For this one-page story, I decided to do something with having to sell a car. It was a strange prompt, but I had fun with it.
Arnie died six months ago. The doctors said he just pulled off to the shoulder leaned back in his bucket seat and sucumbed to a massive heart attack. He died very quickly, they said. The car, an ‘89 maroon Plymouth Reliant, was in surprisingly good condition for its age. Arnie kept it in his garage all winter, since he drove a plow truck as soon as the snow came, so it only had 97,000 miles on it. Plus, when the car was on the road, he kept the exterior waxed and the interior immaculate. No shoes, coffee, or food were allowed in that car, so when we had to go places together, I drove my car not wanting to put up with the hassle. And he was fine with that.
Still, the car’s been sitting in my front yard with an orange For Sale sign taped inside the windshield since he’s been gone, and I haven’t had any serious offers. When I listed it, I put it $200 below the Blue Book value, just so I could move it fast, though I knew it was worth the full listed price, and I’ve lowered the price two more times since and have yet to get a buyer. I’d keep the car for myself, except that I need the money right now. Plus, it feels weird to drive it, knowing he died in there.
It’s like a tomb on wheels, and when I drove it back to my place, I felt like he was still in there. It still has his smell. It still looks perfect, although on my way home, I wore my yellow Stanley work boots and pulled off to get a large coffee at a Dunkin’ Donuts, taking the lid off to drink it. Nothing spilled, but I wouldn’t have minded if it had.
I’ve moved the car closer to the road since it started warming up again, and I gave it a wash so it’d be nice and shiny and visible, but twigs and bugs and dirt gather on it so fast. And on the inside, I wipe it down with some of those automotive wipes about once a month, but the dust accumulates on the dash faster than it seems like it should, as though his skin flakes were still shedding from him, still depositing onto the deep red interior.