Five lives one glove box

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
The life of a car

Submitted: April 27, 2014

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Submitted: April 27, 2014

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Five lives, one glove box
 
 
1995
 
Richard Callow took a generous sip of his complimentary coffee, while tapping his feet. He looked at the V-TEC advertising in front of him, a sporty two door coupe taking a graceful turn, tires glistening and silver paint flashing at him, from the flat page. "Mr. Henderson will be right with you," a young sales rep, bouncing on the balls of his feet said, while all but sprinting to his desk to retrieve some paper work for another customer. After waiting politely another five minutes, Richard stood up, stretched out, and strode to the showroom floor. 
Bustling with activity, the sales reps danced a nervous counterpoint to prospective commissions, a hungry look appearing in one or more driven eye. Around this humming air, the warm bodies circulated , oohed and Ahhed at their potential vehicles. Richard wandered from an Accord, a feisty little CRX, and spent some time admiring a Prelude, that guaranteed a throaty roar from its exhaust, sticky tires melting in clouds of smoke, and immensely satisfying tickets, well earned. What made him pause however, was the Civic. The little diminutive car seemed plebeian, in comparison to his ambitious cousins, and spartan, when sitting next to the luxury packages. Richard fell for it immediately. 
Something about the rounded features, the almost cetacean appeal, like a friendly dolphin ferrying one about, from destination to destination.   It was four square, solid, and comfortable. It was Richard. Finally, a slightly a skewed Mr. Henderson appeared at his side, and began his pitch towards a V6 accord, LX, with a sunroof, leather interior- " I want this car," Richard said, with a smile on his face. The next day, Richard drove his new car home, to a duplex outside of Richmond. As he got out the drivers side, he looked back from the stairs. It seemed to smile coyly at him, as if to assure him, don't worry, I will be here.
It faithfully so, it was. The little car transported Rich to and from work, and out on errands. Trips up and down the seaboard, and sometimes, the two went on long drives around town, window rolled down, enjoying the gentle roll of tires on the road for hours. Richard washed it once a week, dutifully check the oil, and as the first year went by, he celebrated with a waxing, and a drive to Virginia beach. His coworkers had passed over other vehicles, and as they climbed up the corporate ladder, bought more expensive cars. Richard stood by his little blue Civic as the years rolled by, and the miles rose on the odometer. He was proud of his investment. One day,  A girl from the accounting department bumped into him on the way out of his office, and over the next year, moved into his life and his apartment. The car was privy to a couple of moonlike drives, and help propel their romance. It took stock and noticed, positively purred, when he saw Richard drop on one knee, at Shenandoah park, and asked her to stay, forever. The Civic was a compadre in the moment, as it hid the ring in its glove box, noting the excitement in Richard. At their wedding, they drove off in the Civic to the airport. It remained contently, at the long term parking, while they enjoyed a sun drenched beach in Tahiti. 
Then joyous news came. Another addition would join the happy couple. Richard and Denise hopped into the little car, on the way to tell her parents, when Denise noted," we are going to have to get a bigger car, for a car seat." Richard smiled, and took it in. It wasn't until after she went to sleep, he went outside, and looked down the stairs, at the reliable car. He sighed, knowing that life moves on, and things change, but the little car would be faithful, to the end, for someone else though. Other than a small ding on the driver side fender, it was in lovely condition, and would probably serve as a great trade in. 
1999
Doris prattled on, pretending to ignore the exasperated sighs of her offspring, as she continued about relations and acquaintances over time who had gone on. They pulled into Henderson and Palmers, and her son and his extremely sour faced spouse briskly walked in to the office, leaving her in the car. Like a child. She wandered around the lot, stopping at a Hunter green Lincoln Continental, a Toyota Land cruiser, and a formidable GMC truck from a bygone era that believed in large, tough vehicles. Nestled right by it, almost hidden from view, was a blue Honda Civic. It had a ding, but largely looked in great condition. It was only four years old, and not too shabby on the price. Her son and his wife lead the way out, followed by a tired sales man, who tried to keep up with their stride. " did you find anything, mother," her son asked, and she jabbed her thumb toward the blue car. " this will do, tell the ice queen she doesn't have to take me anywhere anymore," she chortled. The ice queen was aghast, and stomped over to their sedan. Later that day, Doris slowly pulled out, the little vehicle making its way to the highway.
