Gr8 Green: Chapter 2: From Ostracized to Earning Respect

Chapter 2: From Ostracized to Earning Respect

Heart of12379719-crop.pngthe Beholden.

Karl and Kathan maintained an age appropriate relationship. When off the homestead they kept their best buddy image intact being cautious so they would not risk anyone seeing something that might reinforce the rumors they were gay. It was only on the homestead that they held hands and sometimes cuddled. Neither felt comfortable enough with their situation to even try a kiss.

However even their cautiousness could not hide the change in their relationship from Dinky. “Boys, I’ve seen a lot during my life. A lot of it hasn’t been pretty. I know there are rumors that you’re gay.”

Karl and Kathan stiffened and exchanged fearful glances. They already knew gays were not welcome in their section of West Virginia and feared their mentoring relationship with Dinky was about to come crashing down.

“If you are gay, that’s your business,” Dinky declared. “I shared foxholes in ‘nam with guys who were gay. They sure as hell weren’t limp wristed flamers! They were tough Marines who thought nothing of killing Charlie. They kept their inclinations private just as you two are trying to do. But like I said, I’ve know men who were gay and I don’t get that vibe from you. But I can see your relationship is a lot more than being best friends. With all the time you spend here, I can tell you’re trying to mask those feelings. People say I’m crazy... in some ways I am... I was warped before I went to ‘nam, being there sure didn’t do anything to straighten me out. That’s why I have a lot of customers but no friends. With you two, it’s different. I can see you’re both a bit like I was before I joined the Marines... warped. If you weren’t I’d never have let you work for me. To be honest I really like you. In fact, I’ve discovered I need you. I didn’t realize how lonely I was until you came here. If you have no objections, I’d be proud if you’d consider me as your wacky uncle.”

Karl and Kathan were pleasantly surprised yet still confused. The speech he just made had so many twists and turns, yet it made sense. Once more they exchanged looks, then smiled.

“We’d be proud to be your slightly cracked nephews Uncle Dinky,” Karl chuckled.

“Good,” Dinky smiled. “Now that we’re family we can fully trust each other. Since you’re not a gay couple, what kind of a couple are you?”

Again the boys exchanged looks of apprehension before nodding their heads.

“We are a couple but we’re not sexually involved,” Kathan stated as he nervously swallowed. “Karl is my boyfriend, but I’m not his boyfriend.”

Dinky frowned at that dichotomy as his mind worked to figure out the puzzle. Then his face lit up in a eureka moment. “Damn! Kathan, you’re one of them unfortunate girls who got born in a boy’s body! In Bankok on R&R I met some of those Katoeys, Ladyboys. They sure looked like and behaved like girls! So if you’re like them it has to be tough! But it sure explains your relationship. Let me be the first to wish both of you the best in your love. As long as no one else is about, you can drop your masks and be your true selves!” Then Dinky chuckled, “I guess I got me a nephew and a niece, huh?”

The duo smiled and nodded before Kathan spoke. “You’re not upset with us?

“Hell no,” Dinky chuckled. “There’s never enough love in the world so I believe when we find love we should do all we can to encourage and support it! But you’re right about keeping your situation hidden from the red-neck bigots in this area. So, do your parents know?”

“My mom and grandma know,” Kathan smiled. “But no one else does and we intend to keep it that way.”

“Your mom and gran are good people,” Dinky nodded. “You’re smart to keep it from your family, Karl.”

“Don’t I know that,” Karl sighed.

With that, the trio set to work on the 58TPC.

Kathan told his mom and grandma that Dinky had figured out their secret and supported them. The women were amazed when they were informed he wanted to be their uncle. The upshot was that Sunday supper at the homestead gained another family member, Uncle Dinky Dow.

Dinky quickly became a part of the family. One of the topics discussed was the muzzleloader hanging above the fireplace mantle. Harriet explained it was a still functional Kentucky rifle handed down in the family since at least 1835. She chuckled to see Dinky’s face when she opened a secret panel to reveal three 12 gauge shotguns, two M1911 .45s, a Winchester Model 1894 lever action 30-30 and a 7.92mm WWII era German Mauser Karabiner 98k sniper rifle. The Karabiner 98k sniper rifle was equipped with the German Zeiss Zielvier 4x (ZF39) telescopic sight yielding an effective range up to 1000 meters.

Quite naturally, the teens were interested in the weaponry. Harriet had a quiet word with Brenda before they all headed outside. The homestead was near the end of the narrow valley where it split into three shorter valleys between ridges of the mountains. A shooting range had been set up behind the barn for as long as Harriet could recall. It was directed into the northern valley fork. While in the Marines, Dinky had qualified as an Expert Marksman with the rifle and pistol, serving as a trainer at the Quantico weapons range for several months before his discharge. Dinky carefully instructed everyone about how to safely handle the weapons. They each practiced turning the safety’s on and off and checking to be sure the chambers were empty. Then they learned how to load and unload the ammunition into the clips and weapons. Only at that point did Dinky allow them to shoot. When they were done he had them police the area.

Over the summer, most Sunday afternoons found them out at the shooting range. The entire family was under Dinky’s watchful eye and firm tutoring. Using the standards he’d learned during his time in the Marines, Dinky realized all four would qualify as expert marksmen with the rifles and pistols.

As summer neared it’s end, the spironolactone was making it’s self known to Kathan’s body. The onslaught of puberty in his twelve year old body ground to a halt. The masculine development that had occurred did not dissipate, but the masculine edges softened.

As the new school year approached two opposite yet mirror image things occurred. The Howard family had a peaceful and enjoyable summer and dreaded Karl returning home. Brenda and Harriet had grown closer to Karl and realized if he returned to his family Kathan would have a rough time. It was Harriet who approached Karen about allowing Karl to stay with them on a permanent basis. Harriet made it clear they were not asking for custody but they would not object if it was offered. As a concerned parent Karen was not happy with the request. But on a more visceral level she knew their family dynamics had reformed since Karl had been away. Reluctantly she admitted their family life without Karl was much better. With guilty misgivings, Karen consented to allowing Karl to stay with Kathan but stopped short of relinquishing parental rights. Harriet insisted that she receive written permission to care for Karl as she saw fit during an emergency and that he remain on the Howard family health insurance. When Karen approached Ken, he readily agreed to Harriet’s terms. Needless to say, Karl and Kathan were delighted to be able to stay together on the homestead.

Eighth grade began right where seventh ended. Kevin had moved on to high school so the quasi protection of a jock big brother was removed. Everyone knew Karl had spent the summer with Kathan which, for them, confirmed they were gay. When they learned Karl was staying over during the school year, even the doubters succumbed to the illicit assumption. After the last of the fallen leaves had been raked up and the last lawn mowed for the season, nearly half of the ‘yard work customers’ bluntly told the boys their services would no longer be needed. The boys merely smiled as they accepted their last payments telling the customers should they change their minds in the spring they knew how to reach Gr8 Green. The loss of customers had little impact since they’d been expecting things to slow down over the winter. Besides, that left more time to work for Uncle Dinky.

Karl and Kathan stuck together, especially in the locker room during phys-ed or in the restrooms. The duo was thoroughly ostracized by their classmates. Unless it was a requirement of a class, no one spoke with the boys. That didn’t stop nasty comments or insults being hurled in their direction. What saved the duo was their attitude and presentation. Kathan’s growth slowed due to the blockers. Instead of sprouting several inches a year, he had grown only an inch during the past year to stand at 5' 8" while weighing a muscular 160 pounds. Puberty had caught up with Karl, he now stood 5' 3" and weighed 109 pounds.

While working during the summer they had improved their stamina and strength. Those who knew Karl recalled how tough he’d been when he had been playing sports. They also recalled just how formidable Kathan had proved to be on the football team the previous year. Even the die hard gay bashers were wise enough not to physically confront the imposing duo. While they thought if they got enough guys together they could take the fags down, none were ready to pay the price Karl and Kathan would exact before being taken down.

