512 Words

The Automotive History of Me

Toby Estes

First there was the Festiva, a tiny little car that thought it was a 4X4. It spent its days barreling up and down sand dunes, in and out of river valleys, skiing on an occasional slope, and finally being washed away in the Mississippi with a storm.

Its replacement was an Aspire, another Ford, aspiring to be a real car. It too frequented the off-road trails and forded an occasional river. It too suffered an untimely demise, this one on a bike path, as luck would have it crashing into a pole meant to keep automobiles off the bikeway.

The third car was the first of many disposable cars, a car meant to be driven until a building landed on it or the engine blew up, whichever came first. Neither did. This car, the I-Mark, died of natural causes, or it would have if some crazy woman had not done a U-turn on the Freeway and hit it head on---on its owner's birthday.

Then came the Tempo, after the suspension anyway, and its destiny was apparently fulfilled with someone else behind the wheel. It was still intact when it was traded for another Aspire a mere 17,421 miles later.

The second Aspire, not having the gumption of its predecessor, lost its engine and its transmission the same time, merely 100,000 miles after its acquisition fourteen months previously. It was returned to the dealership from whence it came with a red bow on the hood with a polite note containing not so polite words---and the keys---taped to the bow.

The second disposable car, this one a Prelude, was the most reliable car in history ever to meet its match in the form of a raccoon on steroids in the middle of the mountains in Utah leaving the owner hitch-hiking back to civilization---if Kansas could be called that---along the side of the road reading---thankfully---a good book---on its owner's birthday.

Next came the first Nissan, another disposable car that survived 7,000 miles before suffering two consecutive fires, one in the ash-tray eventually making its way to the passenger seat---which was empty of passengers---and then to the floorboards, and the second fire on the engine. The mechanic proclaimed it good as new on inspection, then led the owner back to a "test field" where the car was "test driven" over a ramp and into and on top of clumps of trees and bushes until the car stopped running.

The next and last Aspire, earned by the last idiot who stood with his hand on it for 72 hours, was acquired for the sole purpose of experimentation, to see if it could jump a seventy-foot gorge in the Ohio Valley. It could not.

The fate of the final car, another disposable car, has yet to be determined, but had it a personality, it would probably be tossing around that famous old adage about normal people being boring, and hoping, just hoping, that it would have one last chance to find out whether or not this was true.

Copyright ©1999 Toby Estes. All Rights Reserved.

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February, 2000
Issue #46

512 Words