Doc is pissed cuz of what Glitch Bitch did to Doc. S isn't he? Can I join him in the raging please?
The Googles pull up the video on the big screen in the lobby where they all stand around and wait. When the video starts, and Jack stumbles off screen, Dr. Iplier immediately sees what’s happening. “No.”
Dr. Schneeplestein appears next, trying his hardest to save Jack but obviously failing. Doc watches in horror as Schneep slowly goes mad, and when Anti appears fully on the screen, the Googles have to pin him to a wall to keep him from hurting himself.
“HE’S GOING TO KILL THEM ALL? DON’T YOU GET IT? WE LET THIS HAPPEN!” Doc struggles against the droids, but the robots are unrelenting.
“Calm down, Doctor. Please.” There are tears in Oliver’s eyes as he prepares the needle for sedation. “I don’t want to do this.”
“IT’S ALL OUR FAULT. WE SHOULD’VE BEEN THERE!” Doc continues to struggle until Ollie inserts the needle into his neck once Green holds him still. “We’ve got… got to… save them…” Doc’s eyes roll shut, and he falls asleep.
The Googles lay him down gently onto the floor, and Wilford shakes his head. “What are we going to do?”
Fandom: Cars Rating: K+ Length: 6,851 words Summary: Doc has spent decades building a life for himself after the crushing rejection from the racing world. He’s happy in Radiator Springs. He’s peaceful. But everything gets thrown into chaos once Lightning McQueen charges into town. The reminders of his old life that McQueen unintentionally brings are strong, and Doc wants the kid away from him as fast as possible. Because he knows if he’s willing, if he lets himself forget, he’ll let racing back into his heart, and McQueen along with it.
Doc Hudson had known exactly who Lightning McQueen was the
second he laid eyes on him. Not by name, he wouldn’t know just how famous this
kid was until a few days later. But he did know instantly that this kid was a
racecar. It was easy to tell by the flashy colour of his paintjob and the
sponsor stickers that plastered his body. Or at least it was easy for him—the others
didn’t catch on right away. But he’d spent a good portion of his life racing
and studying racecars. He knew one when he saw one.
Which was why all thoughts of a harsh intense punishment
flew from his mind. The young car flashed him a smile, which even beneath the
nervousness was an easy charm that Doc had once been told he had. It had been
exactly five seconds and already one similarity made itself known.
He made the order to get Lightning out of his courtroom, out
of his town, and he did his best to ignore the confused murmuring of his friends.
He did not need this racecar to stick around, to be a stark reminder of his
past, and he already knew by the triumphant grin flashing across Lightning’s
face that he was arrogant.
He wasn’t surprised Sally was upset with his decision. He
also wasn’t surprised when she made a passionate speech to the others gathered
in the courtroom. He didn’t interrupt her, listening with fond exasperation,
and when the cheers came for Lightning to fix the road as punishment for his
reckless driving, he found he couldn’t argue.
It would only be for three days. He could tolerate that. And
the utter indigence that Lightning exhibited when his sentence was changed
caused Doc to smirk. He figured the kid wasn’t used to not getting what he
wanted. He was content to be the first not to give in to his whims.
“Who’s Bessie?” spat out Lightning, bitterness on his
“Since you’re in such a rush to meet her, we’ll go now,”
said Doc. “Mater, take him outside, will you?”
“Sure thing Doc,” Mater said cheerfully and Lightning
reluctantly followed the tow truck from the courtroom, muttering under his
As most of the others talked amongst themselves and started
to trickle out, Doc turned towards Sheriff. “I don’t suppose you could do me a
Sheriff regarded him, curious. “Of course. What is it?”
“Would you mind waitin’ where you usually camp out, lookin’
out for speeders?” When Sheriff glanced at in confusion, Doc continued, “I’m
goin’ to get Mater to hook McQueen up to Bessie.”
It took a second for understanding to set in and Sheriff
smiled. “I don’t suppose you’ll tell him to hook him up before taking off the parking boot?”
“I think he’ll figure it out. Afterwards.”
“Ooh, can I come with you?” Sally, who had lingered near the
exit to eavesdrop, unashamedly came up next to the pair with a grin. “I want to
see the look on his face.”
Sheriff chuckled. “Come along, then. We better get settled.”
With a mischievous grin, Sally turned to Doc and declared,
“Good thinking. I’ll let you know every detail of his expression. It’s going to
The pair left and when Doc was sure enough time had passed
he got Red to bring Bessie over to join Mater and Lightning. He explained to
the racecar exactly what it was he would be doing and then asked Mater to hook
him up to Bessie. He didn’t offer any protest when Mater started working on
getting the parking boot off. He didn’t miss the flash of possibility in
Lightning’s eyes, could see his mind seizing on this chance of escape.