In addition, about half the teachers felt disgusted by the close relationship Karl and Kathan exhibited. However, the laws and regulations required the staff accept all students.

Karl and Kathan didn’t let the alienation and hatred of their classmates and townspeople get them down. With a bit more free time the boys studied harder. When the first report cards came out, both had earned straight ‘A’s. That only further antagonized the haters.

Their work on the 58TPC slowly progressed. It was Thanksgiving when they finally had the last of the body parts repaired and primed. Next they tackled the heavy steel box beam frame. The outside was easily sandblasted to bare metal. The difficult part was the inside of the box beam frame. It was quite time consuming. They sand blasted it by inserting a flexible nozzle into the drain holes. A mini camera with light on a flex tube was inserted to located areas that had been missed. In the harder to access areas the sand blasting and visual check had to be repeated numerous times until all surfaces were raw steel. At that point, a degreasing agent was sprayed inside and out to flush out all dirt and grease. The chassis was rolled and turned in all directions to get the debris and fluids out. They finished the massive task just before New Year’s Day. It was allowed to air dry for two weeks. At that point they sprayed the interior and exterior surfaces of the steel box frame with a product called Chassis Saver that sealed and protected the steel from rust by keeping oxygen out. They also used this to prime the normally unseen interior surfaces of the body panels. With the steel body panels, the main body and frame repaired and primed, they stripped the rust and corrosion off the exterior and interior chrome parts as well as the rear end ‘pumpkin’ cover. Particular care was taken with the twin air vents on the upper corners of the windshield. They even removed the windshield and other windows so the metal edges could be re-plated. The massive air cleaner and finned valve covers were sandblasted. Once the rust was removed, they filled any pitting and sanded the outer surfaces smooth before buffing it to a mirror finish. After each piece was prepared, they carefully wrapped it in paper then bubble wrapped it for protection. By the time the school year ended all the pieces had been prepped. They sent them to Tri-State Plating and Polishing in Huntington, WV.

Dinky took the teens deer hunting when the season opened. They all bagged a buck. Dinky had them field dress the carcasses. Dinky and Harriet showed them how to skin and butcher the bucks. The three deer provided a great deal of meat for the family.

As the year progressed the boys decided to create a distinct personal style that was all their own that also reflected their business, Gr8 Green, as well as their environmental concerns. It would also let them continue to grow their hair out, Karl went along to support Kathan as he eased into androgyny. To that end, they combined aspects of Goth and Skater styles making it their own by going green... literally. Every article of clothing they purchased was some shade of green. What they couldn’t find in green, they bought white and dyed it green. By March they decided to dye their hair green. Since neither had a haircut in nearly a year their hair reached their shoulders. Starting on a rainy Sunday they first trimmed their hair to a unisex style, then bleached their hair before applying a bright green dye. The procedure took nearly the entire day even with the help of Brenda and Harriet.

The duo got the reaction they hoped when they showed up for school on Monday. The teachers and administration were beside themselves but the boys were not violating any dress codes. The other students openly verbally harassed them. The duo simply smiled and when the term ‘freaks’ was used they even thanked their abusers. Needless to say there was much consternation.

For the Howard family, the green hair was the last straw in their already estranged relation with Karl. They told Brenda they were willing to sign over all custodial rights if she would adopt their errant son. Needless to say Brenda and Harriet were stunned yet pleased. They had no issues with Karl, in fact, his closeness to Kathan had improved their family life. Brenda accepted the offer and had her lawyer begin the adoption procedure.

Karl was delighted to be rid of his family since they had zero respect for him. At the same time he and Kathan decided that in keeping with their green goth/skater image the adoption procedure could be expanded to allow them to create unique names. This would allow Kathan to give himself a girl’s name while masking it’s full import.

The boys discussed their idea with Brenda and Harriet, declaring their desire to change their last names so they would be the same. At first Brenda objected to Kathan changing his last name. Harriet was intrigued by their idea and asked if they had a last name in mind. The boys smiled and nodded, simultaneously announcing “Green.” The women agreed it seemed an appropriate name considering their style and business.

Then Harriet surprised everyone. “Why don’t we all become ‘Green’s. After all, the last name of Wheeler was that of your criminal ex-husband so changing last names would be a suitable snub to the selfish jackass man. Heck, I wasn’t born a Dobbins but married into the family, now that I’m widowed I really have little reason for keeping the name. Besides, Brenda, if we change our last names it’ll make it easier for the kids.”

They decided to become the Green family. Since the business was Gr8 Green the boys decided to use a similar formula incorporating ‘8' into their new names, Karl selected ‘M8t’ pronounced ‘Matey’. Kathan select K8t pronounced ‘Kay-eight-tee’ or ‘Katie’. Their lawyer filed petitions in the county courthouse to legally change their names. On the petitions they had to indicate the reason for the name change. The boys explained they were ostracized from their schoolmates and much of the populace because: 1. Their dislike of sports. 2. Their across the board ‘A’ grades. 3. Their mutual closeness and affection. They went on to explain about the development of their business Gr8 Green and their green goth/skater image. The name changes were to cut themselves away from their negative past identity while simultaneously cementing their new image/identity as green goth/skaters. The adoption and name changes made it’s way through the county courts and was granted two days before the end of the school year.

With the end of eighth grade, an uneasy status quo had emerged between M8t and K8t and their classmates. The duo maintained their unyielding stance on sports and their straight ‘A’ grades. They participated in their classes but outside that they remained aloof not interacting with their schoolmates. The majority of the students simply had nothing to do with the boys. The haters continued to seeth but for the most part gave up the verbal taunts since the duo totally ignored derisive comments. In reality, the boys hated the way they were being treated but had learned ignoring the verbal bullies was the safest route. M8t now stood a lean and strong 5' 5" and 115 pounds. The testosterone blockers virtually stopped K8t’s growth, still at 5' 8" but having slimmed a bit down to 155 pounds. The duo enjoyed walking hand in hand about the farm and often spent time snuggled together reading or watching TV. They exchanged chaste kisses several times a day. At night they spooned together in the full size bed they shared. They steadfastly avoided sexual contact. If a situation arose, they hastily separated and took matters into their own hands.

Sunday afternoon was still spent on the shooting range. This summer they learned how to load and shoot the muzzle loader. The teens quickly mastered the Kentucky long rifle.

While Gr8 Green’s client list was smaller, those who remained loyal were so pleased with the work most asked them to do more. The end result was the Gr8 Green had just as much work as before but with less travel time. This allowed them to spend more time on the homestead as well as more time working on the 58 TPC .

The remainder of the summer was spent on upgrading the suspension system. The front and rear suspension was rebuilt to give the behemoth a 2 inch higher ground clearance. The brakes and drums were trashed, replaced by front and rear wheel disc brakes modified to fit the 58TPC. The old wheels and used tires were temporarily mounted on the new disk brake axles. At that point they reattached the main body to the frame.

The first major modification was done at that point. They had decided to install side pipes so the normal front to rear exhaust pipes and mufflers set-up would not be used or needed. They estimated that at normal highway speeds, which activated only the center carburetor of the triple deuce set-up, they could expect about 14.5 mpg so the 20.1 gallon fuel tank gave them a usable range of about 270 miles. However, when cranking the engine up to 5500rpms with it’s roaring 400hp, the mileage would be closer to 5-6mpg. To increase the range they decided to add two smaller 5 gallon gas tanks. First they made the tanks. To fill the add-on tanks they added two half inch ID fuel lines to the lower front of the main tank which was mounted behind the rear end under the trunk. Metal fuel lines with short rubber connections to allow movement were routed along the under floor to each new tank. Smaller breather lines from the top of the new tanks were routed to the main gas filler tube behind the licence plate. The new tanks would fill and drain by gravity from and to the main tank. With the new tanks made, portions of the floor under the rear seat were cut out on either side of the drive shaft hump. These openings were sealed closed by open bottom steel boxes above the floor level so they would not interfere with the rear seat yet retain the structural integrity of the floor while maintaining a fluid proof shield. The new tanks were mounted from below into the space created by the boxes. Dinky made sure that in a worse case scenario if the tanks were damaged, any leakage would remain outside the car’s interior. With this addition, the fuel capacity was increased to 30.1 gallons.