The golden years turned out to be a blast, with Doris reconnecting with old friends all around the US. Summer trips to Vegas, coastal drives through Wilmington, even a brief, frigid journey to the icy thrall that Vancouver was held in during winter. As the miles rolled on, the car accrued more dents and dings, superficial scarring, but always started. Without the careful remonstrations of Richard, it sometimes went a little over on oil changes, and at 150,000 miles, finally received a transmission flush and a tune up, in little Swanboro, North Carolina, while admiring the ocean lapping onto the shore.
Summers and winters passed, and the golden years flew by, as the matriarch mad ether way around the continental United States, reliving old memories of the WAC with other gray haired denizens of the latter years, dutifully visiting funeral homes for her dwindling group of friends, and joyously partaking in family functions.  
She drove all the way to Santa Fe, medicine bottles rattling away in the glove box, time slowly running out.  Her friends slowly began to disappear, time taking its deadly toll in its later years. The little car could sympathize. as they trundled about the highways, newer models flew by, and concepts began to out number the lightly battered, little Honda. Time is a tickled mistress, even for DX models. One day, while passing through Denver, the little car arthritically wheezed up a mountainside, where Doris pull into a parking lot. She slowly eased herself out of the car, and walked her way up. An hour away, she began to suffer a heart attack. Two miles below, the little car sunned, with the medication in its glove box tragically forgotten. 
2004
Jerry muttered to himself, cursing softly, as the starter protested, the freezing air sharply piercing his lungs. "Here we fucking go again," he darkly ejected, his patience wearing thin, as he threw a dirty look at a passerby in his brand new sportster. He cranked the key as hard as he could, bending it again, as the car finally fired up, the engine not entirely up to it finest. The last year had been hard on them both. Jerry was taking a double course load, while working a full forty hours. The car propelled him, dangerously, in and out of traffic, squealing to a halt at stop signs, and rpms flying to the redline at every green light. The performance demanded of the abused, barely maintained vehicle was forcing it to a breaking point, and the same could be said of Jerry. Hours back and forth, back and forth. Notes, discussion boards, tests, then ten hour shifts at a poultry plant were burning the wick at both ends. Forgotten oil changes and poorly maintained parts began to wreak havoc on the performance of the vehicle. Jerry spent the majority of his time cursing his luck in the car, begging for a break, forgetting his lack of care, and at his darkest moments, silently cursing the old woman who left this pile of crap for his graduation present.
One day, the car just stopped. Jerry puzzled and wondered, he could have swore he heard a funny noise before the engine slowly died. Graduation was around the corner, and it was the hardest four years of both Jerry and the Civic's life. He petulantly wailed at the heavily beaten, defeated compact, and reluctantly called a friend of a friend of a cousin, who came over cheerfully. The short, well built man with the funny accent's name was Carmelo, and he cheerfully popped opened the hood. 
"Timing belt, man, your timing belt is broken. The head gasket is leaking, spark plugs are burnt to hell, and your oil looks like tar. " Jerry look despondently at the car, and kicked the cracked bumper. " you piece of shit! Why can't you just fucking work! I work every fucking day, and all you gotta do is start up!" Jerry went to kick the car again, but with surprising agility, the mechanic caught his foot with his left hand, from behind him, and tossed it back lightly. " to be honest, there is something else wrong with it. Someone forgot to take care of all of these preventable tasks. Replaced the gasket. Check the belt, look for wear and tear. Oil dip stick has been here all this time, probably the first time it's been pulled out, right? A little luve man, and she would be beautiful." 
Jerry rolled his eyes, and laugh. " when I graduated, my dad is getting me a new car, and my first job is at his firm. This was just a quick college car, to and from, I don't give a shit about this heap of junk. "
