The Nitro Joint w / "Chicago Jon" Hoffman

A Christmas Carol  Retold for Drag Racers

“I was a captain of industry; feared by men, adored by women...”

"Adored! Come on, let's be honest, Lew. You PAID for the women!”

- Lew Hayward (John Forsythe) and Frank Cross (Bill Murray), SCROOGED, 1988    

Chicago Jon has returned home from the umpteenth mundane day-job Christmas party. Feeling not much better after doing several vodka shots in his downstairs bar, he grabs some potentially moldy leftover cheese dogs out of the fridge, which the wife warned "You BETTER not be eating those nasty-ass leftovers!", and flops on the couch, and punches up an old rerun of Charles Dickens’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL on the TV. He drifts off to a restless sleep....


(Chicago Jon is seated at his desk, going over receipts and staring at the mindless dreck that is social media on his computer, when a gust of wind blows the door open. He is shocked to see, standing in the doorway the Ghost of...WALLY PARKS!)


Jon: Wow, Wally Parks! If I knew you were coming, I'd have baked a cake, and charged people 17 dollars a slice...


Parks Ghost: Oh yeah, funny, snarky little man! I have come to warn you of your negative ways and attitudes.


Jon: Don't tell me, let me guess, three more ghosts are coming, right? And weren't you supposed to be that other guy, Bob Marley? Anyway, what’s all that junk behind you? (pointing to the shop-brooms and various sacks chained to the waist of Parks Ghost)


Parks Ghost: Kitty litter, gold-dust and BROOMS! THAT was the track-prep in my day! No one wants to pay to see tractors and Zamboni's! The sport has gone astray, and you writers must help it find its way BACK!


Jon: O.K., astray, ASHTRAY, whatever is going on, it's not my fault, alright? And you, you're probably just those moldy cheese-dogs, combined with RUSSIAN vodka, poisoned by Chernobyl, messing with my head. Be gone with you!


Parks Ghost: Expect the first ghost...SOON!" (He dissipates, Jon waves his hand through where it was, shrugs his shoulders and retires to bed.)


(Chicago Jon is awoken from his sleep by the sounds of the hustle and bustle of a car show. He leaves bed and steps into what USED to be his living room, only to find it transformed into the exit to the parking lot at McCormick Place. At the base of the down-escalator is a familiar face, he of white hair and Zubaz pants, resplendent in his best air-brushed T-shirt, smiling and handing out flyers)


Jon: Broadway Bob, is that YOU?


Ghost #1: Ah, yes, well, ahhh...no, I am the Ghost of Drag Racing Past. This is merely how you choose to see me....


Jon: Well, kudos to the guys in central-casting. OK, spirit, what have you got to show me? No point kicking and screaming at this point, right?


Ghost #1: Yes, that is true, here, put these on (handing Jon a pair of BatMan sunglasses) and grab hold of my shirt-tail, we are taking a journey.


Jon: Whoa, no kidding, didn't see THIS one coming, and WHAAAAAA!!!


(Chicago Jon and The Ghost of Drag Racing Past whisk through time and space, landing at a place precious to Jon’s youth.)


Jon: Why, this is Great Lakes Dragaway, but it's 1971!


Ghost #1: Yes, now come on, Mister Expert, you can do better than that.


Jon: It's Memorial Day Weekend, this is The Olympics Of DRAG RACING! It's my first race EVER! This is AWESOME!!


Ghost #1: Do you remember anything else?


Jon: You gotta be KIDDING ME, right? Garlits is gonna blow up a supercharger -- I thought it was the end of the WORLD! Some wheelstander called the Trash Truck will hit the Fugitive Corvette, then take out three billboards! Look, over here! It's those crazy turnstiles, Van DalWyck took those to Kahauna with him when he left, back then you still had to buy a pit pass.


Ghost #1: Do you remember how to get to the pits?


Jon: Remember? I could walk it BLINDFOLDED! OK, dammit, knock it off. I see what you're doing here! Yeah, I'm young, and HAPPY! I'm not all crabby and cynical yet, blah-blah-blah...but look, the place is PACKED! There must have been a heckuva, uhm....


Ghost #1: You're wanting to say website, or something social-media related? No, back then the (doing sarcastic-finger-quotes) SOCIAL MEDIA was getting out with the people, shaking their hands. Looking them in the EYE, asking if they’re having fun and handing them a flyer. People got involved because they were made to feel important, and that we were putting on a special show, just for them. Not by clicking on a vertical-thumb or signing a worthless online petition. CARING about people, that's what is missing today.


Jon: Oh, come ON now, you can't hang the indifference of today on ME, why, just the other day I shared a link on my farcebook-page about caring more, and WHAAAAAAA!? (Chicago Jon is sucked skyward into a spinning vortex, and drops from the sky back into his bed back home, just as the clock strikes two.)


Jon: (mumbling) Mom said there'd be days like this.... (From the next room a bright light can be seen, and a voice beckons.)


Ghost #2: Come, COME!! Do not be afraid, I am here to HELP YOU!"

(Jon enters, and immediately must suppress the urge to laugh uncontrollably. Seated on a throne, with long flowing robes and wearing a crown is what he believes to be Herve` Villechaize -- which is not the case)


Jon: SO, uhm, Ghost of Drag Racing Present, I presume?' (snickering) Ahh, how do I address you, Ghost? King? This is your clambake, what do I call you?