The re-plated chrome parts arrived at the end of the summer. They had earned enough money to send the seats out to be upholstered in plush soft forest green leather.

M8t and K8t stunned the entire Scott Senior High School as they began ninth grade. Not only were they again dressed all in green with long green hair, but now their bizarre new names sealed their status as weirdo fagots. Even though most people wanted to ignore them... it was like driving by the scene of an accident... they instantly became objects of interest. Most of the interest was not positive. As they did in middle school, they stuck together and avoided all interactions outside the classroom. Other than participating in classes, the duo isolated themselves with the student body, going so far as to sit in the first seat opposite the driver on their school bus.

The teachers and staff had never faced a student, much less two students, who presented as M8t and K8t did. The duo made sure their clothes and hair style did not violate the school dress code. The fact the boys were outstandingly courteous, polite almost to a fault and outstanding students only added to the consternation. The staff immediately understood why the middle school had strongly recommended the boys have matching schedules.

The haters had a field day with the appearance and names of M8t and K8t. Kevin totally ignored his brother and when asked explained Karl left the family of his own accord and had been adopted by Kathan’s mom. That truth served to stir up the haters. To the credit of the staff and teachers, they made it plain bullying would not be tolerated. The first week several of those who reveled in hating wound up in detention. Those who were familiar with the Gr8 Green guys... in some circles but away from authority ‘guys’ became ‘gays’... as they quickly became known, warned the haters the duo was strong and had amazing stamina and fortitude.

That warning was reinforced during the first phys-ed class when the teacher had the class run five laps around the track. M8t and K8t ran side by side, stride for stride starting on the outside of the track well away from the mass. By the second turn the majority of students were behind them. By the third turn they had taken the lead. By the time they reached the starting point they were fifty feet ahead of the person in third place. They were lapping the stragglers before their second time by the start point. By the end of their third lap they had lapped everyone, some more than once. The class and teacher were stunned that initial grueling pace the duo had set never faltered though the mandatory five laps. Then to everyone’s amazement the duo continued running laps at the blistering pace. As the other students finished their laps they collapsed to the grass panting heavily. When half the class had completed the five laps, the teacher flagged the stragglers off the track as they reached the starting line. They too collapsed by the track. M8t and K8t were the last flagged in having completed nine laps! They were breathing heavily but not panting, they did not collapse but walked about a bit shaking their limbs to loosen the muscles. Word of their amazing physical feat spread through the school like wildfire. The haters were glad they had heeded the warnings not to physically mess with the duo.

As before, K8t and M8t not only completed every class assignment, they Aced them, as they did all quizzes and tests. Needless to say they ruined curves and earned the enmity of their classmates. The Gr8 Green Guys soldiered on appearing oblivious to the snide comments and hateful slurs. Thankfully the duo had mastered mental self-control alongside their physical prowess.

As the 2006-2007 school year advanced, the majority of the students and staff simply ignored the Gr8 Green guys. The only exceptions were when it involved class work. That upset the haters who wanted nothing more than to destroy the defiant fags. While nothing physical happened on school property or the bus, if the haters spotted M8t and K8t outside of school they were considered fair game. The duo suffered attacks as they rode their cart towing bikes to their jobs. Most incidents were moment of opportunity attacks so the worst the suffered was being struck by partially empty beverage containers. However, there were planned assaults against the homestead. None of the assailants came down the long lane but the mailbox out near US 119 became a prime target for mailbox baseball.

Their mailbox was destroyed twice before Uncle Dinky assisted the boys in making a baseball bat defeater. A hole five feet deep and four feet across was dug and a steel pipe with quarter inch thick walls eight inches in diameter was placed upright in the center before the hole and the pipe were filled with concrete. The size of the concrete block was masked by covering it with dirt. Then they made a mail box of welded 1/4" plate steel that fit snugly inside a large normal metal mailbox which they welded to the upright pipe. The upright pipe was painted in alternating bands of pearlescent white and florescent orange to mimic traffic barrels used during road construction.

The next weekend two teens were taken to the local emergency ward. The idiot with the baseball bat leaning out the front side window broke both wrists as the bat shattered. The guy videoing the attack from the rear passenger window nearly lost an eye as the splintered broken bat slammed his face destroying the camera.

The following weekend three guys were rushed to the hospital after their pick-up truck failed to dislodge the mailbox when they tried to run it over. The front end of the truck was demolished and the three guys, who were not wearing their seatbelts, slammed head first through the windshield. The families wanted to sue for putting such a dangerous mailbox next to the road. However, the legal set back was ten feet from the edge of the road. The mailbox in question was twelve feet back and painted white and orange so the lawsuit fizzled before it began. The frustrated haters only grew angrier.

Work on the 58TPC continued. The fenders and doors were reattached to the body and the floor of the trunk and passenger compartment as well as all interior side pieces that faced those had a sound absorbing rubberized primer coating was applied to seal them. Once dry the rubberized primer as well as all exposed metal interior pieces were painted forest green. With the upholstered and chrome plated parts in hand, they began to rebuild the interior. The first thing they did was to install the dash. Next they put in a surround sound car audio system. The head unit was installed within the dash. This unit allowed the driver or front seat passenger to control the audio system. It contained a five CD player and an auxiliary input for MP3 players. The surround sound car audio system featured coaxial speakers, different speakers reproduced different areas of frequency. Tweeters were located just above the dashboard at the four corners approximately at side mirror level. Several high-mid and low-mid speakers were placed in each door panel and in each side panel by the rear seat. Subwoofers were located in the trunk on either side of the electric motor system to raise and lower the center rear window. Dedicated stand-alone amplifiers were installed. One was for the main speakers with another for subwoofers. A crossover unit split the audio into frequency bands, which were then sent to the appropriate type of speaker. The crossover functioned in tandem with amplifiers to send audio signals from the head unit to each speaker type in turn for a complete surround sound system. Soft, plush forest green suede, treated with a waterproofing spray and then conditioned with a leather lotion had been purchased to cover the interior upholstered surfaces. Once the sound system was wired and installed the roof liner was carefully installed. After that came the new forest green floor rug in both the interior and the trunk. The components of the interior sides and dash came next. Finally they installed a customized instrument panel with all new components. The speedometer would register 0 to160mph. The tachometer would register to 9000rpms. Temperature gauges for the coolant, engine oil and transmission fluid were added. A pressure gauge for oil pressure was also installed. The original bulky airconditioner was replaced by a smaller but far more efficient modern model. By the Christmas holiday the upholstered forest green soft plush suede seats were installed.

Dinky had again accompanied the duo as they went deer hunting. This year they all bagged a buck. Later, in the week long muzzle loader season each teen bagged another deer. The deer meat would last the family most of the next year.

K8t enjoyed Christmas. She received girl’s lingerie and nightwear, all in some shade of green.
Wearing her new delicious undies to school would help her feel girly even though dressed androgynously. Since the duo had a locker/changing section to themselves no one would discover her secret. Later during the holiday the pair had their ears pierced and wore studs with fake emeralds. The only difference in their physical relationship was their kisses grew longer and more passionate, often involving a bit of tongue hockey. They continued to stay on first base.

