Category: Sunday Stories

By on April 6, 2014

fiero

DETROIT, MI — A spokesperson for Generic Motors confirmed today that the company will be recalling approximately 2.34 million vehicles built between 2008 and 2013 for a defect in which activating the seat heaters can cause a certain chemical reaction in the driver and passenger seats, leading to sudden changes in the foam seat padding and spring structure that can lead to a loss of control.

0. Engineering Division, Generic Motors — “Tell me how this happens again?”
“It’s complicated. Sort of. When you hit the seat heater button twice in a row within a second or so, the controller shorts out and causes the heating element to leak one of the chemicals into the foam. It makes the foam heat to about 500 degrees Celsius, at which point it escapes the seat through, ah, the circular aperture in the spring plate.”

“Which means…”

“Which, ah, means that there’s what you can think of as a hot jet of, well, a plasma kind of foam, almost, that exits in a columnar fashion from the top of the lower seat bolster near where it joins the hinge.”
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By on March 30, 2014

junkyard

By the time Nick picked up 40 West in Nashville, with hours left to go and the setting sun still bright in his eyes, he was reasonably sure that he was going to lie to this woman, that he wouldn’t bother to continue on to Texas with her, that he’d make a clean break, that he would end it. He would end it in Memphis, let it go, sacrifice this woman on the altar of his precious emotional distance. She was expecting him to go to her father’s funeral with her; for some reason she was afraid to go alone, demanded that he support her in this. Insisted that he assist her in turning their casual relationship into the sort of thing in which you attend funerals with the other person, hold them while they vibrate tears out of their shuddering bodies, shake a manly hand with the sweating uncles, purchase and wear a Super 150s suit valued at somewhere north of four thousand dollars and purchase it in black because that’s what you wear to a funeral and nowhere else at all.

By the time he was clear of the city limits and past Jackson, by the time the sun was gone, he was certain.
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By on March 9, 2014

minivans

“Saturday morning, Studly!” Jimmy slurped aggressively from his third cup of coffee. Over his shoulder, past the tall plate glass of the recently remodeled dealership, the sun was just starting to rise. He punched me playfully on the shoulder. “Another chance to make yourself rich and famous.”

Jimmy was one of the more tenured salespeople on my lot. His ever-growing paunch, concealed by the poly blend polo we all had to wear, sagged grotesquely over his belt, severely testing the strength of the waistband of his worn cotton khakis. He had been athletic at some point (or at least the pictures on the wall of his cubicle suggested he had), but now his six-foot three inch frame showed the wear of three years of seventy hour workweeks. Undoubtedly, Jimmy had consumed enough coffee and food from the roach coach to kill normal men.

I had not.
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By on February 9, 2014

LFA2

It happened slowly, and yet, quickly. I had been driving along the same route to the airport that I had driven every Monday morning for the last three years—part of the happy responsibility of traveling for a living. My CFO title had given me the luxury of living anywhere I wanted within reasonable distance of an international airport with daily non-stops to Paris, London, and Berlin, and as such I had picked Atlanta. Decent weather, good nightlife for a single, well-to-do man, and for a lifelong car guy like me, the culture there was phenomenal. Sometimes, I would just sit on the balcony of my condo in Buckhead and watch the spontaneous high line car show that happened every weekend on the streets of the trendy neighborhood. And, when I was inclined so to do, I would call down to the valet staff and have them bring around the trump card—my Lexus LFA.
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By on February 2, 2014

go_kart

“Don’t be ridiculous, young lady. You need something SENSIBLE.” Jamie sat at the kitchen table, her head in her hands. Week 5 of the search for her first car had just dawned, and she was about ready to give in.

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By on January 26, 2014

1994-volkswagen-jetta-gl-iii_19430373

“I don’t think that I have to tell you that speeding is f**king stupid, do I?” The old man had never been one to mince words, and certainly not when he spoke to me.

“No, sir.” From my front passenger seat in his meticulously clean Mercedes E klasse, I could see the needle of his speedometer ticking past seventy. The speed limit on this particularly serpentine road near the river was fifty. It didn’t come as any surprise at all to me that the old man was failing to heed his own advice on a subject. He was often a walking contradiction. He spoke of the importance of honesty, yet he lied every night to us regarding his whereabouts. He spoke of discipline, yet couldn’t discipline himself enough to avoid the temptation of women other than my mother.
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By on January 19, 2014

PONTPC3

“It was the summer of ’92, and all I wanted was to be in Seattle. You know, like every other mopey kid with long hair, a flannel shirt and a guitar. But I was 16, with no license and no car. And I lived in Connecticut. It was time to get creative.”

I met Bryce by accident at one of those grad school functions everybody goes to just for the free food. He was your stereotypical late-in-lifer; one of those smart but hopelessly anarchic types that screwed around for two decades, accidentally aged past forty, and finally decided he needed a real career after all. The old grunge tattoos were a dead giveaway, as well as the black crewneck over jeans. He found me more tolerable than the milquetoasts sipping virgin martinis; I felt the same way. Besides, I needed a good subject for my biography class.

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By on January 5, 2014

 

Lumina

“Coach says I’m not allowed to leave you alone until you’ve bought a new car.” The game was up, apparently.

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By on December 22, 2013

parisienne

They’d been on the freeway for maybe half an hour when the first joint appeared between the fingers of Serious D’s right hand, briefly flaring in the rear-view mirror as D took a long draw and passed it over to Premiere, who bogarted it with a pair of puffs before handing it forward to The Emperor, who swore under his breath as the lit end briefly touched his knuckles. Premiere and The Emperor started fussing with each other trying to negotiate the passing of the joint into the Pontiac’s front seat.

