By on July 18, 2013

CrabSpirits2I’ve been visiting junkyards and sharing what I find here on TTAC for several years now, and one of the best things about doing the Junkyard Find series has been reading the crypto-novellas (each a little story about the junkyard car I’ve photographed) penned by our own Crabspirits in the comments. We’ve already talked to Mr. Crabspirits about doing some writing for us under his own byline, and he says he’s up for it, but there’s no need to wait in order to enjoy his stuff. I’ve gone through some recent Crabspirits Junkyard Find Tirades™ and assembled them here for your reading pleasure.
30 - Sick Gut Taurus SHO-powered Geo Metro at 24 Hours of LeMons ChicagoIt should go without saying that Crabspirits is a 24 Hours of LeMons racer, and it should also go without saying that his team’s car is one of the head-clutchingest crazywagens in the series: the Charnal House Geo Metro, which features mid-mounted Ford Taurus SHO V6 power. Yes, Señor Crabspirits walks the walk. All right, let’s dive right into the promised Junkyard Find Tirades™!
26 - 1985 Buick Skyhawk Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHere’s a dark vision of Skyhawkian downward mobility from last week’s ’85 Buick Skyhawk wagon Junkyard Find:

Gabe and Darlene were human debris.

Gabe stood up from the choked toilet and pulled his pants up. He didn’t flush, as there was no water available anyway. The windows were thick with flies, and the stench could be cut with a knife. Their vacant, middle class, foreclosed home that the pair had been using for a month was nearly used up. Neighbors had become aware of their presence. Gabe briefly looked in the scum-speckled mirror at his gaunt reflection, and burnt, yellow lip. Best not to look at that. He should have never gotten into this hell. Never should have tried that first rock. Ironically, the very thought of regret made him jones even harder. A crumb of drywall lay on the sink. He glared at the object. There was a fantastical resemblance. “I GOTTA get a rock tonight.”, he thought. He paced around the hot master bedroom and itched. The sparse expanse of white carpet embossed by the furniture that was once there, and littered with drug paraphernalia. Bedsheets hung in front of the windows, attempting to prevent the entry of the hot Denver solar radiation. “Where is that bitch?!”

Gabe filled the pipe with the isopropyl and shook it. “Come on.” He poured the fluid onto a very nice plate left by the former occupants, and lit it. The brief flames lit up the dark, boarded up kitchen. He hurriedly used his razor to scrape up the resin, gathering it into a tiny pellet. He heard the faint drone of the Skyhawk being parked on the street a block away. Darlene was doing her best to hide the rusty eyesore in plain sight, so as not to arouse suspicion. The plywood was pried away that covered the shattered sliding glass door. Darlene crunched the broken fragments as she entered, just as Gabe took the first pull. “You get a hit off of that?”, she said as she grabbed the pipe out of his hands.

The duo climbed into the Buick as a lawn-watering man watched in concern. Their spirits were up. They were definitely going to get high today. The back of the wagon was full of new products still in their packaging. Darlene had turned a trick at the truck stop. She scored a little cash, and had expertly made off with one of the trucker’s credit cards. A spending spree at Target quickly followed.

The 4 cylinder buzzed across town to their favorite pawn shop. The fence took in the Dyson vacuum, Ipod stereo, and various goods with restrained enthusiasm. He gave the addicts $80 for their trouble. The two got back into the J-body and dined on a meal of several Lunchables pulled from a Target sack. “Thanks Kevin Adkins, wherever you are!”, laughed Darlene while looking at the stolen card.

The Skyhawk was in it’s element as it cruised the rough suburbs in search of that sweet candy. It didn’t take long. A group of men resembling 150lb versions of 50cent who waited for apparently nothing were sighted on a street corner. Darlene slowed to a 5mph crawl and waited for the men to notice their suspicious driving demeanor. A gentleman took note, and stared, anticipating their arrival. Darlene accelerated. “Looks like he’s selling.”, she noted.

“Rock?”, asked Darlene of the young man. The hood did not call the legitimacy of the buyers into question as he leaned into the window of the rusty wagon. “Go to the alley behind the bar.”, said the man. As the wagon sped away, the man reached into his pocket and keyed his cellphone covertly.

The Buick pulled up behind the bar. A man quickly appeared.
“I got a yellow pebble. Fifty.”
Darlene handed the dealer $50. The paranoid man handed her an object wrapped in cellophane, then was gone in a flash.

Darlene speed-shifted away from the scene. Gabe unwrapped the plastic and was overjoyed. It looked to be a sweet rock, practically uncut. Darlene diverted her attention back and forth between the road and what was in Gabe’s hand. She pulled over around the next corner. The plastic gift wrap was carefully taken off and jammed into the ashtray. The interior of the Skyhawk strobed like a beacon in the night to the cigarette lighter as hits were pulled. The beacon did not go un-noticed by a passing patrol car. Suddenly, the occupants of the Skyhawk were lit up by a thousand suns. The Crown Vic squawked behind.

Darlene barked the front tires, and bolted away. As she rounded the corner, Gabe tossed the crackpipe to the curb. She up-shifted at full throttle. The squad car kept up at a leisurely pace. “Unwise”, said the officer over the P.A. system. Realizing the getaway attempt was futile, and evidence gone, Darlene slowed to a stop.