After the start of the new year they separated the transmission from the engine and stripped the tranny, replacing all seals and clutches. With the low mileage the gears showed virtually no sign of wear so they were reused as they reassembling it. Next they tackled the engine, stripping it down. The pistons, rings, and valves were replaced. The three 2 barrel carburetors were stripped and rebuilt. All worn or rusted exterior parts were replaced, the block, heads, intake and exhaust headers were stripped to bare metal before reassembly. Then the massive engine was coated with a heat resistant epoxy forest green paint. Before the re-chromed valve covers and the air cleaner were reinstalled, Karl carefully applied a heat resistant forest green epoxy paint instead of the original red color to highlight the finned valve covers and huge gleaming air cleaner.

At school the haters slowly coerced the majority non-reactive students to boycott the duo. M8t and K8t continued on but the pressure was building. Superglue was forced into the locks on their lockers. Shaving cream was sprayed through the louvers. In March the administration switched the boys to lockers directly opposite the office so any future perpetrators could be seen and caught in the act.

The attacks outside of school continued to escalate in volume and severity. As the duo traveled between job sites, they kept an eye out for trouble. Hung over the handlebars of their bikes were easily accessible shields that could be snatched up and used to fend off thrown objects. They also kept digital cameras handy to snap photos of the attackers. Those pictures along with date, time, location and nature of attack were posted on the Gr8 Green facebook page they had established.
In the worst offences, the police were notified. At first the police did not want to bother persecuting the aggressors but with the evidence in public view they were forced to proceed. Fines and driver’s licence suspensions hit a number of boys. The anger of the student haters boiled over to their parents. They were frustrated when they could find no way to legally or academically stop the supposedly gay duo.

With the coming of spring, peer pressure from the hater adults forced most of Gr8 Green’s customers to end their affiliation. The only two who didn’t drop their services were the farmer that sold their homegrown ‘green’ fruit and veggies and Uncle Dinky. Both refused to be intimidated. A few diehard haters attempted to boycott the roadside stand and Dinky Dow but the quality and prices of both businesses were too good to pass up.

By the time they completed their freshman school year, M8t and K8t had reached the point where they really didn’t care what others felt about them. M8t had grown to 5'8" 150 pounds while K8t was 5' 8 1/2” 150 pounds. Even without taking female hormones, the dirth of testosterone allowed her body to revert to default mode producing low levels of estrogen. K8t was thrilled to have her skin soften and body fat redistribute itself in a slightly feminine manner.

With the end of school she decided to end her charade of being a boy. Using the resources from Susan’s Transgender Pages they located a sympathetic doctor in Ohio. The woman physician was upset that K8t was self-medicating androgens but understood her desperation to stop and reverse male puberty. As the doctor did the bloodwork she was pleased that K8t had been telling her the truth that they had researched the matter and she was taking the lowest effective dose of spironolactone. There was no need to alter the spironolactone dosage. She also took K8t’s stated desire to begin HRT seriously. To keep K8t safe from the danger of further self-medication she decided to place her on a low dose HTR program. M8t trimmed his hair to keep it shoulder length while K8t’s hair now extended past her shoulders. While they had worn their hair in low boy-style ponytails, she now began creating her’s at the top of her head like a typical girl. Still wearing jeans and shorts, she moved away from androgyny to girlish. In an effort to break from her boy past, she even bought a few ankle length skirts to wear on Sundays. M8t was delighted to have his girlfriend looking the part. Their relationship progressed to 2nd base but remained above the waist.

Dinky had no issues with K8t’s presentation and when the farmer questioned her, she simply explained she was transgendered. While he didn’t understand, he knew from past experience it would take at least six well supervised teens to do the work K8t and M8t accomplished with minimal instruction and oversight.

The energetic duo completed the complete rebuild of the monster 430 ci (7.0 L) Maurder engine installing new water pump, thermostat, fuel pump, spark plugs, distributer, as well as all wiring, fuel and oil lines and coolant hoses. A dual tank master brake reservoir was installed on the firewall to replace the original single bowl unit before they put the reinstalled the engine/tranny. With that task completed they connected the transmission to the engine block, then placed the powerful set-up in the refurbished body. The front and rear bumper mounts and the grill were put on the body. The massive bumpers and much of the chrome trim was left off until the body was painted.

As ususal Sunday afternoons were spent on the shooting range. This year Dinky brought a few of his weapons. One was a M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle, or as it was known, a BAR. The 30.06 rifle was considered a light machine gun, limited only by the small 20 round clip. Still, the weapon could lay down a withering fire. Introduced in September 1918 it saw a small bit of action in the trenches of France. During WWII, Korea, and Vietnam the weapon became an intergral part of the rifle squads. The other was a fully automatic AR15 rifle.

With the approach of the end of the summer K8t was in full girl mode. With the cooperation of her doctor and lawyer she had legal documentation of her transgender status and approval to begin her RLT. Two weeks before the start of their sophomore year Brenda and K8t, along with Harriet and M8t, met with the high school administration.

Needless to say the school administration was stunned. They had absolutely no experience in handling transgendered students. After the obvious unrest the previous year when K8t and M8t had been labeled fags, this latest revelation could very well explode in violence. The current West Virginia state board of education mandated everyone had a right to be educated in a public school. Part of that was protection against bullying. However, the rules did not mention LGBT safety issues. The school had to do what they could to protect K8t and meet her educational needs. They decided she would use the handicap restrooms but finding a way to accommodate K8t in girls Phys-ed seemed insurmountable. They breathed a sigh of relief when K8t agreed to continue in boys PE with the understanding she and M8t would use the smaller sports team locker room. As could be expected word of her transition spread like wildfire throughout the area.

By the end of summer M8t and K8t had grown to 5'10", he weighed 180 while she weighed 150. With the help of her mom and grandmom, K8t put together a modest girl’s wardrobe befitting an emerging tomboy. Keeping with their established green goth/skater image she wore green khakis, a green long sleeved hoodie and green leather flats. Her green hair featured angled bangs and a center part with each side gathered into perky twin ponytails. Green eyeshadow, lipstick, and nail polish enhanced her feminine appearance. Everything K8t wore was clearly girls’ wear. M8t wore similar green clothes from the boys’ racks. Simply by looking at the duo, you could see that even though they were wearing the same style clothes, M8t was a boy while K8t was a girl.

August 26, 2007, the Sunday before the start of the new school year, the Green family was nervously psyching themselves up to face the circus they expected the first day of school to be. On the evening news they saw a news report that stunned them. On Maryland’s Eastern Shore, a 13 year old transgirl had been shot as she killed an escaped prisoner who had murdered 3 men! Not only that, the transgirl had a boyfriend who knew she was trans and the boy’s mom was okay with it! Unfortunately the boys dad wasn’t... he was the escaped prisoner who had killed three men while escaping so he could ‘fix’ the fag who had hypnotized his son. The man had hidden in the back of their SUV after church and kidnaped them. When the boy started to object the dad pistol whipped him. The mom became too distraught to drive so the transgirl who had learned to drive on a farm took over. When a tractor-trailer was about to pass them she swerved in front of it causing a major crash and the SUV tumbled down the road ending up on it’s roof. The news report showed the mangled SUV as the reporter told them after the horrific crash the transgirl crawled into the back to disarm the stunned murder but he managed to fire his pistol wounding the girl. During the struggle in the smashed back of the SUV she managed to grab the broken rear window wiper and jammed it through the eye of the guy driving it into his brain killing him. Even though wounded twice, the transgirl released the mother and son from their seatbelts. Since they were upside down she even lowered them to the floor before passing them through the shattered windows to rescuers before she crawled out. After identifying everyone she passed out from blood loss. The brave transgirl was unconscious in the hospital. She was identified as Krista Scott. (See “A Summer’s Odyssey”

K8t was crying when the report ended. “Oh God, I hope she makes it,” she sniffled as M8t hugged her. “I just hope I can be as brave as she was if things get that bad tomorrow.”

