Another weekend has rolled around, and I'm about to let it get away without foisting an excerpt from my WIP on you. Please note that you dodged this bullet last weekend, and now it's time to face the music and take your medicine.
Today's tasty tidbit involves my husband's car-dealing skills. Hick wakes up in a brand new world every day. That's one of the things I love about him, how he has such a gusto for life, and sees the promise in things that my jaundiced eye would dismiss as junk. And now, your just dessert:
The $300 Car
Hick spotted the bargain on his way home from work, parked beside a mobile home just off our blacktop county road. It was a dark blue, two-door, 1996 Toyota Tercel. Written on the windshield with white shoe polish was the price: $400.
"It has to be a good car," said Hick, nearly breathless with excitement. "They've been driving it every day, but now I see that they have a truck, and the Toyota is for sale." Hick scans people's yards on a daily basis, mentally cataloging which items of their junk he can make his treasure. Because he was so pleased with his find, and because he needed a little car with better gas mileage than his Ford F250, I scrounged up $400 from my Hick Emergency Fund and sent him out to barter.
The minute Hick pulled into the driveway, a teenage boy came out of the trailer. "You can have it for $300," he said, before Hick was even out of his vehicle. "We got a truck, and now we need to get rid of this car." For me, that would have been a sign that perhaps this car was not a bargain. Twenty-five percent off the asking price before an offer was made. But I was not privy to this information until the deal was already done.
Hick came back home and grabbed a gas can, a sign that I might have construed as an omen. How good IS a car that won't run for the three-mile, downhill drive home? It had stopped at the row of mailboxes that marked the turnoff onto our gravel road. Fifteen minutes later, Hick arrived home, pulling the $300 car on his trailer. Strike three. The car didn't run, even after he put gas in it.
Hick thanked the teenage seller for his help in delivering the car, and drove him home. He then came to the house for our son, Genius, who was nine years old at the time. "Come help me with my new car." Genius skipped toward the barn with Hick, anticipation fairly oozing from his pores.
Five minutes later, Genius was back. He came running across the yard. "MOM! Dad caught the new car on fire. With ME in it!"
Here came Hick behind him, to do damage control. "I told him to sit in the car and push on the gas pedal while I shot ether into the engine. It blazed up a little bit, but I put it out with the fire extinguisher." He coaxed Genius back to the scene of the conflagration by promising him a ride if they got the car started.
A bit later, Hick and Genius pulled up in front of the house in the $300 car. By in front of the house, I mean front yard. Hick filled me in on the plan. "I'm going to drive it around the yard, so if it stops running, we'll be close to home." You can do that when you have ten acres. Genius struggled to put on a seatbelt. For a ride around the yard. In a $300 car.
Hick went back to the car, which he had left idling. It emitted so much black smoke that I could hardly breathe, even in the well-ventilated area of outside. After a couple of laps around the perimeter of the property, they returned. Genius got out. He had flecks of yellow-gold, crumbly material all across his back.
"What's that all over you?"
"Oh, that's part of the seat. It looks like someone locked a cat up in this car, and it clawed the seats trying to get out."
As I write this, the $300 car is parked by the barn, with two flat tires. It has been upgraded from Toyota Tercel seats to seats from a Porsche. You don't see that very often. Someone at work was going to throw away two perfectly good Porsche seats, so Hick volunteered to get rid of them for him. We still have the cat-scratch seats under the lean-to on the side of the barn.
Because you never know when you might need some junky seats from a 1996 Toyota Tercel.