“I got a straight shooter back there. I found the rock too.”, said one of the backup officers. “That’s not mine.”, said a curbside Darlene. “Which one of you is Kevin Adkins?”, said the arresting officer while grinning.

Gabe, Darlene, and the Skyhawk parted ways toward their respective fates.
“It’s hers.”

07 - 1996 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHere’s one, inspired by the ’96 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham Junkyard Find, that should enrage the Brougham Jihad.

Denny was a pimp….in his mind.

Denny started his day by putting on his requisite athletic gear. He pulled the tags off a fresh white shirt, and put it on. He made a mental note, “Gotta get more of those jams later.” He double locked his apartment, and made his way to the hangout, the stoop of a boarded-up hardware store. Mac and J were there, shouting as usual. “Kobe even said it himself!!” “AWWWW HELL no!!! Now you twistin’ words. Now you twistin’!! Kobe said they in the same room. They equal. They equal [racial expletive].” The two yammered on, segueing into the tired Lebron vs Jordan analysis. A menacing black Lexus lingered a block away, and thumped subwoofers. “This [racial expletive] creepin’.” said J lowly. The LS400 slowly departed. Denny used the nervous silence to break into a new topic. “You guys see the new Lebrons?” Mac and J replied almost in unison, “The PS Elite Crimsons? Yeah, they bad as hell.” Denny stood there target fixated in a state of shoe lust, and played with his white accessory towel while his homies talked more about hoops.

The tinted Lexus glided past a second time. The trio stood their ground toughly, pretending not to pay it any mind while being ready for anything. It was like being in the wild. Predators going after the weak or the fled. Once their facade was deemed satisfactory, and the Lexus gone, Denny made arrangements to meet later for hoops. He departed and pimp-walked to the Bro-Ham. Under a scrabbly tree, the Brough laid in wait, it’s Rolls grill shining in the early afternoon sun. With that grill, Denny be straight. Every day he woke and found the caddy still wearing the grill, was a day to be thankful. Trick ass marks hadn’t even tried to steal it for a whole month.

Upon starting the LT1, Denny noted the low coolant light. He popped the hood and the trunk. As he poured the full-strength Dexcool into the reserve tank, he admired the huge black plastic triangle covering his “Corvette engine”. “She got power”, he thought. For it had that Port Fuel Injection. Much better than regular fuel injection. He put the half-gone jug of coolant back in the trunk. He gently shut the lid, and it motored down tightly. Such was the character of a true luxury car. Denny didn’t feel the trunk closure system as an added gimmick. He figured it was required for the special construction of the trunk. It was probably delicate, and required a special procedure of closure. One that the Cadillac trunk closure system was obliged to handle for him.

Denny sped his way across town to the good mall. He needed those crimson Nikes. Denny had dreams, but he was mostly preoccupied in the here and now, and embraced an illusion of having already achieved those dreams. Being “a pimp”, if you will. Denny one-arm helmed the tiller of the floaty barge. The stereo belted out his theme song, “We started from the bottom, now we here”, as bass rhythmically distorted the view through the mirrors. He accelerated from a intersection, and was faced with a serious problem. The V8 lunged into a 1-2 shudder of misfiring, and the Service Engine Soon lamp illuminated. “Oh hell nah”, he worried. He leaned forward in his sharply reclined seat, and turned off the full-volume Drake. Once the terrible hip hop was silenced, he could make out the random muffled thumps resonating beneath the big plastic Dorito chip of the LT1. “Come on baby.” The low coolant light then joined the SES light in the array.

Denny limped the Caddy straight into the open service bay of a Pep Boys. He had no idea of the procedures when visiting one of these places. A lower tier technician was cut off from pulling in his Diamante. The other technicians all stood there perplexed, and looked at each other. Denny shut the Fleetwood off, and slid out of the seat. He brushed the disintegrating remains of weatherstripping from his bright shirt. He made sure to grab his accessory towel, as if fresh from a workout. He was quickly pointed to the service desk, where he explained his troubles incoherently.

Technicians found the problem in short order. He would need a new water pump. Additionally, the leaking coolant had ruined some sort of Optimus Spark unit. An estimate was presented to Denny totaling roughly $1500. This news triggered a vocal and physical response, a hand gesture that would have conjoined an exclamation of “Awww shucks!” sixty years ago. Except, Denny improved upon it, exclaiming simply, “F^*K!!!”. A technician exited the counter area, and walked back into the shop to laugh.

Now Denny was no sucker. After getting the, now dead, Caddy towed to a second service center, he was ready for a second opinion. He argued the tow bill with the driver, paid in anger, and then went inside. Thankfully, he could go to the nearby mall, while technicians sought out what was surely a trivial matter. He soon received the shock of an identical estimate. He repeated his initial reaction with his full being, as a bag of $260 sneakers hung from one hand.

The tow truck unloaded the dead Brougham under the scrabbly tree. It would have to wait there until Denny could figure out the situation. And wait it did, for a very long time. Denny paid the $100 towing charge to the driver.

“This FOUL.”