The mechanic looked back at the car quick, took stock of its aging, peeling frame, it's dented hood. The quarter panel had been smashed in, passenger side fender lightly rusted. Seats were holey, and broken. The windows in back were held up with duck tape, and the trunk lid was held with a strap. " six hundred bucks, I'll tow it," he said, arms crossed, legs slightly apart. 
2009
The scrap yard was ancient, a burial ground repeatedly raided by  1960s muscle spare parts hunters, thunderbird restoration enthusiasts, desperate families with one ailing Corsica, and a mix of customers. Carmelo tighten the springs, this afternoons particular labor an act of love. The hum of potential and twangy guitar drifted through the office, to the garage bay and floated out across the auto graveyard. Throughout the four months, in between the tinny dinging of the bell , alerting him to business, and the metallic clang of the old shop phone, he masterfully brought a aging, forlorn, decrepit mass of metal and grease, back to life. The transmission was changed over to a stick shift, stage two. The engine was pulled out, apart, rebuilt and sold. The replacement, with the new wiring harness, was a b16 block, with a mini me conversion head. Dents were pulled, surfaces sanded. The mauled little creature that was lifelessly towed into the shop months ago, was slowly transforming into a little beast, a work of art. After market coil overs were the latest touch, after Carmelo had lovingly mounted the sway bars, and replaced the barely functioning exhaust, headers, and filters, with JDM after market parts. 
One afternoon, after setting the timing correct, and fine tuning the precision machine, he let it idle, garage door open, deadly and sleek, taking in the brisk march air. He slid into the drivers side, filled with pride at the new leather interior, bucket seats, and other fresh furnishings. The paint job was the final touch, an Aztec tribal design coursing all over the hood, coiling down the fenders and ending with Jaguar Knights snarling from the jack knife doors. He cruised over the the freeway, and shift up swiftly from first, powered through second. He didn't break stride at fourth, and by fifth, he was a sharp looking blur, weaving in and out of traffic. That night, the turbo boosted import burned several other drivers, and made several hundred dollars.
This became a pattern, wear and tear, then Carmelo's touch to bring it back to optimal performance. The little car, it's first fifteen years a line between mundane, and perfidious abuse, was a high performance monster. It cruised, flew, drifted, wailed, growled, and sped through its life. At stop lights, young toughs admired the vehicle, sitting low, thrumming a chest felt tattoo as the green light sent it throttling, eating asphalt and regurgitating it fast enough to blur the dashes on the roads. The aggressive body kit, performance,paint, and infamous driver began legend in the underworld. Latin beauties giggled and poised on it, some of them ending up in precarious positions both in and out of the vehicle. The stakes grew, and grew. New people took the passenger side, people that talked of easy money with a need for the skill and service of the car. 
Cargo became its new toil, quick and easy money flowed. Like the high octane fluids that gush through the vehicle, a mixture of chemicals, synthetic and natural, moved the car and Carmelo through dark social circles, risky high speed acts, and crime. A lucrative endeavor gave a lift package and an enduro modifications package to the tuner. Night runs across large expanses of desert helped the owner, and the little car, shuttle it's illicit lifeline. Calculated schemes and plots filled Carmelo's coffers, and as the years flowed through the straight pipe and out the exhaust, leaving broken hearts and laws, both the Civic and Carmelo changed. Naive daring turned into malice and threadbare greed. Still, the ever faithful car moved through engines and intensive hours of modifications, parts and juices. 
" don't fuck this up again, Carney, or we're gonna bury you in that goddamned rice burner of yours. 11pm, you know the spot. Federalis are already taken cared of, just pull up, drop off, and get the fuck out. Got it?" The voice violently intoned, demanding no more fuck ups, no more junked out and drug riddled failure. 
