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The Bomb
by Kent Fletcher

Jody Correro and I exchanged several E-mail messages, cussing and discussing our childhood. I'm hoping to prod him on to tell more of his adventures. I guess the two I really remember were about the cat tail and Phil's nose, and something about a garbage can and a cherry bomb. You reading this, Jody?

Anyway, the Bomb was the ‘39 Plymouth I had in high school. After George Campbell helped me drop the 331 hemi Chrysler engine into it, I was off and running. I had purchased a "full lift" cam from Honest Charley's in Chattanooga before installing it. One thing I never did understand, never have really figured out, exactly what is a "full lift" cam?

I was enjoying my hot rod, ready for fun and games, and enjoying the praise (?) being heaped upon me and George for our "success.” Initially there were no exhaust pipes coming off the exhaust manifolds, just straight out. Loud. And the right manifold was exhausting directly on the brake line.

At the time when all these shenanigans were going on, I was but a sophomore or junior in high school. As it was, the City of Cleveland had hired several new police officers (please read, "rookies"), one of whom had an instant disliking for me. And to the Bomb.

The parking area for the high school was across the street, actually, across Bolivar Avenue and backed up to Jones Bayou. The parking lot and this stretch of Bolivar Avenue was gravel, i.e., not paved in any way, shape, or form. And this particular police officer was assigned the duties of directing traffic on Sunflower Road and Bolivar Avenue when school let out and all the kids were getting out of Dodge. He always gave me an evil look, silently saying, "I'm gonna get you, boy, and it isn't going to be a pretty scene!"

Finally, one day, he had the opportunity to stop the outbound high school traffic when I was rolling up to turn onto Sunflower Road. He got the Sunflower Road traffic going, then walked over toward my Bomb. But let me relate something first, before I go on.

Seemed like it took forever to get the four-barrel carb adjusted correctly, and it had a tendency to start to choke down or flood when I was just sitting and idling. A couple of gooses on the accelerator would usually solve the immediate problem--and I could go on about my business. Can you see where this is going?

So the rookie walks over to my car and asks, oh, so innocently, if I had any mufflers on the Bomb. Of course, he knew the answer. He was just being a smarta** about the whole thing. About this time the Bomb was starting to idle irregularly, kind of rough, like it might flood out on me. I kept my cool though. The rookie decided to be the Big Man, and said he was going to look under the car.

About the time he got down and kind of "under" the car, what choice did I have, I had to "goose" the accelerator. Well, maybe just a tad more than necessary. An immediate cloud of dust arose from both sides of the Bomb. Needless to say, the rookie was moving fast when he reappeared.

Thankfully, the cars behind me were honking like crazy, itching to go, and the traffic on Sunflower Road was nearly nil for a moment. The rookie was absolutely covered with dust. He glared at me but didn't say anything. He ran out to the street, stopped the traffic on Sunflower Road, and waved me on through.

I can't recall ever running into him again as far as the Bomb was concerned, but I do remember evading him like the plague until I was able to put some quasi-mufflers on the Bomb.


Retired military, Kent Fletcher is a native Mississippian now residing in Texas. His hobbies are writing and woodworking. Write to him at hots64@yahoo.com.


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