A Little Bit of Me

Jottings and Writing, miscellanous misgivings

Deteriotation of a Dream

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She sat in the in the vast expanse of the yard, her burgundy and silver paint glistening in the hot December sun. Martin’s jaw dropped as he saw the price tag affixed to her window but she was the stuff of his dreams. A 1976 Rover 2000 coupe, low mileage, one careful gentleman owner, meticulously serviced by a reputable garage for the 20,000 miles of its life. He had the money. God knows his life had finally turned for the best. His latest book of short stories had sold in the millions and the advance cheque for what was to be his second novel had paid his mortgage, allowed him to buy his mother a retirement home and left him with enough money to live comfortably for several years. Having the car of his dreams would hardly make a dent in his windfall. He opened the door and immediately his sense of smell was invaded by the odor of warmed leather and that new car smell. The front seats were worn enough to have that cracked leather look. The walnut dash was festooned with oil, water, and ammeter gauges with the obligatory speed and tachometer. Black switches protruded from every crevice and the marques distinctive crest took center stage. Martin turned to the salesman.

She stood in the driveway of the garage. Finally his. He shook the chamois and wrung it out and admired his handiwork. She gleamed as if she understood the affection that Martin felt for her, this inanimate object.

His writing had not been going well. He had thought that, if he had a sustained period of financial independence, it would translate into sustained creativity. Instead, he had found the opposite. Without the demands of a day job and the plethora of people surrounding him he had little to stir his craft. His days degenerated into long periods debating the merit of getting out of bed, then prolonged hours reading the daily newspaper with its diet of doom and gloom. The television that he had purchased only filled his head with second rate plots and dialogue and yet he could not remove himself from its influence. He thought of a drive in the car but a switched channel suddenly promised something interesting. He

Had begun reading Camus. A pile of books by Sartre, Dostoievsky, Solzyeniskn, and Kafka, built up by his bed.

A passerby would have only briefly glimpsed the car and thought to himself that something was vaguely amiss but couldn’t quite put their mind as to what it was. The normally immaculate car had missed a weekly polish, or maybe the offside tire was bald or the windows strangely uncleaned. He would have sped past and within a hundred yards not thought anything more. Indeed, the car had not been driven for several weeks and that journey had been through dusty and muddy roads ands Martin had just slammed the door sand left the Rover parked in the driveway in the hope that he weather would wash the grime away.

Martin realised that another day had passed when he had not gotten out of his pyjamas. He stood at the window and looked out across the street. Lately the shed across the road from his house had seen a lot more activity than it was accustomed to. Trucks and a range of cars drew up outside and bodies disappeared into a small green side door. Men shook hands and departed and a curious smell filled the neighborhood. Apart from Martin’s house the area was mostly unpopulated. Just a few senior citizens.  Martin saw his gaunt reflection in the window. He hurriedly drew the curtain.

He was becoming fixated by the shed. What were they doing in there? What was that man doing on the roof and what was that tool in his hand? And what was that smell?

The traffic policeman squinted as he tried to make out the objects that lay scattered around the Rover’s interior He could only make out vague brown shapes littering the floor, books and paper intermingled with food wrappings. On the back seat he noted an expensive laptop computer. He checked the warrant and registration and noted that, although current, they both had only months to run. He also noted the angry scratch down the passenger door and the broken wing mirror. He saw the matching gouge on the exterior of the garage door. Having nothing to write down in his book he moved back to his vehicle and departed.

Martin turned the letter over in his hand again. He had inadvertently torn the return address when he was opening it and could only make out Claudia …. PO Box 3… Welli….ton. The signature on the explicit letter was indecipherable. Claudia Samuelson or Samson or and Sam, he couldn’t work it out. She had spoken of a mutual acquaintance named Kristin but he had only known one Kristin and he had known her and her alone. Claudia talked about meeting again in a resort town. Was this some code? Was someone telling him something? He didn’t recognise the writing but the intrigue and tone of the letter were distantly familiar to Martin. He looked out the window. The shed shimmered in the afternoon sun.

