You got any ideas?

1970-Dodge-Charger

She is a 1970 Dodge Challenger RT. Ya know the one, like was in that film, vanishing something… anyways, when I got her she was as rusty and as bent as an old pie tin in a trash can.

Now, ha, well. I’ve sorta darned gone an put my mark on her, made her mine, all mine.

I spent hours downtown. Rented a workshop and kinda of lived there for a while, well like two years a while.

Sometimes I would sleep in the shop, not wash for days, not sleep much either.

I was constantly an oily, greasy mess. My hair was lank and I stunk like the ass end of a skunk. If I ventured into town folk used to stare at me, wondrin what the heck I was.

I found that look of total incomprehension plastered across their slack-jawed faces as funny as Fu… well. darned funny anyways.

Two fucking years I spent working in that workshop. Two years, just seemed ta be gone, like that.

Time flew by.

Time weren’t nothin though, not while I was working on her. Not until I looked back, an you know what?

A lot happened in those two fucking years.

My divorce settlement came. I spent all of it on tools and parts and spares and paint. Well not all of it. I got a little food and a bottle or two of Kentucky smooth.

I got the house from the settlement too.

I sold the house. Too many memories I did not want to be living with any more.

So, I moved here, to this small place out of town and out of the way. Moved the Challenger out here too, into the barn.

That’s where I finished her. That’s where I got her looking the way I planned.

Not once, not for one single, solitary moment in all those two years that sorta slipped away when I weren’t lookin, did I deviate a fraction of one iota from my plan.

She was my baby.

Everything under the hood looks pristine now, betta than when she was new, when she rolled off the end of that production line.

The pipes and hoses are coloured, pale blue for cold water, dark blue for hot. Red for fuel, green for oil and so on. What is not covered in colour coded silicone or paint, is inside woven steel cable or under bright, shiny, polished mirror chromium.

Inside the seats are covered in soft cream leather, handstitched by me, with deep pink piping around the edges. Just like the door and roof lining and the deep pile carpets.

Polished wood, chrome switches all original design. All them, along with retro dials completed the dash.

Outside she was sweeter still, real sweet if you know what I mean.

I covered my baby in a solid, shocking pink paint, metallic flake topped with seven layers of high gloss lacquer.

Like I said, I put my own mark on her.

She is now a sorta Barbie car, a ferocious, mean, growling bitch of a Barbie car, right down to the hood ornament.

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I designed it myself; a chrome plated sculpture of a severed penis. Yeah, you heard right. A small soft dick.

Just like my ex.

It puts the message out there. “Don’t you mess with this bitch; unless you want to lose your manhood.”

You see, two years livin in an oily back street workshop ain’t no place for a sweet girl likegrease me unless you gonna get something for keeps from it.  

And I was keeping my girl.

Now, all I gotta do now is find a real good name for her…

You got any ideas?

 

 

 

 

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Hitchhiker

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I am old school.

From a time when life seemed simpler, less hectic, less complicated.

It was not.

It was just different.

Some will say that, ‘way back when’, life was safer, people were happier, times were better.

They were not.

Life was simply lived at a slower pace.

But there was less fear.

Less anxiety and more acquiescence.

I think life was more honest.

We were more honest.

With ourselves.

Life holds risks. You have to live with that.

Take your chances. Accept the possibilities.

Face the consequences.

That is how it goes.

We recognised that fact.

We did not fight it, we acknowledged it.

That is what made life simpler.

 

Like hitchhiking.

Like the figure I see ahead of me now. Checked shirt, blue jeans, backpack, thumb-out.

Quite rare nowadays, hitchhikers.

Too much fear. Mostly unwarranted.

Phobia, nurtured and spread by the media.

But who should hold that apprehension.

The driver?

I could drive on past. No one will make me stop.

Is the hiker a danger? A mass murderer?

A Rapist?

Is their thumb a lure for the unsuspecting?

Or

The Hiker?

Simply travelling home.

Should they get into the car?

Could I be a psychotic killer?

Could I be the Rapist?

Is my car a trap?

 

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As I get closer, I see the expectant look on the hiker’s face.

A bright smile.

Willing me to slow.

To stop.

I feel a compulsion.

An obligation to a fellow human.