“They won’t get that bad,” Brenda reassured her daughter. “It won’t be a picnic, but it certainly won’t be that bad! Look at the positive side. Her family obviously knows she’s trans and supports her and she has a boyfriend, just like you. We’ll do this, sweetie, we’ll do this.”

The normally raucous students already on the bus the first day fell silent as M8t and K8t climbed aboard and took their usual front seat. Like everyone else they had heard K8t had come out as TG but they were stunned by her appearance. While not a super pretty girl, she certainly didn’t look like a guy in drag. The lack of testosterone had stopped male puberty in it’s tracks years before, a month of estrogen had softened her body even more foreshadowing the budding effects of female puberty. A few attempted to harass the duo but the driver promptly pulled over, parked and stood in the aisle to glare at the antagonists.

“I will NOT allow anyone on this bus to tease or bully another passenger,” he hotly declared as his fiery eyes swept the by then cowering students. “If anyone has a problem with that, you’re welcome to step off the bus NOW and walk to school.”

The students shrank into their seats and lowered their heads. Although the driver was new to the job everyone knew him. They had heard too many stories about the crazy old man to not heed his warning. The rest of the trip was made in relative silence as the students quietly murmured but stilled their normal raucous voices.

Picketers and bible thumpers crowded the sidewalks of the school as the bus pulled into the discharge area. There were several police cruisers present as well as extra school staff on hand in an attempt to keep peace. The WSAZ Channel 3 news van was also there with the cameras rolling. It was quite apparent the protestors knew which bus K8t was riding as there was a surge towards it as it came to stop. The surging crowd lost a bit of it’s bluster and stepped back a bit as the students hurriedly began to file off. They wanted to put distance between themselves and the driver as well as M8t and K8t. As usual, M8t and K8t had waited until everyone had disembarked before they followed. M8t exited first and stood looking defiantly at the crowd. Calls of ‘FREAK’ and “DEVILS SPAWN’ sang out.

With a smirk on his face, M8t crossed his left arm behind his back at the waist and with the raised right twirled his hand as he flamboyantly bowed while keeping his steely gaze on the crowd. The act had the desired effect in that it infuriated the protestors who began yelling and cursing as they surged forward a bit. The much jostled school staff and police barely managed to keep the crowd at bay.

M8t turned to the bus and placed one foot on the lowest step as he gallantly reached in to take the hand of his lady. K8t placed her hand in his and allowed herself to be assisted down the steps. Upon reaching the bottom step, she smiled at the crowd and blew them a kiss. The hostile crowd lost it at that and surged forward through the beleaguered staff and police.

K8t lost no time in stepping back into the bus and M8t quickly joined her. The bus driver promptly closed the folding doors a mere second before the crowd reached them. They swirled about the bus pounding on the door, sides, and windows as the school staff and police were swamped by the human tidal wave. The school staff and police slipped to the edge of the crowd to reorganize. Meanwhile the driver calmly picked up an old steel tire iron that he had stored by the seat. With a nod of his head he motioned M8t to the drivers seat as he stood at the top of the steps brandishing the tire iron. The eyes of those pushing against the door went wide with fear when they saw the crusty crazy old man with the tire iron and promptly pushed away. With space cleared, M8t opened the door and the driver stepped out to face the crowd.

The shouts and protests of the crowd petered out as they noticed the wild-eyed bus driver. Everyone knew him... and feared his anger.

“I spent almost four months on a hill top outside of Khe Sanh back in ‘68,” Dinky Dow loudly growled as he menacingly waved the tire iron. “Along with my fellow Marines I faced down thousands of NVA 24/7. So the likes of you piss ants don’t scare me none! Now these younguns behind me are the hardest working, most honest teens in this entire damn state! Just because they don’t fit into your idea of what teenagers should be you so-called good citizens want to crucify them! Just remember this... the people that killed Jesus Christ thought they were GOOD CITIZENS just like you folk! They didn’t like the way OUR Lord and Savior behaved just like YOU don’t like the way M8t and K8t behave. Just remember what Jesus said to the crowd that wanted to stone that woman... let he who is without sin cast the first stone!”

Dinky stood firm and glared across the crowd. Most were already stumbling back, many with heads hung low. A few die-heart bible-thumpers held their ground so Dinky spoke again. “You self-righteous hypocrites,” he sneered. “I grew up here! I know each and every one of you damn bible-thumpers pulled a lot of dumb shit when you were teenagers! Back in the day YOU were rebelling against the status quo! Now you’re part of the status quo! Back then you wouldn’t listen to anyone in authority! You got high on pot protesting the war I fought! Hell, I have no doubt some of you still smoke the wacky weed... not to mention guzzling beer and moonshine! I’ve had the privilege of knowing these two for two years. They worked for quite a few of you too before you let peer pressure make you fire them! They NEVER overcharged and their work was always top rate. They do not curse, drink, or smoke anything. Hell, they’re both straight ‘A’ students with perfect attendance for the last three years! M8t and K8t want to work and want to learn. I challenge you to find another two teens in this school who can work as hard and long and as efficiently as these two while maintaining straight ‘A’s! You can’t do it... so go the hell home and let them learn!”

Even the die-hard protestors couldn’t refute Dinky. With their tails between their legs the dejected mumbling crowd slowly dispersed. The school staff and police were shocked by Dinky’s bold confrontation and yet pleased with the outcome. The TV crew filmed the entire episode and it made the national news. Over the next few weeks Dinky Dow became a bit of a folk hero for the LGBTQ crowd. Meanwhile, M8t and K8t began their sophomore school year. Much like the previous year, they were ignored by the other students but the vitriol lessened.

After the first full week of school Brenda took K8t and M8t to the Logan office of the West Virginia DMV, the nearest to their home. She had all the legal documents for the name changes, the gender change and adoption. While the clerk who waited on them was clearly upset by the green haired gender bending duo all the paperwork was in order for both 15 year olds to get their Level I drivers instruction permit. WV allows 15 year olds to operate a motor vehicle in order to learn to drive. The requirements are to take a written knowledge test, be between the ages of 15 years old and less than 18 years old, a parent or legal guardian must sign the application before testing, and have a current school eligibility form. The teens were elated to have their permits. They profusely thanked Dinky as he had been instrumental in convincing Brenda and Harriet to allow K8t and M8t to get the permits. Dinky, Brenda, and Harriet made sure they learned how to drive defensively.

At least once a week K8t searched for news about Krista Scott and was delighted to learn that although she’d been unconscious for three days she did recover and had even started school. She was one spunky girl! K8t hoped she would be the same. They set up a notification flag on the internet to let them know if Krista made any further news.

At the end of September, Krista made the news again by rallying the cheerleaders from a Pop Warner football team to cheer for a comatose girl she’d been instrumental in rescuing from a corrupt nursing home. The girl had been brutally raped, her mom killed the rapist who had been released, and the girl’s two sisters went into foster care. Krista had mobilized the effort to find the girl and reunite the family. K8t couldn’t get the song “Mickey” out of her head. She really liked Krista and hoped some day to meet her.

At the end of September K8t brought up an issue which, for her, was becoming increasingly more important. So far her life as a female had been that of a tomboy. But since the school year began the mild doses of estrogen were having the desired effect. She had progressed from shattered male puberty testosterone denied flat chest to perky ‘A’ breasts. While firmly in her RLT, the life she lived was that of a tomboy, especially considering the work on the farm and with Dinky. As her female form blossomed she began to wear sports bras. So far she had no dresses and only a handful of skirts which she wore only on Sunday. Even though they didn’t socially talk or interact with the their fellow students, the hot topic amongst the girls was the upcoming Christmas dance. It was the first formal dance of the year and K8t felt almost compelled to attend.

M8t had no objections to escorting K8t although he did not relish the idea of dressing in a tux. For her part K8t was uncertain about wearing a formal gown. Both decided to see if they could devise a style that would be true to them and yet meet the expectations of formal attire. It was while working on the 58TPC that inspiration struck. K8t was still delighted with the forest green soft plush suede upholstery. She realized that with the assistance of her mom and grandmom they could get dress and tux patterns and make their Christmas dance outfits from forest green suede.