“Just turn it around, man, I’ll grab it.”

“I can’t see your hand.”

“What does it matter?” Scott reached down and twisted the Parisienne’s headlamp switch, flooding the interior with a sickly yellowish glow. “Got it now,” The Emperor noted with satisfaction, puffing it to a roach as Scott turned the dome light back off. “Hey man, you want to finish this off?”

“No,” Scott heard himself say, “someone has to drive us home.”
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By on December 8, 2013

Several months ago, when he assumed the editorial responsibility for the The Truth About Cars, Jack Baruth made a the readers several promises. Among those promises was a commitment that this web site’s home page would be “100% work safe.” Anyone, he said, should be able to visit this website any time and not have their career put in danger. NSFW material could still be published, he promised, but it would always come with a warning and be kept behind a link.

This week, I found out first-hand that he meant what he said. Ladies and gentlemen, the following story begins with certain language that, if taken out of context by someone in your place of employment, might get some of you into trouble. Click the following Sunday Story link at your own peril.

I look forward to reading your thoughts on this work in the comment section. – TMK Read More >

By on December 1, 2013

camry44

Kreutzer was too damm old for this. It had been a mistake to go back to the orphanage, but he couldn’t bear the thought of those small faces going hungry one more night. The briefcase from the last job would keep the bills paid for at least another year. It was worth it, but they had been watching.

They hit he as he exited on the ground floor. He quickly dispatched the first two but a third managed to get a solid shot to his ribs before Kreutzer’s notorious right hook sent him crumbling to the ground. But there were more.

There were always more.
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By on November 24, 2013

1927 Ariel 557cc
This simple story is true, as told to me by the redoubtable Malcolm Parry.

The road through the Dinas Maddwy pass leads high up the Welsh mountainside, snaking its way through the bracken nestled between craggy peaks. Look on a map, and you’d see it languidly slither up the hillside, the surrounding terrain marked with consonant-packed place-names of a sort unpronounceable without at least a pint of phlegm in the throat.

Here, in the still and lonesome bleakness, a clattery flatulence, a cacophonous blattering – the sound of a small displacement engine as busy as a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest. Up and around the blind bend comes an unlikely-looking and overladen yoke. It’s an Ariel motorcycle – 1927 model, 557cc side-draft single-cylinder – bolted to a homemade wooden sidecar, a kayak lashed to the sidecar, the whole contraption stuffed with duffel bags, tarps and what appears to be some sort of collie, helmed by a large man with a boy riding pillion.

The whole shooting match must add a quarter-ton to the Ariel’s normal carrying capacity, and the bike is nearly incandescent with the effort; were it a horse, flecks of foam would streak its flanks and eyes roll madly with exertion. At last, it can bear no more, and stutters to a halt halfway up the mountainside. Read More >

By on November 17, 2013

prisoner-620x324

This week, we lined the seventy-eight prisoners up in the old football stadium. More for practical reasons than anything else; there were a lot of relatives involved and we needed to make sure they saw what happened before they, in turn, were sent to the camps. I think it was the first time that it had been used since the sport was banned by my predecessor a few decades back. The drifters that live there now were a nice touch. Added a sense of desperation to the whole event.
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By on October 27, 2013

Photo courtesy of: Rustingmustangs.com

It was all their fault, you know. Regular oil changes and the occasional tune-up would have prevented all this, but that hadn’t happened. The end result was a lifetime plagued with trouble. Little things mostly, but eventually they added up. One thing always led to another and now the car sat at the side of the house, grass growing tall beneath its body while the air leaked slowly from its tires. Forgotten.

Seasons came and went. In the autumn, leaves collected on the old car’s once fine paint. Winter a brought thick coat of ice and dirty snow; the spring, pollen and bugs. In summer, it was dust, hornets and a mouse nest in the air cleaner. One year bled into the next. The result was not really death, but the purgatory of slow degradation. The waiting was interminable, endless. As the old car sagged lifelessly on its suspension, the good times forgotten, the soul that imbues all mechanical things slowly died and in its place something darker began to grow. Read More >

By on October 20, 2013

IMG_0381

It was Sunday. Sunday was coffee day.

Gus knew some things, not everything, but he knew enough. He knew that the passenger seat in the old Malibu was his. He knew that when it rained his hips ached, and that in the hot months the floor of the kitchen felt good against his stomach. He knew that he was safe, loved and he knew Sunday was coffee day.

During the week, Stefanie usually brewed a small pot at home before work, but after she had gotten the old Chevy roadworthy, she had made a habit of driving to the diner on Sundays to get a cup of coffee. It kept the car from sitting and Gus loved it.

Stef would get up, attend to her morning routine, and then she would back the red ’66 out of the garage and let it warm up. While it idled, she would slip back inside, grab her purse and call for Gus. He would trot to the passenger side and wait for the door. Stef would let him in, roll down the passenger window, and hop in the driver’s seat.

Once at the diner, Stef would go inside for her coffee. She would speak to the regulars, occasionally engaging in an extended conversation about the unrestored ‘Boo, and more often than not, Gus would get a small slice of bacon or another treat from the woman behind the counter. Another nap on the way home and he would spend the rest of the day in the corner of the living room on a dog bed that was as old as he was.
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