An entrepreneur named Mort Bernstein owned the Stingray. Every day, he drove sweetheart through town so people could see their reflections in its sheen. He drove it to and from his estate at the far side of Fistwood, a huge colonial fortress of a house with a marble statue at its front of Abraham about to gut Isaac. If memory serves (and it goddamn does) the early Bernstein proprietors of this mansion had slaves.
The morning I climbed over the hedges into the Bernstein Estate, I thought of those slaves in the field and reasoned that my theft would be just desserts for a dynasty of former people-owners. Inside, the lawn looked so untraveled, it might as well have been vacuum-sealed. Pockets of flowers shot up here and there, all in neat arrangements of chrysanthemums, marigolds, roses, and violets. So neat, so tidy, everything so goddamn OCD. There were bolts spring-loaded in the ground for wayward squirrels, and burglars too no doubt; these skewered any creature who triggered them by foot. I cautiously navigated the lawn, eying the grass for glints of iron. A bluejay didn't get the notice. Its husk was shriveling in the midday sun at the end of a springbolt, likely caught in its hunt for an earthworm.
Once at the gravel driveway, I followed this to the entrance, and hid in the bushes beside the front stairs. I waited all afternoon in those bushes, sating my boredom by stripping the leaves to their midribs. The grounds-keeper came out once to dislodge the bird, whistling as he did so, and went back inside without seeing me.
At long last, after hours of waiting and half a bush shorn clean, the front gates creaked open. Bernstein entered in his maraschino-red Stingray. He rounded the lawn, cut the engine once near the stairs, and stepped out in his khakis and sunglasses. Lo, glinting in the sunlight: his ring of keys. Just as he started up the stairs, I pounced on him from behind and snatched them from his hand. By the time he registered what had happened, I was halfway to the car.
"Hey, hey, hey!" He nearly tripped as he scrambled after me, and his shades clattered on the pavement. "You slimy little fuck." I swung open the passenger's side, lunged into the driver's seat, and slammed the door shut behind me. Mort barreled into it right as I thumbed the lock shut. Here I was at last, at Apollo's reigns. I turned on the ignition. While Mort swung around to the driver's side, screaming like a broker on Black Tuesday, I gripped the still-warm leather steering wheel and, since I was too short to see over the dashboard without kneeling on the seat, kicked off a shoe so it would weigh on the gas. The Stingray shot forward instantly. Mort's howling and pounding subsided in his failure to chase me on foot.
"I'll slit your throat, you little shit!" The gates began to close, no doubt the grounds-keeper's effort to trap me. Seeing this, I pushed my shoe down harder, hitting ninety. Knowing I'd rocket through that gate, and knowing it was his Stingray that would do the rocketing, Mort screamed at his grounds-keeper. "Open it! He's going through!"
And so I did, clipping a gate on my way. I was out now. Free and boundless in that fucking Stingray. It would be the greatest hour of my childhood. Yes, hour. You'll find out why.