He didn’t bat an eye when Lightning took off like a bullet.
He did however smirk when Mater towed Lightning all the way back to town, the
racecar shooting him a narrow-eyed glare.
To say he was stunned when Mater burst into his office,
declaring Lightning to be finished his task, was an understatement. He knew for
a fact that the job couldn’t have been done well, not in an hour. But nevertheless,
Lightning had managed to lug Bessie, a hulking piece of heavy machinery, down
the stretch of broken asphalt in an hour and that was impressive. Most racecars
didn’t have the kind of strength.
But the feeling didn’t last long and he shook himself
sharply. No, there was nothing impressive about a half-done job, with clear
disrespect and inconsideration. And when he drove to confront Lightning, he
paused when he heard Sally say, “It looks awful!”
Without missing a beat, Lightning returned callously, “Well,
it matches the rest of the town.”
Red took off in tears and Sally gasped in horror.
Infuriated, Doc pulled up in front of Lightning. The kid was not fazed by his
anger. Rather, defiance sparked in his eyes and he stubbornly insisted that he
had done his part. And when Doc demanded he tear up the road and start over,
“Hey, look grandpa, I’m not a bulldozer, I’m a racecar.”
An idea surged in Doc’s mind then and he smiled. He offered
the kid a deal. A race, and if he won he could go free. The others who were
observing stared at him with wide eyes. But Doc knew, knew that this hot rod
had spent hours training on asphalt racetracks. He was clueless as to how to
race on dirt.
And Lightning, blinded by his arrogance, saw nothing
suspicious about Doc’s proposition. They set themselves up at Willy’s Butte and
staring down the long stretch of dirt he felt a pang of nostalgia. How many
times had he raced down such tracks and how many times had he won?
No. He was not here to race. He was here to teach this kid a
lesson, to knock him down a few pegs. Lightning revved his engine and took off
once the flag was waved. Doc followed leisurely, instructing Mater to come with
him. On the first turn, Lightning did exactly as he expected. He spun out of
control, unable to keep his traction and delved down a hill and into the
“Was that floatin’ like a Cadillac?” he called down the
slope, mocking the racecar’s mantra at the start. “Or was it stingin’ like a
Beemer? I’m confused. You drive like you fix roads. Lousy.”
A frustrated growl was his only response. Satisfied, he left
Mater to the task of towing him out and drove away, perhaps faster than normal.
The call of the dirt track was tempting, to feel the wind and the grit in his
He would not go back. He would not let Lightning drag him
back to the world that hurt him so.
The following morning, he ventured out to find the others
testing out a portion of smooth tar, spinning in circles and laughing in
delight. He paused for a moment, unable to deny that the kid did a good job.
But when he looked around, he didn’t see Lightning anywhere in sight, or the
Sheriff, for that matter.
For some reason, his instinct guided him towards Willy’s
Butte. He had seen Lightning’s confusion, his inability to understand how he
had messed up that turn. And if Lightning was a proper racecar, he would want
to get to the bottom of the problem.
He hoped it was as simple as Lightning making a break for it.
But it was as he suspected and he watched Lightning race down the dirt, kicking
up clouds behind and around him, eyes searing into focus on the first turn. He
experimented with his tires, turning them slightly at first, but it didn’t make
a difference. He let out a shout of anger as he spun out, but he determinedly
went right back to the starting point.
Doc saw a flash of himself, training for hours on whatever
track he could find. Dirt, sand, anything that would improve his skills. The
determined glint in Lightning’s eyes was one he once held and he couldn’t stop
the smile from spreading.
Don’t do it, his
mind warned him. Leave it alone.
But he ventured towards the panting, slightly exhausted kid
anyway. He told him what he needed to do to accomplish the turn, but Lightning
gave him a flat, bored expression and dismissed him. The disappointment flared,
followed by anger. No, he shouldn’t feel disappointment. Not over a cocky young
racer who clearly didn’t care about anyone. He should have expected as much and
it was his fault.
He forgot himself for a moment. It wouldn’t happen again.
Doc was not at all happy when Lightning burst into his
workspace as he doing a check-up on Sheriff. “He’ll meet you at Flo’s, now get
outta here,” he snapped.
Anyone else would have been cowed and slunk away. But
Lightning met his glare, eyes hardening with that infuriating defiance and
retorted, “I’ve been trying to get outta here for three days!” before storming
Sheriff was more amused than Doc. “Kid’s got quite the mouth
on him, doesn’t he?”
