Saturday, October 30, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: Saul and the Plymouth Fury

It was an authentic 1960’s Plymouth Fury. Over two hundred thousand miles and, if the previous owner was to be believed, still ran. No car Saul’s father ever owned lived that long. He ran his hands over the black hood, letting his fingertips trace the dimples.

Two hundred thousand miles was the easiest part of the deal to believe, and Saul took it all seriously.

“Hey there,” he said, speaking to a car for the first time in his adult life. As a kid he’d talked to them all the time. They’d never spoken back, barring the radio. “I hear you’re haunted.”

The Fury sat in his driveway. It did not speak. It did not honk or flick its radio to a rock ‘n roll station, which the previous owner claimed happened sometimes.

“Did you really kill that guy’s wife? Or was she just a bitch who texted while driving?” He took a step back and collected a brown paper bag. “I’m not taking anything away from you. I just want you to know, I’m on your side.”

He produced a bottle of Castrol GTX3 and set it before the Fury’s front left tire.

“This is the best oil in town, and I’m promising to change it every 5,000 miles. Screw what the owner’s manual says. Plus we’re only getting Premium gas. It’s already damned expensive, and if a couple pennies more makes you happy, we do it.”

Saul canted his head around one side of the Fury, regarding the two dents in the driver’s side door. “I’m going to offer something more. I know a parts dealer out of Michigan that can get you a new door, off another car. No way to hammer those dents out as-is. But I don’t know how you’d feel about that. So let’s say, if my foot doesn’t get mysteriously caught in the door like that guy warned me about, for the next three months? Then we do it. If it does, that’s all that needs to be said. Regardless, you get this.”

He added a bottle of wax behind the Castrol. It didn’t look impressive, but had cost the most of anything at the shop.

“Is it true they found a hobo dead in your backseat? I don’t think so. I think that’s crap. But again, I just want you to know, I’m on your side. Oh.”

His eyebrows went up as he remembered. He reached into his jeans and pulled out a pine tree air freshener. It dangled from his middle finger for a couple of seconds, wagging in front of one of the Fury’s headlights.

“I promise you will never see one of these. That shit has got to be offensive. You’re not a forest. You’re one of the best cars ever made and that smells good enough for me.”

With that, he pulled back on the air freshener and released, slingshotting the thing into the adjacent bushes. It could hang out there. Even if they were haunted, smelling like plants wouldn’t offend them.

“Think it over, okay?” he asked the Fury. It did not rev its engine or flash its headlights in magical compliance. He walked inside to get a soda, and to give the car a chance to run over the bottles of oil and wax before its tire in case they made it unhappy. It was only a few inches of the car to roll, and Saul was open to signs.


  1. Cue Queen's "I'm In Love With My Car"

    Pine tree air fresheners, hcompletely offensive. Funny stuff John!

  2. Excellent balance between humor and suspense. I was so worried that he was going to get killed at the end. Who knows though, right?


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