Friday, May 15, 2009

Chapter 2 - Point of Entry

He took the first job he was offered. Pennzoil Oil Change, he updated his Facebook ‘Work Info’ as soon as he got home. He enjoyed the job, telling people he would "rather work on cars than work retail”. Every few hours he’d savor a sweet moment in a cool car. Facebook Mobile Upload - C4 Corvette gauges. He got home tired, accumulating money from sedation rather than conscious saving. He needed a hobby.

He spent $500 on a ‘sick paintball gun’. His quadruple digit checking account felt untouchable. On days off he’d shoot things in his backyard. But he was lonely. He bought WoW – he sucked. Bought a snowboard – sucked.

One day, a young Asian man entered Pennzoil. It was 2 pm on Wednesday.
“Year, make, and model?”
“91, but it’s a not original motor.”
“What do you mean?”
“Your computer – specs are wrong.”
“Two Point Four liter… fuel inj…”
“Two liter. Turbo. Look up Sentra”
“Okay, so it’s a Sentra engine.”
“Heh. Kinda.” His girlfriend shifted in the plastic lobby chair.

He took the keys and clipboard and walked out. The car was odd. He didn’t recognize the headlights, the seat was low and smelled like an old couch. He pushed the springy clutch and cranked the engine, it rose in an untuned strum, loud fan whooshing. He held the revs lightly, easing out the clutch. The car lurched and he stabbed the clutch back down. He saw the Asian watching, smirking in the lobby. He gathered himself and dragged the car onto the tracks to change the oil. The heavy hood popped. Ratty electrical tape and blue crimp connectors sprinkled the engine bay, but that wasn’t what caught his eye. Thick, swooping aluminum – he knew he had found relief for his swolen bank account.

He rolled the car into the parking lot towards the waiting Asian man. He got out of the car, acting unimpressed.
“You like that. I can tell.” He was used to the attention.
“Thnn. Pretty cool”
“Aight, see ya around.”
He nodded.
The Asian drove off.

Modified Magazine, January 2005, Walgreen’s. He recognized the headlights immediately. Thousands of California valley youth, like himself, blurred by tire smoke, stood behind construction barriers. Hands in the air. 5 megapixel cameras saving the moment forever. It could be him - someday they would cheer for him. He bought a car the next weekend. 1989, and it was his, and it was beautiful.

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