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“Go, go, go!” Weston shouted.
His beetle inched forward, turned in a circle, and then ambled off the track.
Victor’s and Barnum’s beetles continued moving merrily toward the old hamburger patty set up at the finish line.
“No,” Weston moaned. “Turn around, dummy!”
He reached for his beetle, but Barnum smacked his hand away. “No touching the racers, that’s the rule.”
“But he’s confused,” Weston said. “Look at him, he doesn’t know where he’s going.”
“Pick a better beetle next time,” Victor said gleefully.
Weston growled under his breath. His beetle had to win. He didn’t know why, exactly, but it had something to do with the same reason the Junkyard shifters had their dominance battles. Bragging rights? An understanding of who ranked highest in strength, speed, and leadership? The alpha, Jase, was established. But after him, the hierarchy of dominance changed over time, shifting as often as the guys did.
The race wasn’t over yet—Barnum’s and Victor’s beetles hadn’t yet reached the hamburger.
“Come on,” Weston said. “You can do it, make me proud!”
But his beetle was resolutely walking off the track they’d traced in the dirt and off to a pile of coiled metal that may have once been the elements of a stove.
“Argh,” Weston shouted.
A second later, Victor yelled at his own beetle, because he’d gone off the track, too. Barnum whooped as his beetle continued toward the hamburger, but after a tense moment while the three gazed at its progress, Barnum’s beetle, too, gave up the race and wandered over to some shade.
“Well, fuck,” Victor said.
“Now what?” Barnum asked.
“Fangs or fists?” Weston said hopefully.
Barnum picked up the hamburger and gave the meat a sniff.
“Don’t,” Victor said. “Please don’t eat that.”
“I’m hungry.” Barnum broke off a piece of it and popped it in his mouth, then made a face. “Yuck.”