“Anyone ever tell you
you got a smart mouth, Hud?”
Smokey’s voice came unbidden into his mind and his heart
gave a painful wrench. Keeping his expression neutral, Doc grumbled, “You’re
When he finished up, he found himself staring at his garage,
where the door was open. Eyes narrowing into slits and knowing exactly who was
inside, he went to the doorway. “I knew you couldn’t race,” he said tightly,
gaining a startled Lightning’s attention. “I didn’t know you couldn’t read.”
Lightning only stared in awed amazement. “You have three
Doc didn’t need to hear this. He didn’t someone to remind
him of his accomplishments and he only tensed more when Lightning continued to
talk excitedly. He kicked him out of his garage and went to the window,
watching as he sped right for Flo’s.
He shouldn’t have worried about him breaking the news of who
he used to be. The others clearly didn’t believe Lightning and Flo asked in
bemusement, “Have you ever seen him race?”
What Doc didn’t expect was Lightning’s eyes to light up and
a wistful sigh to escape him. “No, but I wish I could have. They say he was
There was a stirring of gratitude and Doc closed his eyes,
fighting against it. No. He was
disrespectful when he thought you were nothing more than an elderly doctor.
He’s only changing his tune because he thinks you might be of use to him now.
But when Sally gave Lightning a full tank of gas, the racecar
did not take off. He stared down the stretch of road that would lead to his
freedom thoughtfully. Then he gave a sincere smile and followed after Sally.
Maybe you’re only
seeing him as you want to see him.
Doc ignored his thoughts. Arrogance, cockiness and
overconfidence was all there was to Lightning McQueen. He would not let himself
“He actually thought Doc was a famous race car,” laughed
Ramone, his voice filtering past the thin, grimy glass of the garage window.
“That’s so too much.”
A surge of pain went through Doc’s very core. He let himself
feel it. And for the first time in decades, he decided to do something about
The scent of soil, the film of dust in the air, the
seemingly endless track that smoothed out before him. Doc sat still, taking it
in, feeling the sensations he long since abandoned. He revved his engine,
feeling his body hum and he took off.
It was the fastest he’d driven in years.
The wind rushed past him, whistling a high-pitched melody.
His old racing tires, still fitting snugly after all this time, crunched
against the dirt. A smile stretched wide across his features and he hit his
first turn with such fluidness it was if he’d never stopped doing it.
He came to a stop, breathing heavily and enjoying the
almost-forgotten feeling of adrenaline. Then the clouds of dust dispersed and
his eyes locked with a broadly grinning Lightning.
Doc stared. And horror washed through him, the realization
that he had given into the temptation, that he had let this rookie pull him
into the world he vowed never to go back to. He spun on his tires and tore off
without a word.
It was frustrating when Lightning followed after him,
persistent and stubborn. Doc refused to listen to his questions, demanding he
get out. But Lightning would have none of it.
“Come on. I’m a racecar, you’re a…much older race car, but
under the hood you and I are the same.”
“We are not the same!” snapped Doc, because he refused to
believe it, refused to acknowledge the similarities between them. “Understand?
Now get out.”
“How could a car like you quit at the top of your game?”
Doc froze, eyes slowly locking onto Lightning. Rage built
within him, but he kept it contained. “You think I quit?” he asked quietly.
Lightning realized by his reaction that he said something
wrong and his expression turned into puzzlement. Silently Doc moved over to a
corner of his garage and turned on a light, which illuminated a yellowed
newspaper article. Lightning stared at it, eyes widening.
“Right. Your big crash of ’54,” he whispered.
“They quit on me,” said Doc hotly, feeling the buried grief
rise up with a vengeance. “When I finally got put together I went back expectin’
a big welcome. You know what they said? You’re history. Moved right on to the
next rookie in line. There was a lot left in me. I never got the chance to show
‘em. I keep that to remind me never to go back. I just never expected that that
world would find me here.”
Lightning, who had listened to him intently, immediately
said, “Look Doc, I’m not them.”
“No,” said Lightning firmly. “I’m not.”
“When is the last time you cared about something except
yourself, hot rod? You name me one time and I will take it all back.”
Lightning went stricken, sudden realization crushing down on
him and bringing with it sadness and misery. Doc saw it, but his anger would
not allow him to register it. Not allow him to see that Lightning wasn’t what
he was making him out to be. Cars that didn’t care about anyone wouldn’t be
upset by being told such.