The leather supplier eagerly sold enough suede to make the outfits. Brenda and Harriet just as eagerly taught K8t and M8t how to lay out the patterns, cut the leather, and sew it together. M8t also embossed ying-yang globes to symbolize their environmental interests. They worked on the outfits every Sunday and in the few spare hours they had during the week.

Work in school and for the farmer continued unabated, but working with Dinky took up most of their non-school time. In between working on customer vehicles and rebuilds of salvaged wrecks they worked on the 58 TPC. The new radiator and heater core were installed and all hoses connected and pressure tested. After that they installed all the glass, not an easy task with the extreme curvature of the windshield and smaller side sections of the rear window. Next they installed the central electric rear window. Then came the trunk lid and front hinged hood. At that point they began mechanically tweaking the previously repaired individual body parts to assure the assembled whole had smooth and flowing body lines. This included adding fiberglass body filler to even out rough joints. Then they gently wet sanded the primer from the exterior of the entire body assembly, ending with 600 grit papaer. After that they taped off the windows and any other pieces they didn’t want painted. They completed the task the on Friday, December 14, a week before the start of the Christmas holiday from school.

The only time off they’d had was during the hunting season. Brenda and Harriet joined them and the five each bagged a buck while the teens took down a doe each during the muzzle loader season. They had enough meat to last the next year.

That next week was a hectic one for the Greens. K8t’s dress and M8t’s tux were together but had to be final fitted and tweaked. On the 16th after their normal Sunday family dinner, Dinky and Harriet led the teens into the parlor. Brenda had a selection of records and CDs ready as the adults taught K8t and M8t how to dance, something neither had ever done before. The initial awkwardness wore off as Harriet and Dinky first demonstrated a dance, then Dinky partnered with K8t while Harriet worked with M8t before the teens danced together. Dinky and Harriet danced well... a bit too well. Brenda, K8t and M8t noticed the older pair were creating sparks. By the time the evening ended, the teens had the basics for slow or fast dancing under their belts.

Dinky knew how important the event was to his niece and nephew so he forbid them to even stop at his garage for that week. In fact, he came to the house every night for supper and to coach them in dancing between working on their outfits. The duo worked diligently on the outfits and practicing how to dance. While the teens sewed under Brenda’s watchful eye, Dinky and Harriet spent some time getting to know each other a bit better.

Even though M8t and K8t kept to themselves in school, they could not help but to see their classmates excitement as the Friday night dance approached. They too felt the excitement but were able to use their normal stoic attitudes to mask it from the others. When school let out on Friday, all the girls rushed home to begin getting ready for the big dance. The guys used their machismo to mask their anxiety about taking a girl to the dance. They knew from past failures of other guys they had to be attentive to their date, avoid crude language and behavior, and to not embarrass themselves on the dance floor.

M8t and K8t knew their arrival and entrance at the dance would be totally unexpected and upset the status quo. To keep with their unique green goth/skater image, they asked Dinky to be their limo driver... in the wrecker! That alone was guaranteed to raise eyebrows.

So it was that at 7:30pm Dinky pulled into the line of limos and parent taxis that were delivering students to the dance. The old wrecker attracted everyone’s attention. Most wondered what Dinky was doing in line until they saw two passengers seated beside him. Immediately speculation erupted amongst the students as to who might be using Dinky’s wrecker as a limo. The only logical answer seemed to be M8t and K8t but they felt certain the outcasts would never attend the dance. It was a good thing it was winter or the flies would have had a field day entering the multitude of gaping maws when the pair exited the wrecker.

The forest green suede leather seemed fluid as it flowed with their movements. In the brighter light the embossed details on the matching gown and tux were impressive. The murmur of surprised amazement swelled throughout those attending only to drop to shocked silence as the duo gracefully strolled by into the dance. The murmuring instantly swelled again once the passed.

Both still had their by then signature green hair, only now styled appropriately for the gender they were presenting. M8t looked quite handsome in the well tailored forest green suede tuxedo. It showed his buff body to perfection. But what really grabbed everyone’s attention was the pretty girl on his arm. K8t’s figure was blossoming and the dress showed off her budding curves to perfection. The luxurious forest green suede was tailored to hug her curves with a shirttail hem for a contemporary silhouette. Sleeveless with a split neckline and a pleated back, the shirttail hem hit at mid-thigh The look was complimented by unbelievably soft form hugging forest green suede leggings topped off by matching ankle boots. Once inside they found an unoccupied table next to where the chaperones sat. No one else wanted to be under the scrutiny of the adults. M8t gallantly fetched drinks and snacks as everyone seemed to be focusing on the unique couple. That they had shown up for the dance at all surprised most. That they looked so sharp just blew them away.

For the first two hours of the three hour dance M8t and K8t followed their pre-agreed routine. They danced three songs and sat out one song. That they danced at all surprised their fellow students. That they danced so well to the wide variety of music only added to the general consternation. At the end of the second hour of the dance a group of three girls approached their table as they were sitting out the dance.

“K8t, M8t, we’d like to apologize for the way we’ve been treating you,” one of the girls sincerely stated. “We’re ashamed to admit we allowed our judgement to be influenced by bigots and haters. If you can find it in your hearts to forgive us, we’d like to be your friends.”

“We never condemned you or anyone else for how we’ve been treated,” K8t replied with a smile. “Everyone is entitled to their opinion so even if that opinion was negative we merely respectably disagreed. We never lashed out or even fought back at those who actively hated us. We simply lived our lives to the best of our abilities. As far as we’re concerned, there is no reason to forgive you since we took no offense. However, if it makes a difference to you, we most certainly forgive you. Please, sit down.”

The three girls smiled as they took seats. Obviously reluctant, their dates hesitantly joined them. The conversation quickly turned gossipy as the four girls began to discuss their gowns. The girls revealed nearly everyone was impressed by their coordinated outfits. When they learned the duo designed and made them, they were truly astounded. While the girls chattered, M8t smiled at the guys and shrugged his shoulders. Soon he was telling the boys about the 58 TPC. They listened in near disbelief as he explained the history of the car and their efforts to rebuild it.

The three couples were not close to the top of the school pecking order. They were what could best be described as geeks and geekettes. They were intelligent and open minded but had succumbed to the prevalent peer pressure of the bigoted uber cliques. The fact that M8t and K8t had never wavered from being their true selves had impressed them and made then feel guilty for their submission to the peer pressure. The brave appearance by the outcast duo in their unique gown and tux coupled with their obvious dancing skills and their equally obvious love had enabled the three couples to break free of the peer pressure.

The four couples were surprised when the last dance was announced. All four were quickly dancing. As the last notes of the song faded, many students headed to M8t and K8t to compliment them for attending, their outfits, and their bravery in enduring the bigotry while apologizing for their silent acquiescence. Even big brother Kevin, now a senior, came over with his date and shook M8t’s hand. The haters realized they were now in the minority and that M8t and K8t had emerged from the three plus years of ostracization without a dent in their moral armor.

When Dinky picked the happy couple up in the wrecker he was pleased to note the many students saying goodnight to M8t and K8t. The duo explained what had happened during the dance. Both were clearly relieved that the ordeal of being shunned was over.

