When automobiles die, they get buried above ground; usually by briars and bushes. Frank just needed a car that could take him into the desert and wouldn’t croak when he got there. Antique automobiles were strewn across the lot in a haphazard fashion. There were rusted parts cooking in the sun and some of them were bleeding oil into the grass, returning from whence they came—oil to oil, gas to gas, exhaust to exhaust. Frank noticed a barn in the back, faded, and missing planks.
He heard the characteristic sounds of an automotive shop, socket wrenches, air compressors, and off-tune whistling. When his shadow darkened the door, he noticed the barn floor covered in wood shavings and oil. Two feet stuck out from under a 1937 Jaguar SS Roadster. You can tell a lot from someone’s shoes. They were red Converse with mismatched socks.
“Are you the person I talk to, to see about renting a car?” Frank asked.
“I’m the one and you can rent any of my automobiles for 10 dollars a day?”
“What’s the catch?”
“Well… they don’t go anywhere. Most of them don’t have engines. You can work on one, if you see one you like, but many of them haven’t been touched in over a century.”
“I was actually hoping to drive one today.”
Drive one?” The feet slid out from under the old race car and a bewildered teenager with a spotty blonde beard gave Frank a quizzical look.
“I need to pick something up in the desert. You really don’t have anything that can take me there?”
“Well… I’ve just finished working on this car. It might take you where you want to go, a little too fast, if you know what I mean?”
“How much?” Frank asked.
“I’ll let you have it for a hundred, but each one of my cars is like family, so I expect you to bring it back.”
“You have my word,” Frank said.
Pete gave him the keys and the old prospector handed him a hundred-dollar bill.
Frank got into the Jaguar and turned the ignition. The engine sounded old, but strong.
He shifted into first and left the automotive graveyard, not noticing the hearse following after him.
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