“I didn’t think so. These are good folk around here, who
care about one another. I don’t want ‘em dependin’ on someone they can’t count
Lightning snapped back to life, a fire appearing in his
eyes. “Oh, like you? You’ve been here how long and your friends don’t even know
who you are? Who’s caring about only himself?”
Doc bristled. “Just finish that road and get outta here!” He
sped off, leaving Lightning in his garage, with the physical reminders of his
When he woke up the next morning, he wasn’t expecting for
the road to be completely finished or for Lightning to actually be gone. Doc
sat at the edge, the front of his tires resting against the fresh asphalt,
watching as the others gleefully travelled down their new road.
“He’s done,” said Mater despondently. “He must’ve finished
it while we was all sleepin’.”
“Good riddance,” said Doc curtly.
He returned to his office, trying to banish the tow truck’s
saddened voice from his mind, trying to ignore the irrational confliction that
was beginning to develop. This was what he wanted. He wanted McQueen out of his
town. All the kid had done was fight and backtalk and be disrespectful.
No one ever fought him before, on anything really. They had
their disagreements but they were friendly. The cars in the town were
respectful, to each other and to him. Lightning was the first one to argue with
him, to scowl at him and fight with him and insult him. It had been a change of
pace, having someone to trade barbs with, and he looked forward to the moments
where he could out-sass the rookie.
Smokey always did say he had a smart mouth.
But above all, he couldn’t forget the sensations he
experienced on the dirt track of Willy’s Butte. He thought he’d been content,
to spend his days as a doctor and nothing more. Then Lightning burst onto the
scene and brought him back into the world of racing with an abruptness he
wasn’t prepared for. Lightning was a constant reminder of who he used to be, of
what he used to do and what he left behind.
Maybe that’s why, when he discovered Lightning in Luigi’s
and Guido’s shop, trying on tires and laughing along with everyone else, the
anger resurged and he forgot his conflicted feelings. He stormed off in a huff,
resolving to get back to his peaceful life once and for all.
“You called them?”
Sally’s voice contained heartbreak, eyes glittering with
betrayal and devastation. Doc wavered for a moment, unable to stand to see her
so sad, but he steeled himself. “It’s best for everyone, Sally.”
But he couldn’t fool her. Never could. Her eyes hardened
with disappointment and she retorted, “Best for everyone or best for you?”
She took off then, tires squealing and Doc felt a heavy
weight develop in his gut. He slowly moved to where the others where gathered,
watching the horde of reporters follow Lightning’s trailer, their headlights
sparkling in the distance.
“I didn’t get to say goodbye to him.”
Mater glumly set off and so did everyone else. Doc stared,
seeing clearly for the first time their disappointment, their sadness. Soon he
was left alone, beneath the faulty traffic light, as the neon lights
surrounding him were turned off.
“You can be as hard-headed
as a tractor.”
Smokey’s voice sounded in his memory, the rebuke not losing
its sharpness even in his mind. Doc closed his eyes, realizing in that instant
what he had done.
He was so focussed on keeping his past a secret, on keeping
it where it belonged, that he did not see what was occurring before him. He
ignored Lightning’s sincere smiles, his laughter with Mater as they joked
around, the delighted smiles on Luigi and Guido when Lightning came to them for
tires, and the fond laughter of everyone else that was watching.
Lightning had gone to great pains to get the others to fix
their neon. As a gift for Sally, as a gift for them. As a gift to him. He
didn’t have to do it. It wasn’t about putting on an act or getting a girl.
Lightning had wanted to, because he cared.
And he had known. He had known Lightning wasn’t all cockiness
and disrespect, not just because he was a good judge of character. He had been
the same, once. Perhaps still was, in a way.
That was what frightened him the most. So quickly he had
seen himself in Lightning, saw that the kid was so much more than he presented
himself to be. He didn’t want to believe it. He ignored it. He didn’t want any
more reminders of the pain and his grief. He needed the kid gone so he could
return to the life he had built for himself.
He knew now he was wrong. Lightning had brought joy to his
friends and he had forcibly taken it away from them. He could only imagine how
Lightning was feeling now, alone in his trailer, taken away abruptly without
proper goodbyes and he felt a surge of anger towards himself.
Lightning had, for a moment, made him feel true joy, one he
hadn’t felt for a long time. He had been content, he had been happy, he had
been peaceful. But joy…the joy of racing down the track, of seeing another
racing down a track…
And he rejected it.
He would fix this. He would fix his relationships, see if
Lightning would be willing to give him a second chance. He would have to act
The race in California wouldn’t wait.
“Hey guys, what’s
Sally drove up into the lot of Flo’s café, tired and
confused. She had been roused by Mater shouting outside her door, saying that
Doc wanted them all to meet him at Flo’s. So here they all were, in the early
hours of dawn, waiting.