She had driven past the car many times and had admired the craftsmanship of an elegant English vehicle. Now the car looked forlorn. One mirror hung from its mountings and the other had disappeared. Rust marks had appeared on the once immaculate exterior. The front light was smashed and the bumper hung askew. The driver’s quarterlight window had a crack in it and the paint had started to fade. She briefly wondered what might have happened in someone’s life for his or her vehicle to deteriorate like this. She drove on and in a few hundred yards her attention had transferred to the lovely display of daffodils in the local shop window.

He had crept out as the black of the night was slowly turning to a new day. He tried to open the front door of the shed but it was heavily padlocked and Martin’s feeble attempts at opening it failed. He moved to the side windows but they had been painted over from the inside and he couldn’t make out what was inside. The smell was more intense as he rounded the back of the shed. A mixture of alcohol and chemicals with a hint of something he failed to identify, but which made his eyes water. He saw a ladder leaning against the rear of the building and he moved it so that he could climb to the rook. Martin saw a skylight halfway across the flattened rear section of the shed and he crawled over the slippery surface and looked down. He could only see drums lining a wall, a bench, some sacking spread over the floor, and some trolleys. He craned his head left and right but nothing else came in to view. Martin heard a noise and saw a light come on. He crawled back to where he had left the ladder and scrambled down. Heart pounding he rounded the front of the shed and he saw on of the trucks that frequently visited the shed. Martin put his head down and hurried across the lightening street, past his car, and into his front garden. Breathless, a headache starting, his hands slimy with perspiration, Martin gulped a cup of cold water, and drew the curtain aside and looked back at the shed.

The Rover sat on the side of the road, its tires deflated. The driver’s side had a large rent in one of the panels. The rear window had a hammer size hole punched in it. The once pristine leather interior now smelt of damp and mold. The walnut fascia faded and peeling was missing a number of its important gauges. The temperature warning light hung from its aperture as if someone had ripped it out in a frenzy of ill temper at its message. The floor of the car swam in a mixture of water and soggy cardboard. She stunk.

Martin hadn’t meant to follow the truck at first. He had just got into his car with the vague thought of going for a drive; making up for the times he had neglected the car. Then he saw the truck of the weeknight before. He turned around and started to follow. At first, it was easy. Then the truck driver must have realised he was being trailed and his speed increased and he started making turns at every intersection. Martin, at first scared that something might happen to him, dropped back. Then, realising that it was broad daylight and things like he was imagining only happened on the white screen or the pages of a book, he maintained his old distance. Soon, they were in the country and the thoughts that Martin had before now returned. Suddenly, the truck swung into a muddy side road and disappeared from view. Martin tentatively turned the Rover down the road and followed. At first, he couldn’t see where the truck had gone to then he emerged in a clearing where the road abruptly stopped. The truck was parked and a man stood to the side. Martin frantically threw his vehicle into reverse and swivelled around to peer oiut the back window. Thre was loud explosion and Martin’s face was showered with glass. The last thing Martin recalled was his door being wrenched open and strong hands pulling him from his seat. Martin awoke in his car outside the front of his house. He looked around the interior of the vehicle. It was a shambles. He looked at his hands. They were covered in blood, glass, and scratches. A hammer and screwdriver lay on the seat beside him. The interior of the car was littered with fast food containers.

The young man’s head swiveled as he drove past the Rover with his companion. He urged her to stop and reverse back in order to get a better view. He had recently come into a bit of money, a legacy from a distant uncle. A car had affixed itself to the back of his mind. The “for sale’ sign didn’t say much. “As is, fair mechanical condition, offers, apply within’ with a red arrow indicating the gateway to the side of the garage.

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1 Comment»

  claudia samuelson wrote @

Hi – I read your short story which is interesting, but I’m wondering if I could ask you to take my name out of it, because it comes up when a person googles my name.
Thanks!


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