Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Ten Lives

    An audio version of this post can be found at:

"Try it now," said Hank.
   I crossed my fingers and pushed the starter. The engine groaned and sputtered. "Nothing."
   "Okay, turn it off," said Hank.
   I turned off the key and pried myself out of the tiny cockpit. "Man, these things weren't built for tall people."
   Hank stood up and wiped his hands with an oily rag. "They weren't built to last either."
   Uncle Billy stood near the door of the old garage shaking his head, his face still reflecting the disappointment of seeing his new treasure in a state of dilapidation. "I can't believe we drove all the way to Minneapolis for this wreck."
   Hank tried to console him. "It's not so bad, Bill ... a little paint and some TLC ... it'll be fine."
   "It's a piece of junk," said Billy.
   I nodded slightly. "I thought his wife told you Bernie had restored it."
   "That's what she told me ... I guess what she meant was that he thought about restoring it."
   "Well, that's not entirely true, Bill," said Hank, "it's obviously been worked on ... it just wasn't finished."
   "It's finished, all right," said Billy.
   "No, I think Hank's right," I said, "there are several new parts on engine and the paint has been mostly stripped ... it's probably drivable."
   "Over a cliff, maybe
   "Hey, these things are classics," said Hank. "Do you know what a restored Jaguar XK120 is going for these days?"
   "The key word is restored," said Billy, "I doubt that this thing is worth the powder to blow it up."
   "Look, Uncle, we drove all the way here to pick up the car Bernie willed to you ... and we're going to bring it back with us."
   "I think you're more interested in this rolling junk pile than I am," said Billy.
   I flushed a little. "It is a classic, Uncle ... I think we can restore it ... if we can get it home."
   "That's a big if," said Hank. He leaned back over the engine and jiggled some wires. "Try it now."
   I squeezed back into the driver's seat and pressed the starter. The engine groaned and sputtered again, but this time a few spark plugs fired and it coughed to life.
   Hank stood back, a big smile on his face. "How about that," he said over the noise of the rasping engine.
   Uncle Billy moved closer and stared at the vibrating motor. I pried myself back out of the car and stood next to him.
   "You honestly think we could drive that thing back to Michigan?" he asked.
   "Well, it'll be a challenge, that's for sure."
   "Challenge?" he answered. "More like a quest."


  1. I can see an adventure about to unfold...

  2. Alex: Kinda like me trying to get out of that thing!