Though decidedly ill-considered, the new “concept car” did have a certain appeal. It’s swept back windshield, resembling nothing so much as a pair of Bolero sunglasses folded in half after being crushed repeatedly beneath the expansive posterior of a Jenny Craig dropout, the rakish cut of the front suspension, all pulleys and gears and animatronic furniture pieces, coupled with the innovative, dare I say cutting edge(?) approach to the passenger compartment, forgoing bucket seats for a loose weave of hemp and lycra hung like a cargo net and worn like a corset, combined to give it a certain distinctive air of quality, as though to suggest, “Try me…you’ll like me. Or if you don’t, at least the scars will always remind you of me.”
Harrison knew right away that it was the car for him. No, they insisted, it wasn’t for sale. It wasn’t quite “ready” yet…they weren’t even sure if it was street legal. Harrison was undissuaded. Undeterred. The more he gazed at the gleaming chrome and polyvinyl exterior, the more he drank in the smooth lines and sudden, unexpected angles, the more he pondered the mismatched tires and madman’s pastiche of disharmonic quarterpanels, the more convinced he became that his life would never be complete without it. They insisted, he persisted. They demurred, he adjured. For hours they danced their convoluted, sweaty dance of irritation, enervation, attack, parry, stall, withdrawal, flank, infiltrate, deny, cajole and preen.
At some point, Security was called. The confrontation was sudden, intense, and incredibly brief. The tazer and the pepper spray worked their wily magiks, and Harrison soon found himself hogtied face down in the back seat of an aging Chrysler LeBaron, one retooled for Convention center security after having been reclaimed from the auction block where it had languished after being seized in a drug deal gone bad.
He panted breathlessly, snorfling in quick, sharp gasps of fetid, stale upholstery fumes, vapors resplendent with ghostly hints of unwashed mulatto hispanic gang-bangers plying their crystalline trade while eating cheap street-corner chalupas with the resulting aromatic effluvia.
All this was but a shadow, though, a half-remembered reality before which swam visions of the car. His Car. HIS LIFE! He would have it, possess it, infuse it and consume its very essence into his own. The LeBaron’s door slammed shut with a rusty clunk, and the pathologically nonchalant security team began to ply its laconic way towards the nearby police station, accompanied by the ear-splitting shriek of a fan belt slipping across an air-conditioning compressor pulley long-ago seized-up tighter than the rectum of a falsely accused effeminate-yet-heterosexual tax cheat on his first night in prison.
Years later, after three failed attempts to infiltrate the high-security garage facility storing the art-deco tribute to automotive performance art, and two stints in work-release at a halfway house resulting from same, Harrison found himself sitting on a street corner outside the now abandoned convention center, spooning with a half-empty fifth of Early Times, wrapped in castoff bubble wrap he’d found out behind Mailboxes, Etc., rocking gently to that tune from The Shirleys that he’d heard once in the Public Defender’s office and had never quite been able to get out of his head since.
He’d never given up his dream. Never. Even though it had cost him everything, he’d never forgotten her. Never forgotten their one night together, all those years ago. They’d never actually spoken words, but he knew, yes he KNEW their hearts had spoken, and that somewhere, out there, she was probably thinking about him, too. That one day they’d find each other, yeah, that’s right, they’d find each other, and it’d be okay, all okay, and they’d laugh about it all, and everything would be all right. Yeah, everything would be all right.
As he pulled down another mouthful of the burning sweetness still left in his bottle, felt it angrily fight its way down his much abused esophageal tract to splash with corrosive abandon across the frayed remnants of his stomach lining, he nodded to himself. Yeah, everything would be all right. Alllllll right.