35 - 1992 Chrysler Imperial Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe fatwas from the Brougham Jihad not being sufficient to keep Crabspirits from the swift completion of his appointed ranting rounds, here’s one— inspired by this junked ’92 Chrysler Imperial— that should get the mullahs of the K-Car Imperial Jihad just as enraged:

Herbert and Grace were fed up.

“Yep! Yep! There he (Obama) goes again! Uses the government to bail out his buddies with this HARP program, while the kids get the shaft, and can’t refinance!” Herb’s face turned beet red, as he clenched every muscle in his being, attempting to shit out a diamond. “Herb, stop it! Turn that thing off!” Grace had to do something to get him out of the house. These days, fits of stress like this typically culminated in an ambulance visit by EMT’s that knew the couple on a first name basis. “I’m hungry. Let’s go to Eddie’s. We haven’t been there in awhile.” Herbert responded, and grabbed the keys to the Chrysler. “Dammit woman. You’re always hungry, and it’s almost 4’o’clock!”

Although their car was right in front of their home, they had not seen it in nearly a week. “Ohhhhh, that’s just great. Wouldju look at this. The battery’s gonna be deader than shit.” , said a bitter Herb as he perused the stance of the Imperial’s air suspension. It resembled a dog defecating. The V6 slowly cranked over and caught. It had started, but just barely. The air suspension slowly pumped up the rear, and the two set off to get some grub from their longtime favorite diner. The couple soon found themselves in a part of town that vaguely resembled what they remembered. Storefronts were boarded up or vacant. There were ne’er do wells milling about aimlessly. “Look at the Shake Stop.”, noted Grace, upon seeing the new check cashing store. An “illegal” walked out of the store, and got into a highly customized F150. “That’s wonderful. This whole country’s gone tits up!” Grace remained silent in agreement. The couple arrived at what used to be Eddie’s diner. The art deco script neon sign was dim, and half broken by vandals. There was a handwritten note on the door of the lifeless shell. “Thanks for 56 wonderful years!” Herb flew into a hand-waving tirade that included his full vocabulary. Grace looked around for persons nearby. For one, out of embarrassment, and two, for help in case Herb collapsed. Herb, sensing his impending doom if he continued, abruptly calmed. He just shook his head and got back into the dinging Imperial.

The couple quickly lost their bearings in the de-gentrified locale. They stopped for a streetlight. Herb pressured Grace for results as she fumbled with an archaic paper navigational aid known as a map. An African American urban youth appeared at the street corner. He waddled toughly toward the Chrysler with his pants in tow. Herb was mortified. He blew through the red light, nearly running the man and his pants over. “Damn man!”, said the dark-skinned individual. “Don’t just sit there like a bump on a log! Work that thing!”, Herb shouted at Grace. The GPS was a Christmas gift from their kids. “I don’t understand this thing!”, said Grace as she operated the alien touchscreen device. “POI? What’s POI?” “You’re in the damn settings again!!!”

The nose-heavy Imperial softly bounced as it took to the on-ramp. Herb jammed the gas pedal to 1/3 throttle, and the luxury car entered the highway at a blistering 40mph. He guided the chromed prow around a laboring moving van. It was power, sophistication, and pure luxury. Grace voiced her displeasure at her husband’s aggressive driving. Somehow, they had found a Red Lobster across town with the alien tech. Herb already began salivating at the thought of the Cheddar Bay biscuits. The couple arrived, and slowly circled the parking lot several times. They cued at the hostess stand. The restaurant appeared filled to capacity. As they waited, an unattended child ran into Herb, nearly knocking his cane out of his hand. The uncaring little girl ran off as Herb scowled. “It’ll just be 40 minutes sir.” Herb responded with a to-hell-with-this hand gesture, said nothing, and the couple left.

The consolation meal at Olive Garden was wrought with problems with service. Herb enjoyed a low-grade pasta, while Grace complained about her tasteless and salty soup. Herb argued their bill with management for half an hour. As fellow patrons stared, he was gaining the upper hand. The manager cleared $7 from their bill and the couple had achieved satisfaction, leaving puzzled servers in their wake. “Terrible!”, said Herb as he slid into the red velour. The Imperial pumped up. It had a significant yaw motion as it slowly arched across the intersection. The dog dish containing Herb’s leftovers went unnoticed as it slid off the roof, leaving noodles and chicken breast strewn all over the pavement. They were about to miss Dancing With The Stars. Herb fumed at the traffic. He honked the horn at the instant the light turned green to help keep the other motorists sharp. Somehow, they had made it back to the assisted living apartments before the second couple took to the stage. Although uneventful, it was to be the final real drive of the Imperial. The extravagant Chrysler was doomed by indifference and perceived value.

“Where have you guys been?”, said a neighbor.
“We went to eat at Olive Garden. It was wonderful.”, replied Grace.

15 - 1986 Bertone X1_9 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThen there’s this ’86 Bertone X1/9:

Jeff was a Fiat’s best friend.

Milo barked happily as Jeff fumbled with the can of gourmet dog food displaying his likeness. “Smoked bacon and egg in meaty juices. I can’t think of a better way to start the day. Can you?” The little dog cocked his head to the side quizzically, and rapidly wagged his tail in response. The two ate their breakfast in unison as Jeff thumbed through the paper. “Looks like the surf’s up today”, he noted.