“I don’t know, sug,” answered Flo. She glanced at Mater and
asked, “Did Doc tell you why he wanted to see us?”
“Nope,” said Mater. “He jus’ told me to git everyone as fast
as I could. I think my diet’s working, ‘cause I’m speedier and more aeronamical
“Probably came to confront someone about the tractor invasion the other day,” said Sheriff
with a sniff.
Mater’s eyes darted about. “Uh, ya know what, I got some
stuff I gotta do—”
“He’s just joking, man,” said Ramone, looking at Sheriff in
They all quieted when they spotted Doc coming from down the
road. The elderly car approached them, a serious expression on his features. “I
know it’s early, but I appreciate you all comin’ here.”
“What’s wrong, Doc?” asked Luigi in concern.
“I owe you all an apology. I was the one who called those
reporters to town.”
There was a shocked silence for a second, with the exception
of Sally, who only looked away. “But…why?” asked Flo in bewilderment.
“When the kid told you I used to be a racecar, he wasn’t
wrong,” said Doc quietly. “He was right, about all of it. I used to be a
champion. But then I had a nasty crash…and the racing world wouldn’t take me
back. Everything I loved was gone in an instant. I vowed to forget about racing
and never have anything to do with it ever again. The pain was still too great and
I suppose I never got over it.”
“Lightning’s a racecar,” said Lizzie cheerfully. “You’re
just like him.”
Doc thought of Lightning’s determination and his spirit. He
thought of his stubborn streak, of his heart and of his eagerness to learn
something he did not know before. “Yes,” he said, admitting it for the first
time out loud. “Just like him.” He then stared directly at Sally, eyes
remorseful. “I did what was best for me. You were right. I was selfish.”
“No,” said Sally automatically, feeling a crushing wave of
guilt and regret, for she hadn’t ever stopped to think why Doc was keeping
Lightning at a distance. “No, I shouldn’t have said that. I was angry—”
“You had every right to be. You don’t need to apologize.”
Doc then looked at Mater. “I’m sorry I took away your chance to say goodbye.”
“S’okay!” said Mater, hating to see Doc sad. “I mean, we’re
best buds, so I’ll see him again!”
This brought a sincere smile to Doc. “Sooner than you may
think. There’s quite a bit I have to say to Lightning and it’s a trek to the
Los Angeles International Speedway.”
Sally’s eyes widened. “You’re going to see him race?”
“I am. Thought maybe I’d have some company with me. Sure
he’d be more happy to see you lot than me.”
“Woo-wee!” whooped Mater. “Hang on buddy, here I come!”
“All right, road trip!” said Ramone with a wide grin. “What
do you say, baby?”
“You know it,” said Flo.
“You’ll need to get there as fast as you can, so I’ll come
with you,” said Sheriff, trying and failing to hide his happiness at the
prospect of seeing Lightning again.
“Guido, we will get to see Lightning race!” exclaimed Luigi.
“You might to get to do more than that,” spoke Doc. “Heard
on the radio that the kid’s previous pit crew quit on him. He could probably use
your help. I doubt he’s goin’ to have a team waiting for him when he gets to
Sally eyed him knowingly. “You want to fix that.”
“There’s no fun racin’ alone,” said Doc wisely. “What do you
“Pit stop!” said Guido eagerly, nudging Luigi insistently.
“Yes, Guido, you will finally get your chance!”
“Ah, guess I might as well come along,” sniffed Sarge.
“Sheriff’s gonna need help keepin’ you all in line.”
“Lightning’s going to need good, organic fuel,” said
Fillmore. “None of that other poisonous junk.”
“These old tires aren’t what they used to be,” said Lizzie
wistfully. “I’ll stay here. Who knows, we might get some customers who need
“I’ll stay here, too.”
Doc looked at Sally in surprise. “Are you sure?”
“Yes,” said Sally. “Can’t leave the town empty. We’ll watch
it on television.” She then smiled and gave Doc a sweet, affectionate kiss.
“Besides, this way you’ll have no choice to bring him back. C’mon, Lizzie,
let’s see if we can hook up the television.”
“I have one on my porch.”
“That’s a record player.”
The two drove off, and Red gave a honk, indicating he would
also stay to watch the town and the girls. He followed after them and Doc let
out a quiet, fond sigh. Turning to the others, he said, “We better get going.
But before we leave…think you have time for a paintjob, Ramone?”
“Anything for you, Doc,” said Ramone, eyes sparking with
curiosity. “What do you want?”