Carmelo snapped back to focus, the hangover of  last night and the withdrawal burning through his damaged brain like the soul sucking Mojave. " aye, si si, I know man. " he hung up, and popped the hood on the Civic. The gasket will need to be changed again, and the new thermometer will keep the engine from overheating. Carmelo sighed, and closed the hood with tenderness. Over the past five years, the only faithful thing in his life, and even she could be temperamental. A gust of hot air brushed over his chapped lips and burnt face, and he patted the hood affectionately, then hopped into the car, starting up, and smiling at the powerful, F20b that thrummed under the hood, the flow running through the body of the car. Drugs and women ruined him, success destroyed him, and yet, she was still here with him. He took off the service road, rapidly accelerating, she topped out at 220, then slowly idled down to a manageable 150 miles per hour, a shiny bullet in the sun.  The DEA helicopter had a perfect view of it; as did the drone. The lead agent gave the go ahead, and a well placed truck, hidden in a grove off the service road, moved to cut off the vehicle. The car was well known, having beaten checkpoints and chargers all over the state. But not this time. The car suddenly jolted, then veered off the road, as it punched over the speed strip. Amazingly, from this high up, he could see the driver, his teeth gritted, expertly controlling the slide, and getting back onto the road. The truck caught up with the Mojave Ghost, as it was called on the target list,  and heavily armored agents exited the back and sides, M4s up and pressed to their cheeks, sights locked onto the car, where it had stopped. A large Caliber handgun went off, winging a field agents body armor. Control bursts cut the car to pieces. Rounds peppered the shaved doors, ventilated the hood, torn the interior to shreds. They ricocheted off rims, and a few chattered around the engine compartment, ending the life of the F20. 
The order to stop echoed out; the officers moved around the vehicle, and found Carmelo Ortiz, lifeless and bloody from dozens of wounds. The trunk was opened, and the prize, a large shipment of narcotics, were claimed by the triumphant DEA. The car was dragged off to a containment lot, where it was stripped down and exhaustively checked for anymore items. The search produced a few more unregistered weapons.
A DEA auction moved the title to an Elliot Guinness, owner of a small junkyard in plats field, New Mexico. A little man followed Guinness around the shop, notepad in hand, as he appraised the salvage parts. " after market headers, headlamps undamaged, control cluster. F20 is scrapped, damaged by a trigger happy DEA fusillade. You getting this Bud?" He asked, stopping his continuous circling of the vehicle, much like a vulture picking apart the most ideal portions of the carcass in front of him. Bud nodded enthusiastically, and the two men began to strip parts out of the little car. The shell and its leftovers were unceremoniously dropped and left in the corner of the wind washed, sun seared warehouse, with occasional customers coming to look at the infamous Mojave Ghost,  and greedily taking parts off of its formerly proud frame. 
  Despite the cannibalization of the vehicle, it still stood nobly, however forlorn the years preyed upon its parts. As time past, and it's sister Civics needed more, the car continually gave. 
2017
Meyer stopped his Acura Integra outside the lot. He was close to his quarry. He smiled, and walked inside, and after a moment, went out back, towards a warehouse forgotten by time. The rusted door, eaten by the desert, made a mournful cry as it was wrenched back, and light filtered in, millions of motes of dust encompassing Meyer and Bud, as they walked to the back of the warehouse. They stopped in front of a pile of parts. Meyer whistled low, and smiled. " so this is it, eh?" He squatted down, and leaned back on his haunches. " I've been looking for you since 2010." He stalked around the former champion, and took a mental note. Bud interrupted his revery. " the boss man sezs ita be five hundre dollers mista." Meyer smiled and nodded, running his hands over the hood. Bud again interrupted his fantasies. " Why even bother with this thing. Excuse me for sayin', but yo muney mighta be spent betta on wune of them newa cars witha onbaord assistan, the autodrive, gps-" Meyer shook his head. " I always as a kid, remembered this car beneath my window. It was a neighbors, young dentist. I always told myself, one day, I'm going to have a car just like it. To hell with the rest, I want it you can't put a price on a dream or a memory." Bud went outside and began the paper work, called for the dolly, while Meyer stroked a fender. " welcome home, honey. When I'm finished, your going to purr again."   He could already see in his mind, the blue resurrection flitting down the coastal highway, keeping pace and blowing away the green revolutions softer kin. He couldn't wait. 
 


© Copyright 2018 Meyer Woofe. All rights reserved.

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