“Want to go to the beach?” Little Milo responded in a way any dog would when asked such a stupid question. Jeff walked out to the extremely corroded vehicle. A very special vehicle for special people, brought to these shores, and blessed by Malcolm Bricklin’s magnificence. He opened the door, which had been crafted with the same precision as a storage shed. Milo bounded inside just before Jeff carefully eased himself into the tiny cockpit. The engine fired right up, but was followed by a disconcerting wind down of the starter drive. While warming the engine, he began the procedure for winding down the windows. The plastic creaked as he exerted intense pressure upon the down button. The window started to wind down. The engine purred from it’s good state of tune, nearly drowning out the sound of the sea. In many ways, it reminded him of being on the flight deck of the Mighty O in the early morning hours, watching the big Phantoms go through their pre-flight check. In the time it took him to reminisce about an entire cruise in the Gulf of Tonkin, he had managed to get his window down. Now for the passenger side…

The Bertone X1/9 was wrought with compromises. This example took it a step farther. For all of Jeff’s effort in making it just drive down the street, he was rewarded with a problematic eyesore with pretentious sporting ability. But…cruising down the shoreline exposed it’s last shred of brilliance. It was such a tactile car. It always brought him back to the days of jean jackets, making this same drive in the, then, shiny red X1/9. The long gone blonde passenger that was looking out the window, now happily replaced by an excited lap dog. Jeff pulled into Lighthouse Beach Park and turned the car off.

Jeff and Milo walked around, and watched the surfers off the point for awhile. The swells were big, and the surfers were getting worked. As they returned to the parking lot, marijuana smoke was thick in the air. There were a group of surfers nearby who were surely behind it. He ignored his displeasure at the drug use by these men in a public park, and thought of them as like-minded. He admired their carefree attitude, and ability to embrace the little joys of life. Because a great many these days, did not. He noticed a long haired surfer having some trouble with a Volkswagen, and offered his assistance. He was unable to help him with his terminally ill diesel, but the upbeat young man was most appreciative anyway, thanking him for his trouble.

As Jeff and Milo reversed out of the parking spot, the Bertone’s gearbox emitted a terrible clatter. Jeff was startled a bit, and attempted to engage 1st gear, which did not happen. Likewise with 2nd gear. As the sun set on the beleaguered sports car limping home, Jeff knew it was the end. He had fixed this problem already once. Nobody would go through that again. He just smiled, pet his terrier, and enjoyed the slow drive home in 3rd gear.

“She put in a good effort, didn’t she?”

11 - 1994 Chrysler New Yorker Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThose of us who consider our cars to be living creatures—especially those who happen to be members of the Brown Car Appreciation Society— might want to skip the tale of this doomed ’84 Chrysler New Yorker.

Alec was a Chrysler New Yorker.

“Fasten yoor seat belts”, said Alec as Steve-o backed him down the driveway. He didn’t want to say anything at all, hoping the teen might be ejected out the window onto the pavement in some freak accident that left himself undamaged. At the very least, he could take little Stevie with him if the next round of dangerous driving caught up with him. He was still sour about that whole “drifting” incident over the winter. Some ridiculous maneuver that involved his parking brake, of all things, had left his rear flank horribly scarred and tail light smashed. Stevie picked his nose, and wiped the offending debris on Alec’s carpet. “This is soooo undignified”, he thought digitally.

“Looks like that degenerate is late for work again”, he thought. The gas pedal was mashed to the floor, and Alec groaned like a burro being spurred as he delivered all of 100hp. A P71 interceptor appeared behind Alec. “A policeman! Surely he can save me.” Alec sent the wrong mixture feedback to his carburetor to make his exhaust sooty, and intentionally malfunctioned his turn signal in an effort to gain the officer’s attention. Sadly, the Crown Vic formed up behind a red Kia and pulled it over instead. Nobody noticed the Chrysler anymore.

The executive car chirped into the parking spot in front of the Old Navy, and the teen jumped out. “Don’t foorget YOUR keys”, Alec muttered with sarcasm. “…because I certainly wouldn’t want to be stolen you little twit!”, he added well after Steve-o bolted off.
Alec relieved himself through the valve seals and cover gasket.

That evening, Steve-o returned to the car with a female co-worker. “THAT’S your car?”, she asked. “Yeah!”, said Steve. “It’s a piece of sh#t!” As his engine was started, Alec responded in kind with a smokey blue plume as oil vapors cooked off his motor and entered the cowl vent. Alec carried his passengers behind the Toys R Us loading dock, where some lewd behavior commenced. “If only Mae could see what her grandson has become, God rest her soul.”

Once their romantic interlude was over, Steve shuttled the poor girl back to her car. In an effort to impress, he left his door cracked as he pulled away. Alec felt obliged to show off, uttering “A door is a JAR”. “What does that even mean?!”, said the girl, and the two kids had a chuckle at Alec’s expense. The couple leaned against Alec’s fender and shared their heartfelt goodbyes for the evening.