“It’s been a while since I wore my old racing colours. I’d
like to see how they fit after all these years.”
And after Ramone finished, Doc looked in the mirror, staring
at the bright words flaring across his sides, ‘Fabulous Hudson Hornet’. It was familiar and he felt a wave of
emotion overcome him. They didn’t look odd or out of place. In fact, they
looked as if they should have never left. It felt right. It was right.
Ramone smiled at him. “You look smokin’ Doc. I’d say they
When they arrived at the Los Angeles International Speedway,
they had little difficulty getting into the pit area. The security vehicles
nearly fell over themselves at the sight of the Hudson Hornet and were more
than happy to let them all pass through.
Doc’s grill curved into a frown at the sight of the lone
figure in Lightning’s pit. The transport truck was by himself, headset attached
securely. He jolted in surprise at the sight of them. “Hey, this is a private
area, how did you–?” He cut himself off when he zeroed in on Doc’s racing
colours. “Oh,” he uttered. “Mr. Hudson Hornet, what I do owe the honour?”
“No need for that,” he dismissed. “Call me Doc. I’m here to
see how the rookie’s doing.”
At his confused look, Flo piped up helpfully, “We’re from
Radiator Springs. Where you found Lightning.”
Immediately the transport truck’s features transformed into
guilt. “I’m so sorry, it was a circus show. The reporters knew before I did and
when I found out I had to get there as fast as I could or else the media would
get their fangs in him. I just hustled him out of there, I didn’t even think—he
didn’t get to say goodbye or anything, did he?”
“It’s my fault all that happened, not yours. We came here to
correct that. It’s a big race and he’s done a lot for our town, for us, so we
figured we should be here to see it.” Doc turned to look at the track, watching
the red car trail just behind the other two. “How’s he doin’?”
“Not good,” he muttered. “He’s not really into it today.”
“Also my fault,” said Doc quietly, mostly under his breath.
“Does he have a pit crew?” asked Luigi anxiously. “If not,
we would be more than happy to be his pit crew! Guido is very good.”
Guido nodded vigorously. Fillmore added, “I brought some
organic fuel. It’ll make him feel way better. Trust me.”
For a moment, the transport truck seemed lost. Then his eyes
brightened with relief and he said, “I could use all the help I can get! I
don’t know what I’m doing, honestly.”
Doc eyed him. “What’s your name?”
“Oh—excuse my rudeness! I’m Mack.”
A round of introductions passed and their attention was
immediately brought to the racetrack by a swell of gasps from the audience.
Lightning narrowly missed hitting the wall and Doc felt a lurch. But he settled
in the infield, dazed and confused. With a shake of his head, Lightning got
back onto the track and tried to catch up.
“Mind if I use that headset?” asked Doc.
Mack gave a nod and handed it over. Doc went onto the crew
chief stand, and when he hovered just above everyone else, with a clear view of
the racetrack, he felt his breath leave him. His eyes zeroed in on Lightning,
who was struggling, and he indicated for Mack to come closer.
“Say somethin’,” he whispered.
Though puzzled, Mack complied. “Hey, you all right kid?” he
asked, sincere concern in his voice.
“I don’t know, Mack.
I…I…I don’t think—”
His misery and self-doubt caused Doc to frown and he said
sharply, “I didn’t come all this way to see you quit.”
asked, stunned and hopeful.
And as he rounded the track, he shifted his eyes, and at the
sight of his friends a wide grin stretched across his features.
“Guys, you’re here! I
can’t believe this!”
“I knew you needed a crew chief, but I didn’t know it was
this bad,” said Doc lightly.
“I thought you said
you’d never come back.”
“Well, I really didn’t have a choice. Mater didn’t get to
Perking up at that, Mater shouted, “Goodbye! Okay, I’m
Lightning pulled into the pits, grin only growing when he
came close to his friends. As Sarge and Fillmore resupplied his gas, Doc said, “All
right, if you can drive as good as you can fix a road, then you can win this
race with your eyes shut. Now get back out there!”
Determination flared in Lightning’s eyes and he picked up
his speed, getting back onto the track. The way he caught up to The King and
Chick with grace sent pride through Doc.
“Hot snot, we are back in business!” he declared. He then
directed at Guido and Luigi, “You’re goin’ up against
professional pit crews boys, you’re gonna have to be fast.” But he had no
worries, because he knew they were skilled and their enthusiasm would only
serve them, not hinder. “Kid, you can beat these guys. Find a groove that works
for you and get that lap back.”
