Riding Through the Desert in a Car With No Name.

Posted: December 7, 2014 in Nonfiction

While I was back in Indiana my car died. It was in Los Angeles. I left it with my roommate and it caught on fire I think. Or it went clunk clunk clunk and then quit working, or he sold it to elves. I don’t know, it was working well, she was on her last legs. Around 300,000 miles, and hard miles too. She was a Saturn L200. I bought her for 5 grand 6 or 7 years ago, and her took her for granted ever sense. When I got her, she smelled bad. Really bad. Like somebody died in her. I liked to think somebody did, but they didn’t, she just smelled bad. I used all kinds of cleaners and air fresheners. My dad used more. He can clean a car so well it’s almost upsetting, like when your mom can clean the bathroom after you just did it. The car stunk. One day I took my nephew to the movies. After I let him out, I realized he’d spilled a slushie all over the front seat, not on the seat, but down where your feet go, the front passenger floor. It was just soaked. I couldn’t believe the idiot didn’t tell me. I soaked it up and went on with my life. It got all wet once when it was raining too. I’m kind of lazy, so I never did a thorough job of soaking it up, just a towel stomp drying. I figured it would do. Eventually I realized my car wasn’t surviving mishaps, the wet was coming from the car. There was a leak or something that resulted in the front passenger floor getting filled with stink water. It almost doomed the car. My dad took it to the shop and he cut a part out of something. I vaguely remember him saying he wasn’t supposed to do it, but he did it, and the car drove smoothly and stink free for 240,000 miles for me after that. It literally drove from coast to coast, and from the UP to Florida too. I probably sat in that front seat more than any chair I’ve ever owned, and that’s saying something, I’m a very lazy man. I ate in it, I slept in it, I got laid in it, I had fights in it. It’s the first and only car I’ve ever loved. And I think it loved me too. The car always ran, and ran better than it should. I bent a tire all to hell one time missing a turn, a friend fixed it with a hammer and a block of wood, and it never once complained. The gas gauge broke, and once or twice I ran it out of gas, and she never once complained. She leaked a little bit around the back window, and would spill water in when I opened the trunk. I never pointed it out, and she never apologized. We just knew neither one was perfect.

240,000 That’s a long time inside a car. I think she thought I’d saved her too. I think she liked going to all those places. I think she even liked going in the snow in Michigan. We used to listen to the “Game of Thrones” audiobooks, and she wanted to see The Wall. She listened to a lot of books, and a lot of talk radio. She’d make fun of the church channels driving through Iowa. She hated the radio out East.

She brought me to LA and then died there. I wasn’t around when she went. I wanted to give her a Viking Funeral, I wanted her to catch flame and disappear. I was always afraid we’d do that¬†together. We got close once or twice. Maybe that’s what she was afraid of too. Maybe getting to die like a person’s exactly what a car would want anyway. Tucked away safe with other hunks of metal, to be salvaged when the aliens come. I don’t know. It’s weird that she just disappeared. It’s kind of beautiful. I’m going to think she drifted away like Jesus or Elijah. Three days after they junked her she just flew off in the air. Maybe that’s what the D1 or D2 gears I never used were for. I hope so.

If there’s a car heaven, she’s in there. Running drug deals from James Dean, or fucking a Jaguar, I don’t know what cars dream about.


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