On the way home, Steve bragged to his friend over the phone about “nailing” the girl. “Such a gentleman”, Alec thought as one of his hubcaps clicked away. The boy sped up to catch the light at the intersection. With his phone still to his ear, the Chrysler pitched hard over, and the tires squealed in protest as he made the right-hander. Alec bounced wildly as he attempted to manage the dip at the apex. A hubcap flew off, and skittered against the median curbing. “You’re going back for that?! Right?!”, he screamed inside. Alec felt a sickness in his gut. The long ignored noise from his timing chain had suddenly grown louder. “Oh god, this is it.”, he thought with dread. The chain departed. Alec could stomach it no more. “Your engine oil pressure is low. PROMPT service is required!” Steve, suddenly faced with the possibility of a serious problem rendering him carless, started caring about Alec’s well being. “Dude, something’s wrong with my car. I might need you to come get me. Yes, I’m serious. It’s saying there’s no oil pressure, but there’s SOME oil in it.”

Alec was towed to an independent repair shop the next day. At last, he would receive some much needed pampering. The mechanic discussed Steve’s options with the repairs necessary. Steve stood there speachless, and stared forlorn at Alec. It was quite an emotional moment. For the first time in a long while, they felt a fondness for one-another.

A flatbed arrived to take Alec away. As the tow cable pulled him up the ramp, Alec thought “Ha, I bet this shop isn’t up to Steve’s standards for taking care of an advanced vehicle such as myself!” He began to dream of all the factory trained service technicians who would soon be making things right with him again. To his surprise, he was delivered to a strange dusty place, where all his putrid fluids were removed. “Ah! A full service!” Then, he was placed on some supports, and waited for a delightful horde of roving technicians to work on him. “This place is wonderful!” A technician removed a front wheel, and carried it off. “You are quite astute! That does require balancing.” Next to him, a band of Jawa-like creatures ravaged a conversion van. “Poor bastard. Looks like he’s given up the ghost.”

“Looks like I’m next in line!”, he thought with glee as the fork loader approached. The loader hit a bump while carrying him, and the off-center load tilted, nearly falling off. “You stupid idiot, you could’ve killed me!!!” Suddenly, he was full of dread. A nearby Mitsubishi screamed in horror. “What is this place?”

“Oh god.”

05 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSince we know that Crabspirits has a lot of personal experience with brutally mutated Geo Metros, we can assume that this Junkyard Find Tirade™, based on this San Francisco Bay Area El Camino-ized Metro, came from the heart:

Javier was an entrepreneur.

Javier sauntered through the Bay area streets in his Sport Metromino R. He was on his way to his next job site. His Honda-powered Karcher Shark pressure washer jostled around in the “bed”. It was a recent purchase. He was starting a new career in the pressure washing business. He was his own boss, and he was going to make it big. The $600 wally world washer, and $1500 Geo pickup purchased from his wacky cousin were solid investments in capital. If only his fellow newly-minted high school grads could see him now. They were probably still slaving away behind a desk at some sucker job, or didn’t have one at all.

Another fabulous day by the bay. The sound of his angry G10 reverberated through the residential canyons as the twin tailpipes were brought to bear. Another thumbs up and a “Sweet wing!” complement from a passerby. Just a typical commute in the little car. Javier worked his iPhone. “Siri: Where is a vinyl sign store?” After re-posing the question a few times, Siri had some results for him to check out later. He smirked smugly, and was pleased with his personal assistant.

He knocked on the door, and his clients, Dan and Thad came out to greet him. They were unusually gracious and pleased to see him. Then again, he worked through Craigslist, he encountered all sorts. The two men giggled and clapped at the sight of his little cruck as he unloaded the equipment. They wanted the siding washed on the side of the house only. The strange thing was, it wasn’t dirty. He began to wash anyway, working his way toward the backyard and trees. Dan and Thad appeared behind the wet sliding glass door. They were watching him work, but seemed more interested in something toward the rear of the house, as if expecting something to happen. As Javier washed the soffit at the back, it became apparent he had a huge problem. Hundreds, no, thousands of africanized honeybee bastards streamed from a crack in the soffit. He tried in vain to wash-kill them as they began their blitz attack. He went to shut off the washer, but discovered the vibrating engine coated in a confused swarm of lethality. He abandoned his equipment and led a hasty retreat.

Javier took a lunch break. Several hours later, the little Honda engine, it’s fuel expended, stalled out and the swarm began to dissipate. Dan and Thad played dumb. Javier said he was done here, and suggested an exterminator. He quickly gathered his washer while enjoying a few stings. “This is f—–g GAY!”, he exclaimed. His clients were not amused. They threw him a twenty for his trouble and told him to “Please leave.” It was a rough day for the Javier Cleaning Corporation.

The back of the lightly-weighted Mettruck bounced away from the scene. It was about to get worse for poor Javier. He coasted rather quickly down a steep hill. “Siri: Find me a….” He stopped talking to his secretary in order to concentrate on some heavy braking. As soon as the brakes were fully applied, it was obvious something was very wrong with the little Geo. The heavily rusted achilles heel of all Metros, the lower control arm mount, gave out.
“POP! Bang-bang-bang-bang-bang SCRRRREEEEEE!”
As the control arm tore loose, the CV joint ripped apart, spewing grease as the misfit axle beat the hell out of nearby components. The steering wheel flew out of Javier’s unencumbered hand, and the economy pod veered wildly to the right, smashing into a parked Subaru.