Lightning quickly found his pace and went with it,
charging forwards. It was then the announcement came, crackling over the
stadium speakers. “Darrell, it appears
McQueen has got himself a pit crew. And look who he has for a crew chief! Wow,
this is history in the making. Nobody has seen the racing legend in over 50
There was a roar from the crowd, thousands of cars
cheering not for the racers, but for him.
His friends looked at him with wide grins. Doc kept his eyes on Lightning, his
emotions surging. All these years, he had thought he had been forgotten, only
to find out he had been wrong.
But he didn’t focus on it for long. He would enjoy the
reaction of his appearance later. Now was all about Lightning. He watched as
McQueen passed Chick and The King on the inside. “You’re doin’ great, kid. Just
keep your head on.”
Lightning made up his lap, on route to pass by Chick
Hicks. The stock car nudged Lightning’s side, sending him spinning. Doc watched
as Lightning steadied himself and drove backwards, casting a flummoxed Chick a
cocky grin and wink before swinging around.
Chick did not give up and his next interaction with
Lightning left him with a flat tire. “Doc!
I’m flat, I’m flat!” he cried, panicked.
Doc too felt that panic, because a flat tire could
lead to a more disastrous result. “Can you get to the pits?” he demanded.
yeah, I think so.”
Doc’s eyes caught the yellow flag being waved. “Hey,
got a yellow. Bring it in. Don’t tear yourself up, kid.”
“We gotta get him back out there fast or we’re gonna
be a lap down, and we’ll never win this race!” said Mack anxiously.
“Guido! It’s time,” instructed Doc.
Lightning made his way into the pits and Guido
replaced all four tires in mere seconds. Lightning immediately charged out,
making back for the track. Doc watched intently, as Lightning’s eyes locked
onto the pace car, as his speed adjusted so he could make it in the nick of
Doc grinned. Show
‘em how it’s done, rookie.
The three cars stuck close together and soon it was a
three-way lead with only one lap to go. “This is it, kiddo. You’ve got four
turns left. One at a time. Drive it in deep and hope it sticks. Go!” instructed
Doc, feeling his own heartrate pick up with excitement.
Lightning charged forwards and managed to thread his
away around Chick. But the stock car darted forwards and slammed into him,
sending him into the infield and accidentally causing himself and the The King
to lose their groove.
think McQueen is out of the race!”
And Doc watched as Lightning turned his tires hard,
sending dirt spraying in all directions. He smiled widely as Lightning
successfully aimed himself off of the dirt and onto the asphalt, using the
advice Doc had given him back at Willy’s Butte.
“Float like a Cadallic,” began Doc.
like Beemer,” crooned Lightning, sliding ahead of The King and
The rookie was going to win the Piston Cup and Doc
refused to even blink, not wanting to miss the moment where the kid crossed the
finish line. But the horrified gasp automatically snapped his attention away,
and he froze at the sight of The King spiralling in the air, before striking
the ground hard and rolling several times before coming to a smoking halt.
Grief and a horrible understanding charged through
Doc. He knew all too well what a crash could do, how dismissive the racing
world could be to the older cars that wrecked.
The screeching of brakes filled the silent air and he
turned, eyes widening at the sight of Lightning stopping dead before the finish
line. His eyes were hard, expression set in a determined line. He let Chick
pass the finish line before him, and still did not move.
“What’s he up to, Doc?” asked Flo
Doc only smiled, because if he spoke there was a good
chance he would choke on his pride, on his emotions. Lightning reversed all the
way back to The King.
are you doin’, kid?” The King’s voice filtered through Doc’s
headset, passing through the communicator Lightning wore.
think The King should finish his last race.”
Lightning began to push the veteran racer towards the finish
line. “You just
gave up the Piston Cup, you know that?”
This grumpy old racecar I know once told me something. It’s just an empty cup.”
Doc’s heart surged, with warmth and affection, and he
knew that his worst fear had come true. He had feared getting attached to
Lightning if he stayed in Radiator Springs, getting permanently fixed to racing
and the world that wronged him. He had felt himself starting to soften, during
the race at Willy’s Butte, when he saw Lightning training to overcome the dirt
turn. He tried to fight it.
He wasn’t going to fight it anymore.
Lightning brought The King back to his sponsor and his
wife before joining his own team. He smiled softly at the praises of his
sponsors before setting eyes on Doc. Regarding the racecar, Doc said warmly,
“You got a lotta stuff, kid.”
He beamed, eyes lighting up with delight and pride.
Tex called Lightning over for a quick chat and, when
it was over, he rejoined his friends and Doc asked casually, “What was that
Lightning smirked. “What’s the matter? Worried I might
take an offer with Dinoco?”