The next day M8t and K8t arrived at Dinky’s garage for a momentous occasion.
Dinky fired up the Mercury Maurader. The sound of the unmuffled engine reverberated throughout the building. Carefully Dinky drove the car into the paint bay. It was the first time the 58TPC moved under it’d own power in 43 years. During the holiday break M8t and K8t were going to paint the 58TPC. Since his rebuilt vehicles were always done with top of the line parts Dinky did the same with paint by using primer and paint from House of Kolor. Again under Dinky’s watchful eye the anxious duo applied an even coat of KD3000, a 2 part epoxy primer/sealer. Its tenacious adhesion, hi-build, excellent durability, and water and corrosion resistance made it a superior choice for the base of a long lasting custom paint job. The car was baked overnight to set the primer. The base coat was applied the next day using Shimrin Glamour Metalic #BC09 Planet Green with coarse metal flakes. Again the paint job was baked overnight. On each of the next five days they added a coat of clear primer, baking each overnight. By the time they had the last clear coat baked dry, it was New Years day, 2008.

When they returned to school after the holiday, M8t and K8t were greeted by many of their classmates. The jocks, cheerleaders, self-righteous Christians and bigots were clearly seething that their hate campaign had disintegrated. But the dam of hate had been broken and would not be rebuilt. The fact that M8t and K8t did not flaunt their victory only served to bring the fearful sheep into acceptance of the duo. The school slowly returned to normal.

Over the next month came the tedious work on the 58TPC to make the paint job pop. They began the wet sanding with 400 grit, redoing it with 600, then 800, then 1000, 1500, and finally 2000. The 2000 grit felt like construction paper and was tough to finish. However, Dinky had explained that the more time spent sanding, the better the finished product will be. After sanding the clear coat to a smooth consistent sheen at 2000 grit, they used a rubbing compound and a buffer to achieve a mirror-like shine. The green metal flake finish looked a mile deep.

At school M8t and K8t were openly recognized as the smartest in their class, possibly the entire school. That they had maintained a 4.0 average during their time of ostracization impressed everyone. Now that they were accepted, many students turned to them for help and tutoring. M8t and K8t never turned anyone down who asked for help. Even the jocks begrudgingly accepted the duo as they willingly tutored the jocks who needed assistance.

During February work on the 58TPC continued as they installed the rocket like rear parking/brake/back up lights, then the side marker lights at the rear roof supports. After that they installed the small chrome turn signal indicators on the top of the front fenders. The front parking/turn signals and twin headlights completed the front end lights. The last lights to be installed were the chrome side view mirror/spot-lights combos. Then they installed the air inlets at the top corners of the front windshield followed by the rest of the chrome body trim. The last pieces were the heaviest, the massive front and rear bumpers. At 12" high and made of 3/16" steel they were impressive as well as heavy.

In March they installed 2 1/2" dual headers to the exhaust manifolds to route the exhaust into chrome side-pipes. The sound that resulted was a deep, powerful reverberating twin rumble. Also on the agenda was upgrading the wheels/tires from the original 8 inch wide and 28.4 inches high 8.00-14 to 15 inch Chrome Mags with 235/75 R15 radial tires, 9.25inchs wide and 28.9 inches high.

One last modification to the 58TPC was to mount a class three hitch beneath the rear bumper. Using the rear ten feet of the frame from a demolished pickup, they removed the main gears from the rear end so the axles could free wheel. Then they added another V shaped section of frame to the front to make it into a trailer and four feet extensions to the back of the frame. Using 2x6 pressure treated lumber they mounted a deck atop the frame, placing sections of tire tread as spacers between the deck and frame as they bolted it together. Side rails were added made of 4x6 pressure treated lumber with three foot high railing with angle iron uprights two feet apart. The deck was cut out for the tires and covers were mounted over the tires. With angle iron they added a three feet high doubled fold down tailgate that doubled as a ramp six feet long. The usable interior space was 14'x 6'. They could haul their yard work equipment on the trailer.

On Saturday, April 12, M8t’s 16th birthday, the rebuilt 58TPC made it’s first road trip. M8t drove while Dinky sat beside him. In the rear seat sat Harriet, K8t, and Brenda. As they headed towards Charleston the behemoth turned nearly every head as they passed. The first stop was to be in Kanawha City at the WVDOT testing facility so M8t could take his Level II driver’s exam. M8t had met all the requirements, he was 16, held a Level I permit for 6 months, had no infractions, and had completed the 50 hour certification form including 10 hours of night driving. The Level II license would expire on his 18th Birthday with a 30 Day Grace Period.

Needless to say the rumbling green metal flake behemoth drew a crowd as they pulled in 20 minutes before opening. Dinky, Harriet, and K8t stayed with the 58TPC to field questions while Brenda and M8t went inside to register. The driving instructor was stunned to see the car when he came out to give M8t the road test. The powerful low rumble of the dual side pipes gave a hint of the raw power under the hood. M8t passed the drivers exam with flying colors. No longer did he need an adult in the car when he drove between the hours of 5am until 10pm. The law required a supervising adult driver between the hours of 10pm and 5am except when he was participating in or returning from employment, a school sanctioned activity or a religious activity.

Once more the 58TPC drew attention as they traveled to Milton. They arrived at Mountain Thunder Performance at 1 pm to have the car dyno-tuned and tested. Needless to say the staff was impressed to have a chance to work with the first stock engine to be rated at 400hp. Dinky had done such a good job only a wee bit of adjusting had to be done. Everyone was amazed when the final results were posted. The rebuilt 1958 Super Maurder 430ci engine dyno’d at 430hp @ 5500 rpm. The rebuild and new exhaust had significantly upped the power. K8t dubbed the 58 TPC as The Mean Green Machine.

Monday morning the 58 TPC created quite a stir when M8t and K8t arrived at school. The shiny green metal flake paint by itself was eye-catching, but on a behemoth like the Turnpike Cruiser with it’s gut stirring powerful rumbling it seemed irresistible. Even students with no interest in powerful cars were drawn to take a gander. Since their re-immersion in the student body nearly every one had heard that the duo was rebuilding an old car. None had imagined the immense, powerful beast they proudly spoke about could be real. Most assumed it was an owner’s self hype speaking. Now the truth was revealed. The motorheads were stunned when they saw the by then framed results of the dyno test. None had ever heard of a 430ci stock engine that put out 400hp, but when M8t popped the hood they were left in awe of the massive engine with it’s three 2-barrel carbs under the big chrome aircleaner. Even the few remaining haters came over to jealously look at The Big Green Machine.

The growing positive opinion of the student body and staff of the school concerning M8t and K8t swelled as they realized the duo had been speaking the unmitigated truth instead of bragging that they torn down and rebuilt the powerful behemoth. After school, the 58TPC was again mobbed by students as well as several teachers as they checked out the car. Upon checking the interior, one girl squealed with delight as she pointed out the suede interior was the same as their outfits for the Christmas dance. Girls who had held back quickly rushed over to check out the luxurious interior.

That evening Gr8 Green received several calls from former customers apologizing for their past bigotry and asking to once more become customers. M8t and K8t took most back on. To the few they couldn’t they explained they were booked solid.

With the advent of warmer weather Sunday afternoon target practice again became a weekly activity for the family. They quickly regained their marksmanship.

On May 23, K8t drove the 58TPC with Dinky in the front passenger seat while Harriet, M8t and Brenda sat in the back. It was 2 days since K8t’s birthday and she was headed to take her Level II drivers exam. Again the 58 TPC turned heads and drew crowds. The driver testers argued over who would get to administer the test as they all wanted to ride in the rumbling monster. K8t passed with flying colors.

Then they set out on a 160 mile road trip. Since 140 miles were on Interstate 64E with a 70mph speed limit the trip didn’t take too long. K8t cruised along at about 75mph as they all marveled at the smooth ride. Dinky gave directions but refused to tell them their destination. The 2  ½ hour trip went well. They were all surprised as he guided them into a drag strip.

The 58TPC had been registered for the Memorial Day weekend street legal drags event held on Saturday at Mountain Park Dragway located in Clay City KY. Dinky explained a "Street-legal drags" type of event was open to all street-legal cars regardless of engine size, tire type, and other modifications. He’d already paid the admission price and additional charges. With a smile he told them they would receive time-slips after each race they ran.