“Siri:Call triple A”

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71 Comments on “The Junkyard Find Tirades™ of Crabspirits...”

  • avatar

    Fantastic, my requests have not gone unheard. Nice work, you are clearly a man who has spent ample time with crap-heaps and their owners.

  • avatar

    Suddenly my hundreds of TTAC entries seem so normal.

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    This made my day Murilee.

  • avatar

    Thank you ! .

    I will now forward a link to this to see if my old school chums will maybe join the TTAC Community .


  • avatar

    As much as it pains me to say this, your stories of what happens to old Broughams are likely far too close to the truth than not.

    Oh well, such is life.

    If you haven’t, come on over and visit me and my happy gang at The Brougham Society!


  • avatar

    Thanks for the nod MM. I’ve been anxiously waiting for a junkyard find today by the way. It’s been the slowest and hottest day here at work.

    Here is the complete collection.

  • avatar

    Awesome! Its so good to see more non-fiction content being… wait, what?

    While we’re at it, I am surprised by the dearth of motorcycle articles on this site. We’re already abandoning the “Truth” aspect, what’s another inch?


    Sarcasm aside, congratz Crabspirits. It is amazing seeing good writers getting a chance to do what they do.

  • avatar

    Wow, how was I missing these?

    Outstanding. I give crabspirits my wholehearted but worthless endorsement for TTAC!

  • avatar

    I guess, this is the way to get fiction posted on TTAC.

    Good, entertaining stuff, CrabSpirits.

    New to TTAC, well at least taking another look at it again thanks to Jacks referencing it and taking the helm, so not familiar with all of what it offers, including the cast of characters that contribute in one way or another to TTAC.

    Thanks for introducing me to CrabSpirit’s creative efforts, Murilee.

  • avatar

    Better than most of the short fiction I’ve seen in Esquire the last 10 years.

  • avatar

    Clap, clap, clap, (Whistle!) clap, clap, (Yeah!)

    Crabspirits, your “colorful commentaries” really give life to Junkyard Finds. Every car has a story and your ability to tap into that story is nothing short of genius – Thanks!

  • avatar

    Meh, I’d rather people would stick to reality (and not fiction) on their replies.

    • 0 avatar

      Most of us enjoy this. If you don’t, why not skip it rather than being openly dismissive?

      • 0 avatar

        If you’d read the rest of April’s replies, I think you’d know she was being sarcastic.

        • 0 avatar

          My mistake, sorry April.

          • 0 avatar

            No problem.

            (Adjust halo)

          • 0 avatar
            Piston Slap Yo Mama

            A very easily made mistake as of late, considering that all the trolls have been sprung from Trollsville’s penitentiary.
            So far though that’s the only legacy of Herr Schmitt I miss.

            TTAC brethren I enjoy, like 28-Cars-Later or Summicron both typically chime in with praise for Crabspirits’ endeavors. Similarly, hypercritical guys like Porschespeed fling poo. I’m firmly in the 1st camp.

          • 0 avatar

            Walp, ya know… ain’t too many articles here about anything I’d actually buy. Crab Spirits, Nate, Kuroissa-san and Ronnie’s histories keep me coming back and delight me till the next FWD weenie-mobile is presented.

          • 0 avatar

            I say, can’t edit my own comment…damned effrontery, wot?

            Sorry I misspelled your name, Crabspirits.

        • 0 avatar


          Are you sure that is the word applicable to April’s comments?

  • avatar

    Whenever I see a Junkyard Find post, before even reading the post itself I will scroll down and check to see if CrabSpirit posted yet. If not, I keep checking back for them.

    Happy to see him recognized. Keep up the good work Crabby!

  • avatar

    Very awesome. I plan on reading these one at a time and savor the excellence.

  • avatar

    The section in the Brougham one about the trunk-closing mechanism is a delightful, childlike reverie.

    These are so good. I want to see them in print, on paper! Maybe published in the form of an owner’s manual, one sketch per spread.

  • avatar

    I give this whole posting a huge thumbs up.

  • avatar

    Never intended to come back and post, but I must say, Mr. Crabspirits, well done!

    r u in den 2?

  • avatar

    Cannnot….select…favorite…. !!!!

    Damn, so many great ones. I forgot about the New-yorker, love the dark ending to that one.

    • 0 avatar

      And the darker ending on the Corrrrrrrrr-DOHHHH-ba one, too!

      Just read through ’em all!! Classics! Keep ’em coming!

      (Wonder what happened to the surfer dude’s Dash? What the hell was half of that slang, anyway??!! :-p )

  • avatar

    Does anyone else feel we need to revisit that bullet point in Jack and Derek’s statement of change regarding fiction? Crabspirits’ work is fiction. Doug’s work is often padded with humor that not neccesarily essential to the “truth” but essential to Doug’s writing. Thomas K’s stuff, while not fiction isn’t exactly hard nosed cutting edge reporting, but it is excellent stuff and I believe adds a worthwhile dimension to the site. The real life human dimension. I believe this type of good writing really makes TTAC unique and should be encouraged.

