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Tales on Tuesday ~ Speed Racer

Nessa of, The Chrysalis Stage, hosts a weekly writing theme called Tales on Tuesday.

The idea is to tell a short, short (500 words or less) story based on the week’s theme. To provide us inspiration, each theme will be the title of a TV show. This week’s theme is from “Speed Racer,” which ran as a television series in the United States from 1967-1968. Speed Race was originally a Japanese manga-anime production named Mach Go Go Go. If you wish to join Tales on Tuesday, please visit Nessa for the list of upcoming themes, and remember, your story does not have to relate to the series.

Speed Racer

A daring boy of sixteen years,
Still untouched by worldly fears
Went out to chase his cares away
In the early dawning day.

His car raced through the streets of town,
But the boy did not slow down.
One so young had not to fear
He would live through many a year.

Lady luck would be his guide
On his wild and daring ride.
But when the ride came to an end
This message I was told to send

This message without any joy
To the parents of the boy.
He didn’t see the light turn red.
I’m sorry, but your son is dead.

Charlene L. Amsden, 1975


I wrote this poem at 2 a.m. one morning when wakened from my sleep by a horrible crash. Not too far from our house the country road crossed the highway and somehow I knew the crash was fatal and that someone had died there. Despite the words of the poem, I did not know who.

The next morning in school, seconds after stepping off the school bus, I learned that one of the most popular boys in our class had taken his mother’s car joy riding and suffered a fatal accident. He died less than a mile from my home. Now, 35 years later, I remember only that his name was Jim, and the horrible crushing reality that death doesn’t care how promising your future looks.


  1. Too many of the young leave that way. We have ahad several deaths and injuries in the DC, MD, VA area this year. It seems that prom time brings out the worst in young drivers.

  2. It is a sad poem and worse that it actually happened. Funny how you can get premonitions like this and remember things like the name. It is well written. May Jim be resting in peace.

    1. Thom — thank you. Even though I don’t remember him well, I have also never forgotten him. He made an impact on all of our lives.

  3. That’s a very nice but sad poeme, unfortunately there are still a lot of young men dying on the street because they drive too fast or because alcohol and drugs. It got even worse here because there are more cars too !

    1. Gattina — one wonders why they don’t learn, but I guess that’s kind of difficult when the lessons are fatal.

  4. I remember living in Japan as a kid and LOVING the Speed Racer show. At odd moments I break into the theme song, much to the dismay of my children.

    Sad about Jim. Right now the MADD trailer, with the wrecked car inside it, is parked outside our high school. Prom and graduation season…our PTSA hosts an All Night Grad Party (ANGP) in an effort to keep the kids in one place, and not behind the wheel. No alcohol, and lots of fun. It’s a casino setting (minus the alcohol). Most of the high schools here do something similar. I believe it has cut down on accidents.

    1. Kelley — I highly approve of the wrecked car reminders. AND the all night parties with no alcohol and no car keys.

  5. Moving Poem Quilly, You are right about Death, I remember when I was in Grade 10 and one of the more popular teachers in our High School was killed in a Highway Accident along with two of his kids. The school never did recover from that accident that year.

    1. Bill — I was a sophomore in high school when this happened (grade 10) and we never quite got over it either. That year two male students were killed in different automobile wrecks, and one female student was raped and murdered on her way home after a school dance. Pretty much every kid in town on was lock down while the whole community reeled from the blows. To this day Candy’s murderer has never been found.

  6. How awful. My oldest son is well aware that it could have been him. He doesn’t appreciate us continually discussing the incident, but totaling a car has been a learning experience for his brothers as well, especially now that he is getting form letters from lawyers about his reckless driving charge and the upcoming court date.
    It is no joking matter.

  7. Wow! That’s a really incredible, gut reaching poem, Charlene! My nephew has totalled two cars and I don’t think he even realizes how lucky he’s been.

  8. what a sad and sobering accident and an eerie experience being awakened in the middle of the night by afatal crash, then writing a poem which turned out to be spot on…

  9. .
    Wow, Quilly! ‘This is where the rubber hits the road!’ Jim and all.

    Right away it got personal to me. I was golfing in a town north of here with friends. I vowed myself to drive carefully and to follow the speed limits going home That didn’t last too long as there was the matter of the Al’s Formal Wear truck going 65 mph in the left hand lane, holding back traffic. The speed limit on that piece of freeway is 70 although most people drive 80 in the left lane.

    I inched into the right lane and passed him like a bullet, over 100! Then I could see several others passing him in the right lane. After about four of the others the truck driver got into the ‘slow’ right hand lane.
    Texas does have a law that the left lane is for passing only. Not nearly enough tickets are issued for that offense.
    I was MORE careful driving the rest of the way home. Even so, my Ford Mustang likes to go fast.

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