Ghost #2: - (in a noticeable Texas accent) "Well, just don't call me late for DINNER, amigo! And as far as KING, well I'm the 2019 King of TOP FUEL! In your world I'm Steve-O! Why, what are YOU seeing?


Jon: Oh, yeah, that's it, EXACTLY.... Man, those guys in casting are just CRUSHING it!


Ghost #2: How's that again?


Jon: Nothing, nothing. Uhm, did you have a safe trip here? Took the bus, did'ja?


Ghost #2: BUS? Man, that's for PEASANTS, I got my own Lear Jet! You know, the Plane, THE PLANE!


Jon: (doubled over in hysterical laughter) STOP IT! You’re KILLING ME!


Ghost #2: Time is money, we got places to be. (Ghost of Drag Racing Present snaps his fingers and instantly he and Chicago Jon are in the pits at Route 66 Raceway.)


Jon: Boy, the last Ghost was far more dramatic.


Ghost #2: You want drama, go watch Playhouse 90. What do you know about this place?


Jon: Well, it's Joliet. I have a great time every year when I come here. There's this steakhouse called Al’s and...

Ghost #2: Hold on there, amigo, did you just say you always have a great time?


Jon: Yeah, but I...


Ghost #2: But you and the other writers are always bitching and whining that nothing is like it was, and everything SUCKS -- isn't that right?


Jon: Well, that's my job, what do you WANT me to do?


Ghost #2: Maybe a little less ‘seventeen-dollar nachos and the-room-had-roaches’ and perhaps, just a little more HAPPY! These are trying times, maybe dwelling on SUCKS is the problem after all, and you want some DRAMA?? Check out THIS schizzle! (With that Ghost of Drag Racing Present hunches up, and extends his hands like Emperor Palpatine, shooting lightning-bolts at Chicago Jon, blasting him back to his bedroom.)


Jon: I am having the WEIRDEST day.... (With that, the opening strains of Metallica’s FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS come booming from the next room.)


Jon: This can't be good... (Jon opens the door and is not surprised to see a huge figure, shrouded in black robes - CLEARLY, the Ghost of Drag Racing Yet To Come.)


Jon: Nice entrance there, Sparky. Hey, let me turn the jams down. (As Chicago Jon walks to his Marantz receiver and turntable, The Ghost simply points at it, melting everything into a pile of goo.)


Jon: Oh, real NICE, Skippy! That was an original pressing; Patrick Capone gave me that for my BIRTHDAY! Man, don't be such a douche-ba..' (Ghost begins raising his hand again in the direction of Jon’s collection of Deep Purple albums.)


Jon: OK, OK, I get it, I GET IT! You Da MAN, I fear you more than any other spirit I've seen before, yadda-yadda-yadda, let’s go see horrible stuff that the future brings! (With that, Ghost of Drag Racing Yet To Come sweeps his arm, and he and Jon find themselves at 7287 River Road in Byron, Illinois.)


Jon: Well, that's the Rock River over there, so if I turn around, I'll be looking at Byron Dragway, so let’s just... (Jon turns to see locked gates, the tower boarded over and a billboard that says COMING SOON: BYRON BIRD AVIARY.) What? WHAT THE FUDGE!! You're gonna hang this on ME?!? (Ghost #3 shrugs.) I knew there was a zoning commission meeting, but we were watching BETTER CALL SAUL that night! This SUCKS! It better not get any worse, Dude!


(Ghost #3 begins walking eastward on River Road and Jon follows.)


Jon: This is just stuff that MIGHT happen, it doesn't REALLY have to happen, I've seen the movies! Hey, I'll make you a deal. If I actually read the BOOK, you'll make it right, RIGHT? Well, at least the CLIFF NOTES, 'cause that book-thing has gotta be long as... (With that, Ghost of Drag Racing Yet To Come slowly raises his fists, and slams them downward. A huge explosion ensues, and when the smoke clears, he and Chicago Jon are standing in the middle of Highway 136, looking at Litton Trailer sales in Clermont, Indiana. The sound of heavy machinery and stench of diesel fumes fills the air.)


Jon: So help me God, if you've done what I THINK you've done.... (Jon turns around wanting to see Lucas Oil Raceway, but it has been scraped off the planet, as bulldozers move back and forth, skirting a billboard that proclaims COMING TO SERVE YOU BETTER: THE LATEST WALMART SUPERCENTER!)


Jon: Indy? You're taking INDY AWAY?! That's IT, FORK-STICK! Deadman, you're a DEADMAN! ENOUGH, ENOUGH, ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!'


(As Jon begins punching and flailing away at the Spirit, he feels a yanking and tugging on his shoulder.)


Jon... Jon, Honey? WAKE UP!!


(Jon awakens and finds he is curled up in a ball in the corner of his living room like a little bitch, drenched in sweat and clutching a wastepaper basket, presumably to puke into. His wife is shaking him awake)


Mrs. Chicago Jon: Good Lord, you must've been having some nightmare! All the screaming and stuff, you scared the cats so bad they're hiding in the basement. I TOLD you not to eat those nasty cheese dogs.....you IDIOT! What happened?


Jon: Tell you later, I've gotta go write a column.


‘Til 2020, time to say, C-YAAAAAA!!! 



official DRO sponsors

 © 1999-2020 - Drag Racing Online and Racing Net Source LLC - 607 Seib Drive, O'Fallon, MO 63366 Phone: 636.272.6301 - Privacy Policy

fficial ponsors