    I believe “the truth about cars” is that, outside of the business world, cars are personal, emotional, mystifying, maddening, enlightening and most of all, they bring people together. If not for cars would this amazing community that is the B&B exist.

    Just my 0.02.

    • 0 avatar

      Perhaps there’s a difference between Vodka McBigbra and this sort of “fiction.”

      • 0 avatar

        I’ll be honest, while I think Mr. Baruth us a hell of a writer, I usually skipped over those parts of his articles.

        That being said, I have the ability to skip over it, and some people enjoy it. And I think that Crabsprits, Thomas, Doug, etc. add a much needed human element to TTAC.

    • 0 avatar

      Reg; “Does anyone else feel we need to revisit that bullet point regarding fiction”

      Yup! Second that, Dave.

      There should always be a place for good fiction on a great car site.

      Derek! Jack! …….

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        It’s possible I was too hasty to announce the death of fictional contributions.

        The problem is that they really seem to upset some readers, no matter how clearly they’re labeled as being works of imagination.

        If somebody hands me something good, we might renege on the no-fiction commitment.

        • 0 avatar
          Mr. Edward Mann

          “If somebody hands me something good, we might renege on the no-fiction commitment.”

          Baruth, if you want good fiction, just read some of TTAC’s (and CC’s) Thomas Kreutzer’s fiction over at Curbside Classic.

        • 0 avatar

          Posted the following last night. Apparently it didn’t post? So will try again.

          Hasty! Yes! Maybe? Directed?

          “The problem is…” Are we to believe, that a few cry babies, who are too lame to read the signage, determine what the rest of us can read and enjoy on TTAC?

          This doesn’t seem to square with what little I know of you, Mr. Baruth. The Bon vivant, Devil’s advocate, the devil may care attitude of one Jack Baruth, ruffian, self proclaimed assailant of ‘the piss and moaners’, losers, wannabes, suck asses, slayer of groundlings and philistines. The man who suffers no fools or the mean spirited.

          Is it that your trying to be to inclusive, or that your to concerned about losing readership and inciting a critical response from the corporate suits who may actually be the authors, enforcers of this edict.

          The Truth About The New … TTAC, is a little murky on this subject.

          And, why go to the effort to produce something(fiction) exclusively for TTAC readership on the chance it ‘may’ be allowed.

          Fiction… Either it’s in… or it’s out… or, taking our chances, we trust Jack. Or, using Crabspirits device, sneak it in the back door.

          Me, I vote for ‘in’, I like to work from solid ground.

          Just some thoughts, and a preemptive apology for any perceived inappropriateness in the above comments.

          With due regard…. Tre

        • 0 avatar

          Well Mr. Baruth, for what its worth, well written fiction has my vote.

        • 0 avatar

          Keep the fiction. For those that don’t like it, there is the option of skipping that post.

  • avatar

    Wow that was really funny actually. I have to admit… I thought this was gonna be really stupid but that really sucked me in haha! Before I knew it I was in the comments – really funny! Thanks

  • avatar

    Perhaps the “No Fiction” rule consumed itself in some sort of Catch 22 type of self consuming “Do-Loop”. I love this stuff, so keep it coming. Cars are inanimate objects, yet we relate to them every day. They affect how we relate to each other and how we live our lives.

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    For God’s sake, don’t tell us his real name. That would ruin everything.

  • avatar

    Somehow I missed Alec the New Yorker. So sad. Not Old Yeller, childhood trauma inducing, but still sad.

  • avatar

    Speaking of fiction:

    Can anyone please refer me to a piece of fiction I once read, not sure where but possibly TTAC, several years ago about an American car scene without CAFE?

    I encountered it during the hazy days of recovery after a bypass operation and consequently it’s completely jumbled in my memory. I remember its theme being the never-diminished dominance of full-sized passenger sedans, particularly in this piece a modern Galaxie.

    To me this was a Star Wars Speech of tantalizing possibility, or at least of paradise lost.

    Thanks in advance to anyone who can jog my pumphead-addled memory.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      Was the piece below by Jack what you’re thinking of?

      • 0 avatar

        Hot damn, that’s it.

        Thank you, thank you. Figures it was by JB.

        • 0 avatar

          I really liked that story as well. I think it is a great piece of speculative fiction and it inspired me to write the sci-fi piece I did for Curbside Classic.

          I think the reason there is some confusion among the readers as to what is fiction and what is real is that much of the fiction here is written in first person. People think the author is just humorously bragging about themselves.

          Done right, I think fiction could add a lot to this site, but if it can’t be integrated in a way that makes sense, Curbside Classics is a good home for it.

  • avatar
    Mr. Edward Mann

    Crabspirits, could you tell me what you think of some of my fiction (i.e. character development, plot, characters, etc)? Here in one example for your tasting:

  • avatar
    Mr Imperial

    “…here’s one— inspired by this junked ’92 Chrysler Imperial— that should get the mullahs of the K-Car Imperial Jihad just as enraged”

    I chuckled heartily at the misadventures of Herbert and Grace :)

  • avatar

    TEST>…Nothing is POSTING?

    Edit; This did but another that I have tried to post several times now, won’t?

