one of the most beautiful girls I had ever seen. She was tall, 5'7" barefoot, with long legs, big brown eyes, and long, straight brown hair. Her nose, mouth, and cheekbones were all perfect. And in addition to being easy on the eyes, she was a free spirit, confident, and spoke openly about everything and anything. Robin was a couple years older than me and I was only able to admire her from a distance, never closer than that.
It was during the second week of January 1976, that Moose and I rented a 5' x 10' enclosed U-Haul trailer from his brother Paul who worked at a local garage. On paper it was a one day, prepaid, local rental even though the trailer was headed to Miami. We knew the paperwork was going to disappear and there would be no way to trace it back to us. The trailer was hooked up to my mother's Gran Torino using the orange U-Haul bumper hitch that was included with the rental. Back in the day bumpers were chromed metal , not painted plastic like today's variety, air bags didn't exist, and hitches were temporarily chained to them, no expensive frame-mounted trailer hitches required. The turn signals were temporarily spliced in too.
First in the trailer and carefully secured, was Moose's 750 Norton Commando. It was gloss black with gold tank graphics, had a short, twisted chrome sissy bar that came to a point, a narrow buckhorn pullback handlebar, a custom Corbin-Gentry two-up leather seat, open exhaust, extended front forks and a hog wheel out back. It was a very unique motorcycle that sounded every bit as good as a Harley. In addition to the motorcycle, Moose brought his bureau, ten speed bicycle and some other belongings he previously had in storage. I brought my bench and 500 lbs. of iron, the kind you pumped. I was big into weight lifting and between the trailer, the motorcycle, the weights, and four passengers, the Gran Torino had to do some serious pulling and its 302 small-block Windsor V8 was more than up to the task.
Kenny was going to his family's winter home in northern Florida and Robin was getting off in North Carolina, where her boyfriend Frank lived. Moose and Kenny were cool, but Frank had to be the luckiest guy on the planet, and that included every square inch of it and parts unknown.
Moose was first behind the wheel. While he drove, Kenny and I sucked down cold beers we kept on ice in a Styrofoam cooler between him and Robin in the back seat, and we indulged in some good Jamaican pot. Moose kept a cold one between his legs and sipped it while he drove and didn't miss his turn on the smoke either. Robin wasn't much of a drinker, but she liked weed and once we were all stoned the conversation amped up and we laughed all the way to North Carolina while listening to the variety of local FM radio stations I tuned in as we logged miles and reception continually faded.
I tried not to be too obvious, but I studied Robin's incredible face while she spoke. It was a treat for me to smell her perfume and breathe the same air as her all the way to North Carolina. I didn't care how long it took; I could have stayed in that car with her for eternity...
To Be Continued...
*All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.