Steve Randle was seventeen, tall and lean, with thick greasy hair he kept combed in complicated swirls. He was tacky, smart, and Soda’s best buddy since grade school. Steve’s specialty was cars. He could lift a hubcap quicker and more quietly than anyone in the neighborhood, but he also knew cars upside-down and backward, and he could drive anything on wheels. He and Soda worked at the same gas station—- Steve part time and Soda full time—- and their station got more customers than any other in town. Whether that was because Steve was so good with cars or because Soda attracted girls like honey draws flies, I couldn’t tell you. I liked Steve only because he was Soda’s best friend. He didn’t like me—- he thought I was a tag-along and a kid; Soda always took me with them when they went places if they weren’t taking girls, and that bugged Steve. It wasn’t my fault; Soda always asked me; I didn’t ask him. Soda doesn’t think I’m a kid.