“Well, you have fired three crew chiefs in one season,
which doesn’t surprise me. What’s a fourth?”
It was meant to be a joke, but Lightning’s expression
fell. “You read up, huh?”
“To satisfy my own curiosity. I didn’t mean anythin’
by it, son.”
“No. You’re right. I only cared about myself.”
“You were a brat. Happens in this business. But I was
wrong.” Doc shifted a glance towards Rusty, Dusty and Mack, who were laughing
with the others. “You cared, you just weren’t very good at showin’ it. Probably
thought there were other things more important, like status. But they saw
somethin’ in you. That’s why they kept you, why Mack stuck around.”
Lightning perked up at this and he smiled happily. “Yeah.
I guess.” He then grew serious. “But listen…I’m sorry. I was rude. I was
disrespectful. You tried to give me advice and I just brushed you off. Thank
you for coming today. It means a lot.”
“I have to apologize too. I was the one who called
those reporters in. Sorry, kid.”
Lightning laughed. “It’s okay. Actually, you lasted a
lot longer than I thought you would. I was hoping you’d kick me out of the town
the first day.” He paused and then said hastily, “I don’t think that anymore, of
“You thought backtalk and disrespect would do the job?”
asked Doc in amusement. “Gonna take more than that if you want to get rid of
Lightning eyed him hesitantly. “Um…I know it’s not
really an excuse or anything for how I treated them, but I never really found a
crew chief that I clicked with. But today…today was amazing. You really helped
me out. I know you said you wouldn’t come back, but you did, and since you’re
already here…would you maybe consider being my crew chief?”
Doc glanced at him. The rookie he butted heads with
for the past few days, the kid who made him revisit the racing that he loved,
who made him feel true joy again.
“Thought I already was, kiddo.”
Lightning’s smile was brighter than the sun in the
“All right, I’m here, where’s the fire?”
Lightning paused in front of the new Radiator Springs
museum, it’s fresh paint glossy in the light of the afternoon. “There’s no
fire,” he said in bemusement.
“Well, by the way you pestered me to hurry up and get
here, I figured there was a fire or some other catastrophe.” He then frowned. “You
and Mater didn’t break anything, did you?”
“No!” Rolling his eyes, Lightning led the way into the
museum. “I wanted to show you the new wing. It just got finished.”
He led Doc through the exhibits, which showed pieces
of Route 66’s rich history. They eventually came upon the wing Lightning was
talking about and Doc stilled. There were newspaper cut-outs of his racing days
blown up and hung on walls and canvases. His Piston Cups were polished and they
glimmered under the artificial lighting.
“…you said this was going showcase racing history,”
said Doc at last.
Lightning’s eyes shifted. “Yeah. Your history,
specifically, but I left that out. I wanted it to be a surprise.”
Doc slowly rolled across the floor, staring at the
physical timeline of his career, depicted in admiring, loving words and
accompanied by his keepsakes. “Was this your idea?”
“No,” began Lightning, but he was interrupted by his
girlfriend, who passed through with a cleaning rag.
“Yes!” Sally called. “He spent weeks working this out.
I thought it was an amazing idea.”
Doc stared at Lightning, who grinned sheepishly. “Well,
you’re one of the greats. You deserve a museum wing. I’m not taking any of it
down, by the way. You aren’t either.”
“I think you’re overestimatin’ the amount of folks who
want to know about my dusty racin’ days,” said Doc.
“I do,” said Lightning instantly. “I like hearing your
stories of your dusty days. I bet other people will too. In fact, on opening
day, there’s gonna be a line-up for this wing.”
Doc laughed. “You’ve got an imagination, rookie.”
“Fine then. If I’m right, you gotta race me.”
“All right then. If you’re not, you gotta race me.” At
Lightning’s confused expression, Doc smirked. “About time someone put you in
Lightning scoffed. “Oh sure, look who’s talking. You’re
on. Don’t be too disappointed when you lose.”
When the museum finally opened a flood of cars came to
see it and there was indeed a line-up to see Doc’s wing. Doc was touched and
Lightning was smug and boastful. Doc let it go, because he would show the
rookie soon enough that he didn’t know most of his tricks yet.
But he couldn’t wait to teach Lightning all of them.
We couldn’t be more thrilled for “American Horror Story: Freak Show” to kick off for numerous reasons, and learning that the hit FX franchise will welcome a transgender performer just makes our excitement for the show more palpable.
Somehow I’d totally forgotten about these spooky punk pants I painted, studded and stitched about two years ago. Pants, shoes and shirt are thrifted. Cool, misty mornings are exactly what I want in October.