I have been there myself. Thumb out. Waiting, hoping.

Praying for the next car to stop.

To give me a ride.

A ride to somewhere warm. Somewhere with hot coffee.

The hiker looks clean. Normal.

Conventional.

I slow. Maneuver towards the roadside.

Stop, a few yards beyond.

Looking in my mirror.

Watching.

 

The hiker picks up a small rucksack.

Running towards me.

I lock the doors.

Clunk. Safe.

I can leave. Go.

Put my foot on the accelerator.

Speed away.

The hiker is close now.

My last chance.

Decision time.

A smiling face appears at the window.

I smile back.

Still time.

Go?

Stay?

 

I press a switch.

The window hums. Open.

Half open.

I hear my voice. “Heading North” it says.

“Me too” the hiker replies.

I nod.

The hiker smiles.

Expectancy.

I smile back.

Trepidation.

Time stands still.

Momentarily.

 

Click.

I unlock the doors.

My own thumb jerks, a backward motion.

“Put your bag in the back” my voice speaks again.

Autonomously.

The bag lands on the rear seats.

Drive away, I think.

Take the bag.

Go.

Now.

What is in the bag.

Some clothing.

An iPad.

Money.

Or the hiker’s life?

Their entire possessions.

A lifetime or memories.

Lost loves, lost mother.

A bag of dreams, hopes for the future?

Is that where they are heading now?

The future.

Thiers. Mine. Ours?

Has this moment inexorably entwined our lives?

Left an indelible mark.

Or just a scratch. Unnoticeable, hidden.

One that will fade, become rubbed out as life progresses?

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The door opens.

Blue eyes, bright teeth, pale skin.

The hiker sits next to me.

“Thank you” she says.

“That’s okay” I reply.

I put the car in gear, heading North.

Our lives are meshed. At least for the next one hundred miles.

If she makes it that far.

If I make it that far.

Who knows?

Life holds risks. You have to live with that.

Take your chances. Accept the possibilities.

Face the consequences.

That is how it goes.

You see, I am old school.

I know what makes life simple.

 

 © Paul White 2016


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Andromeda’s tears

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My yacht, Cetus, gently rises and falls with the sea swell. It is a motion I find comforting, a feeling further enhanced by the occasional sound of muted splashes as the sea laps against the hull.

The sun is low, an orange globe, slowly sinking towards the far horizon; the one we crossed earlier in the day, when the sun was at its zenith.

It was hot then. Oppressively hot.

The raw heat sucked the moisture from our skin, from our mouths, from our lungs, like a vampire drains the blood from its victims. Leaving nothing but shrivelled carcasses of dried parchment in its wake.

Now, I sit on the quarter deck. A flame from the spout of a small Aladdin style genie lamp flickers in the faint breeze; its feeble light still reflects and refracts from the etched glasses and the silver of the pot, from which Cassiopeia is serving sweet Moroccan mint tea.

Casablanca is lost to us, far behind in the darkness, beyond that far horizon. Ahead, barely visible in the dwindling light, is another. One we shall sail over in the morrow, as we make headway for the island of Seriphos.

Upon whose shores Andromeda awaits for our arrival.

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Phineas, has let his mouth become quarrelsome with his head once more. The promise of marriage fades, tears run down Andromeda’s cheeks.

Cassiopeia demanded we make this passage, before Poseidon becomes enraged with Andromeda’s words and lets loose the wrath of his jealousy upon the innocence of the young girl.

Which is what brings us here, to the centre of the sea as the night falls.

The sun, I am sure will hiss and splutter as it dips itself into the dark waters of the Mediterranean. Perhaps not, but that is how it seems from my vantage point on this deck.

The mint tea is refreshing, revitalising. It replenishes that which the sun has drained from my body and Sucked from my skin and eyes.

I lean back, the night air is still and warm. It hangs almost immobile, just brushed by the lightest of night breezes. The silence it brings forms an accompanying peace.

All is well with my world, for this moment.

Cassiopeia settles into the seat next to me, she rests her head against my shoulder.

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“Will we make landfall tomorrow, Cepheus?” she asks.

“If the winds be to our favour” I reply.

“Then I shall dry Andromedas tears” she says, kissing my neck gently.

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