I realize we’re still settling into the past, dear readers, but after traveling one hundred years in the space of three hundred-some pages, it’s time for our appointment. I suppose the ginger-haired dandy standing near the finish line is the fella I want to interview. Why don’t you all take a front-row seat in the stands?
Good morning. Are you Archie Jackson?
Yes, I am. I’m pleased to meet you, but confess I didn’t expect you to bring a crowd.
Don’t mind them. Like me, they’re curious time travelers. Can I start off by asking why you wanted to meet at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway?
Anyone who knows anything about this city would want an interview at either the track or the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. They’re our most notable landmarks. Since I’m more madcap than solemn, I picked the speedway.
For a moment, I thought you might be a race car driver.
No, not me, although I wouldn’t mind taking a lap or two in one of the local Marmon cars, or maybe a Stutz. The country’s most prestigious racing event happens on these bricks. Can you imagine what it’s like for those crackerjacks? Last year Howdy Wilcox set the record at eighty-eight miles per hour. It’s unfathomable.
I’m sure. Is everyone who lives here a fan?
Everyone except Emmett Sterling. He’s one of my two best friends, but he’s a peculiar duck.
You have two best friends?
Do you plan to add more or lose one?
Neither. I’m working up the nerve to ask the female part of our threesome to transition from friend to mate.
As in wife?
As in absolutely and positively. I am absotively stuck on Sally.
I see. Does she know how you feel?
When the three of us go out, she doesn’t show favoritism between Emmett and me, but recently she and I have enjoyed some private time that suggests we might have a future together.
Good for you.
True, but not so good for Emmett. He’s got the same notion as I have. I keep trying to dissuade him, but he insists that Sally is the doll for him.
What does she think about having two suitors?
She doesn’t know about the second one. You need to understand that Emmett is practical, dependable, and bent on living a well-ordered life, and while those are admirable traits, he’s about as exciting as a chewing gum wrapper. Regardless, he figures that he has the means to fill her every need.
You don’t sound like you believe that.
I’m here to tell you, the man is all wet. Frugality and routine are overrated. Every woman needs adventure and romance, dancing and—heavens to hooch—a sip of moonshine now and again.
What about Prohibition?
I’m not saying I imbibe, and I’m not confessing to being acquainted with any local hoodlums. I’m just trying to make a point. I’m the spontaneous one of the group, the one who makes the others laugh, the one who instigates memories.
I can see you have that potential.
I take that as a compliment.
Do you worry you’ll lose your friendship with Emmett?
Well, since we’re standing on the speedway bricks, maybe I can respond accordingly. Seated next to every race car driver is his riding mechanic, the man who pumps oil into the engine as they tear around the track, and who warns the driver of the goings on beside and behind him. My friendship with Emmett is like that, both of us working together to bring out the best outcome. The way things stand, we might have to sacrifice that camaraderie if either of us has a chance to take the trophy.
Trophy? As in Sally?
That’s the crux of it.
I think I have the winning entry, but I’m biding my time until Emmett sees he needs to withdraw from the race. That way, we can remain a threesome. Why don’t you climb on up in the stands with the friends you brought along, and I’ll expound a bit. Wander through the Making Up Time prologue, turn the next page, and see what happens when Indianapolis and Archie Jackson roar.
Valerie Banfield is a talespinner to the lost, the loved, and the found. She is the author of thirteen novels, co-author of three West Virginia‑themed tales, and recipient of the Cascade Award for Historical Fiction. When she’s not writing or reading, she’s probably weaving a basket, counting the stars, or chasing fireflies. Visit her online at valeriebanfield.com.
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