Redmond, email

ON A WARM summer’s eve, in a taxi bound for Summernats I met up with the Judge, we were both too pissed to sleep So we took turns a-starin’ out the window at the blown madness The bourbon overtook us, so we began to lie.

He said: “Son I’ve made a life outta reading people’s paint Knowing what their cars were by the way they held their gloss So if you don’t mind me saying, I can see you’re outta aces For that last sip of bourbon, I’ll give you some advice.”

So I handed him my bottle, and he drank down the last swallow Then bummed a glass of Sauvignon and asked me for a scotch And the night got deathly quiet and his face lost all expression “If you’re gonna build a street car, you gotta build it right.

“You got to know when to blow it, know when to lower it Know when to chop it, and know when to chrome You never count your invoices when you’re sitting at the judgin’ There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the trophy’s won.

“Now every builder knows, the secret to restorin’ Is knowin’ what to throw away, and knowin’ what to keep Because every car’s a cruiser, and every car’s a winner And the best that you can hope for is to fry it at the treads.”

And when we finished yarnin’, he turned back toward the window He zipped up his hoodie and slurred off to sleep And somewhere in the darkness, the judge, he broke wind So I clawed at the window and found a handle I could use.