Everyone has had a car that threatened to leave them alone and everyone’s said it, “come on baby don’t die I’ll fix you when we get home.” we talk with our cars; we make deals, a sort of promise to the universe.
I picked up this scrapheap Jeep from my dad, for five-hundred dollars. He wanted to light it on fire, instead I drove it. I turned the interior Dark blue and Lime Green, because the headliner I installed was that color. The gray trim and bright blue and green headliner made me feel unfinished, so I painted everything that lovely neon shade that makes the arresting officer include suspicion of hallucinogens in the report. The starter gave me hell; it ran on a toggle switch on many occasions. The radiator fan relay position on the circuit board, stopped working, the fans been running on a toggle switch for a few years. The power steering pump went out, never really cared about fixing that. The back hatch has only been held shut by a bungee strap for two years, the hatch is fiberglass and once it breaks the latch it’s ruined. Apparently it isn’t entirely acceptable to stand in the Wal-Mart parking lot cursing and slamming your door trying to shut it when it breaks, the arresting officer called it disturbing the peace.
The radiator had to be replaced, the old one used to spew water all over the parking lot every day for a month, right when I got to work. The windshield leaks water, directly into the built in tray in the center console that I had originally assumed was for loose change. The seats are gritty from the beach, for some reason I can’t get a vacuum powerful enough to get the sand out and the carpets from a dumpster, it’s far cleaner than the original floor. It has a sixty mile an hour paint job; it looks great on the interstate at eighty but, when you see me at the stop light you’ll wonder just how safe you are on the road with me. Nobody parks next to me at Wal-Mart, because of the horrible ticking sound from my rear end that continues for about 20 minutes after I park. I got around 14 miles per gallon when it was running right, less if I wanted to go the over 35 mph. The vehicle has required some form of maintenance every week since I got it and after dropping nearly two thousand into the thing, I let a blonde high school dropout drive it for six hours to get a kid to a doctor. Made them take a cab the second visit.
It wasn’t unreliable, it never left me broke down and stranded, so I never should have let my roommate borrow it for a day. He and his girlfriend picked me up from work in a cloud of smoke, they had managed to blow the majority of the gaskets and the bearings were gone from the crankshaft, not to mention the oil pump was fried. When I pulled on the main road, with ten miles before I got home, something loud and metal rumbled through the front end of my car slammed into the pavement and bounced up and slammed into the floorboard under the driver seat and bounced off into the grass. Then my jeep ran like it was getting shot at, idling insanely high, screaming like the exhaust had been removed, leaving a thick smoke cloud full of what I could only call hot embers. The delirium I experienced by being blinded and suffocated by smoke as I drove those dark roads home inspired a great level of fear. I didn’t want to crash and I didn’t want to stop and walk home it was cold and my jacket wasn’t exactly useful as much more than an illusion of preparedness I brayed and swore oaths promising to repair the Jeep if it got me home safe. I swore to the universe that if that POS got me home I’d fix it and after evaporating and burning off every fluid it had, it sputtered and died in the driveway.
Now I’m the first to admit, I never took good care of that thing, I paid 500 dollars and It’s a Jeep, who doesn’t beat a Jeep? I should have let my dad burn it back before I had money in it and this silly promise to the universe. Karma comes and gets you really hard when you break those promises. The worst part is it’s not even the cool jeep, just a four-door hatchback, with green interior and a luggage rack. Working on that motor is a nightmare, the alternator is sandwiched between the inner fender under the battery and the engine block, some knuckle busting required. The fuel pump gets coated in mud and spits dirt at your eyes and the brake pads don’t always fit. Replacing the motor means I’m going to have to pull the whole front clip (fenders, hood, grill and a punch of small parts attached with all different types and sizes of screw. The guys who designed the early 90’s Jeeps deserve their own special place, somewhere in the deepest dankest angriest parts of hell.
I am a slave to the cosmic entity of Karma because that Jeep Played Me!
If I ever get truly bored and have nothing to do, I will always have that malevolent sneer of the black plastic grill in the driveway taunting me with its need for attention. Over engineered to do remedial things like climb rocks and drive through mud, which is fun if you aren’t the spindly mechanic that would rather be doing anything other than work on the evil that Chrysler has given you. I hear them singing, those Mopars and their twisted sense of humor. Wish I got a bike instead.
Matthew Soresina finished his first Novel in 2013, Adventures of Complete Human Waste. Matt is a proud father and an overly opinionated citizen of Flagler Beach, Fl. He writes Transgressive Fiction, science fiction, and fiction that leaves him drooling in a corner cuddling with a box of Twinkies. If you see him out don’t let him see his shadow, he’ll spend another 6 weeks trying to make Zombies.