Once they were signed up they received an armband to indicate that they were authorized to race. After checking in they received a map of the track environs and a timetable. As they pulled into their designated pit area the shiny 58 TPC drew a crowd of curious onlookers. Many had never seen a 58 TPC. The deep throated rumble emerging from the dual side pipes hinted at the power hidden beneath the hood. Dinky exited the car and pulled a three legged easel out and set it up beside the car before retrieving a large poster that had photos of K8t and M8t stripping and rebuilding the behemoth. The factory stats opened many eyes. Only two of the hundreds of people present were aware that a stock factory built engine from the 1950's had been rated at 400hp. As the crowd checked out the photos and stats, Dinky had K8t pop the hood. Many onlookers were amazed by the front hinged hood, but all were stunned to see the massive 430ci engine and the huge chrome aircleaner atop the three 2-barrel carbs. The engine purred like a tiger waiting to leap into action.

Harriet and Brenda tried to answer questions as Dinky and the teens got the car ready to race. They inspected the tires, brakes, steering and suspension and checked all the oils and fluids oils. By the time they were sure the vehicle was ready Dinky and M8t drove to the staging lanes as racing had begun. Harriet, Brenda, and K8t headed for the stands to watch. Located at the beginning of the dragstrip and clearly marked with painted lane stripes and parking slot numbers, M8t took his spot in the queue as Dinky stood by the driver’s door. Although nervous, M8t followed all directions from track attendants to carefully to avoid a collision and remembered top speed is 10 MPH in this area of the track. A track attendant came alongside to ensure they’d registered, and placed a number on the car window. Dinky helped M8t mentally prepare to go racing. They had to wait for their turn in the lanes and they chatted with other racers.

Near the end of the staging lanes they watched other cars from their lane to see where they pulled up to. Some drove through the "water box," a wet area for doing burnouts, others drove around it. Since the 58 TPC had street tires, Dinky told M8t to drive around it and proceed onto the dragstrip when a crewman signaled that it was OK to proceed. One person signaled to pull out of the staging lane onto the track, where another waved him forward.

Once pulled up to the starting line he watched the "Christmas Tree" between the two lanes. Each lane had it's own set of lights in order from top to bottom: 2 small bulbs at the very top of the tree (Pre-Stage), 2 identical small ones under that (Stage), 3 large amber bulbs, a green bulb, and a red bulb. M8t nervously rolled the car forward slowly until the first set of bulbs lit. This indicated his front tires are approximately seven inches from the starting line. Then he continued to creep forward until the second set of small bulbs lit, then stopped. Glancing over to the car beside him, his competition for the race, he noted it was a 72 Camaro Z28.

The announcer began by giving the stats of the Camaro and driver. It was a well known local driver. The top stats for the 1972 Camaro Z28 was 0-60mph in 7.5seconds and the quarter mile in 15.5 seconds, impressive stats that would be difficult to top. The crowd was stunned when the stats for the 58 TPC were announced. That the car had sat in a shed for 43 years and was totally rebuilt by a pair of 13 year olds over a three year period surprised them. The 430ci engine with factory triple deuce carbs rated at 400hp staggered the audience. That the huge green car weighed in at 4320 pounds made most think the big green machine was hopelessly outclassed.

The three amber bulbs flashed consecutively 0.5 seconds apart followed by the green coming on 0.5 second after the last amber. When he saw the green light, he and the other driver stomped on their gas pedal. The tires of the Camaro squealed and smoked as they spun. As they grabbed, the front end raised up four inches as it took off. The tires of the 58 TPC chirped briefly as they barely spun but grabbed almost instantly. The two ton plus weight of the monster provided instant traction. The front end rose about 1/2 inch as it took off down the track. In the stands K8t screamed and jumped as the 58TPC roared down the 1/4 mile track.

M8t had no problems keeping the behemoth in it’s lane as it tore down the track, never letting off the gas until he passed the finish line. Then he slowed down and looked for his competitor, surprised he’d smoked the local favorite. Turning down the return road he stopped at the time shack to get his time slip. The 58 TPC turned in an impressive performance; he’d gone from 0-60mph in 5.9 seconds and finished the quarter mile in 14.57 seconds at 99.10mph.

The crowd was stunned. No one but Dinky thought the heavy 50 year old piece of Detroit history could pull off such a stunning performance. M8t was delighted to realize he’d beaten his opponent’s best by a second.

M8t ran two more races, handily winning each with results only minimally different. By then the crowd had gotten behind the Big Green Machine. As he finished his third run, he saw Dinky had brought K8t down to run the last race. M8t had no issues passing the 58 TPC over to his girlfriend. The crowd was clearly stunned when the driver change was announced for the last run of the night but when they learned the new driver was the other teen who had rebuilt the monster car they quickly got behind the girl driver.

K8t kept her cool as the lights on the tree descended. As the green light lit, her foot stomped on the gas. Just as M8t had done, the behemoth barely moved out of level as it took off. The crowd went wild as K8t clearly beat the other car off the line. The other driver never came close to catching the 58 TPC. The crowd was on their feet cheering wildly as the numbers flashed on the tote board. K8t turned in the best run of the day. The Big Green Machine went from 0-60mph in 5.6 seconds and finished the quarter mile in 14.02 seconds at 101.52mph. M8t and K8t insisted Dinky join them in the winner’s circle as they accepted the trophy for best run of the event.

It took another two hours before the crowds had their fill of checking out the Mean Green Machine. The teens were beaming with pride as were Brenda and Harriet. Dinky just smiled and nodded. The stunning results did not surprise him. The trip home was filled with talk and laughter.

M8t made a collage of the Big Green Machine at the drag track. Included were the four slips with the run times. The framed collage and trophy was placed on the rear deck in front of the center electric window when the 58 TPC was parked..

At school on Monday nearly a quarter of the student body was waiting for M8t and K8t to arrive. Several videos of the Big Green Machine smoking it’s opposition had been posted on Youtube. The local TV news also picked up the story and a news crew waited to interview the winning duo.

M8t smiled and explained how they had discovered the huge derelict car in a crumbling shed where it had waited 43 years to be rescued. K8t pulled out the photo album they had made that documented the entire rebuild. Knowing K8t was transgendered, the reporter politely asked if her transition during the rebuild had any effect on the task.

K8t giggled then reached out to take M8t’s hand. “In my heart I’ve always been a girl, I just didn’t know it. My dad was constantly on my case to be ‘all boy’. He insisted I get involved in sports and he never let up drilling me to play hard and rough. I knew I disliked sports but was too scared to say anything because I knew my dad would crawl all over me. He was a leader in an outlaw motorcycle gang so no one messed with him. It wasn’t until I was out from under his thumb after he went to jail for dealing drugs that I was able to think about how I disliked sports. When mom and I moved here I went out for Pop Warner football because that’s what I always did... I didn’t really know what else to do. That’s where I first met M8t. With his help I was able to step away from organized sports but I still felt something about my life was off. We were working in our vegetable garden while listening to the radio and the news came on about the Gwen Araujo murder trial. That’s when I realized that in my heart I was really a girl. M8t’s been totally supportive of my transition as has my mom and grandmom. The only issue I had was M8t insisting he do all the heavy work during the rebuild and on our landscaping business. Fortunately, that phase passed quickly and we work well together.”

“I understand you were driving when the car made it’s best run,” the reporter asked.

“Yes,” K8t smiled. “M8t drove the first three runs and I did the last. It’s not that I’m a better driver, he just warmed the Big Green Machine up for me.”

With that they did a quick on camera review of the 58 TPC. The reporter and camera man were certainly impressed with the stats of the behemoth.

It took almost a week for the celebrity of the big win to lose steam. By then the end of the school year was upon them and Gr8 Green was swamped with business. Things in the area began to return to normal. No one in the community had any inkling that the news story about the powerful 58 TPC would soon bring a brief period of hell on earth to Boone County and Madison.

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