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Crabspirits awoke to the mechanical sound. Shhhhhhht kt. Shhhhhhht kt. Shhhhhhht kt.

    “Still here,” he thought, listening to the respiration machine. His eyes flicked from the accordion-like device, which mechanically filled his lungs once every second or so, over to his dark monitor display.

    “Wonder if Murilee has a new post yet?” Crabspirits wondered. Then set about waiting for the live-in nurse to come into his bedroom, fill his feeding tube, empty his catheter bag, and power up his computer.

    It was a long wait. Birds chirped away outside his bedroom window. He heard the paper boy pedal past and the thump of the early edition hit his neighbor’s driveway. A garbage truck thundered by.

    “I hope it’s Italian,” Crabspirits thought. “I’ve already riffed on the British, the French, and of course, malaise-era Americana. Time to pick on a dead Italian machine.”

    “Oh, and how are we today, Mr Crabby?” asked the nurse as she opened the door, then the window curtains. Light poured in, Crabspirits blinked, momentarily dazzled. He glared pointedly at his computer monitor with a bit of a frown.

    “Okay, Okay, I’m getting there. Keep your pants on,” said the veteran health-care worker. Years of service gave her a gentle, yet direct approach. She went through the morning ritual feeding and emptying, then fired up the high tech device.

    An attached camera device also powered up, which tracked Crabspirit’s eye movement. By directing his eyes at on-screen commands, Crabspirit navigated quickly to the TTAC website, then scrolled through the day’s content.

    “Bertel takes a s***. No surprise there. Saw that coming,” he thought as he scrolled down the day’s postings. “Baruth? They picked Baruth? Ha! He’ll take this whole thing 150 miles per hour through the median! Epic!”

    Finally, a new Junkyard Find article. And yes! Italian!

    Activating the on-screen keyboard, Crabspirits began to painstakingly type his new rant.

    Shhhhhhht kt. Shhhhhhht kt. Shhhhhhhht kt.

    And he was as happily engrossed as he was the day of the car lift accident in his father’s garage, all those many years ago.

    • 0 avatar


      My comments are now marked as ‘Spam’…?

    • 0 avatar

      The large McDonalds ice coffee had been drained. The cup, mostly full of ice in a ripoff fashion, was slammed into the trash bin in anger. “Ahhhh! Another Volvo brick!”

      In the world that is cars, a Volvo is neither good nor bad. It was neither exciting nor boring. It was remarkably average in every respect. Nobody wants to read anything average. Crab searched Murilee’s photos for evidence. Body damage, greasy hand prints, perhaps a tiny Wrigley’s gum wrapper, anything that could be used to craft a profile of it’s final owner. Alas, it was yet another highly sanitized-for-auction example. “Arrrgh!”, he exclaimed while contemplating passing on this example altogether. Then, eureka! The rear window was festooned with a highly degraded sticker. Crab scoured Google for a suitable match. He was onto something.

      After a matter of hours, a story developed. He suppressed the urge to clumsily tie up the story in a hurry. It was always a race against time. Every minute that ticked by, the article became further buried. Soon it would only be read by 10 people instead of 30.

      As Crab concluded his hypothetical, hundreds of retirees in the nearby community buckled under the strain of having their living room temperature rise by 1 degree. They engaged their thermostats almost in unison. An alarm sounded at a ComEd control terminal as the substation was overloaded. Crab’s monitor flickered, and his hard drive surged while riding electrons on the brownout wave.

      He stood up in the dark office, then calmly went into the shop to work on some terribly-engineered turf equipment.
      “Sucked anyway.”

  • avatar

    OK! Will try a new approach to posting this….>

    Part _1

    Hasty! Yes! Maybe? Directed?

    “The problem is…” Are we to believe, that a few cry babies, who are too lame to read the signage, determine what the rest of us can read and enjoy on TTAC?

    This doesn’t seem to square with what little I know of you, Mr. Baruth. The Bon vivant, Devil’s advocate, the devil may care attitude of one Jack Baruth, ruffian, self proclaimed assailant of ‘the piss and moaners’, losers, wannabes, suck asses, slayer of groundlings and philistines. The man who suffers no fools or the mean spirited.

    Is it that your trying to be to inclusive, or that your to concerned about losing readership and inciting a critical response from the corporate suits who may actually be the authors, enforcers of this edict.

    The Truth About The New … TTAC, is a little murky on this subject.


  • avatar

    I don’t check out the site as often as I should, but I can’t believe I missed these stories. They’re exactly right.

    I’m a firm believer in being able to guess who (in general) will be driving what, or the reverse. For example, I will spot a car in the parking lot of a restaurant and challenge my kids to guess who inside is driving it.

    They’ve got pretty good at guessing, and this marvelous series will help keep up their interest.

    Two quick things:

    – Alec the New Yorker is more or less my ’84 Le Baron. I think they are very likely at least first cousins.

    – Volvo– May I suggest a Unitarian story? I went to the local Unitarian Church out of curiosity recently. Among the many other stereotypes confirmed was– and this is completely true– that the overwhelming majority of the 50 or so cars in the parking lot were Volvos, Subarus, and Prius. Only one US-make car, and it looked like a rental.

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