Last Rides Premium Selects: Subhuman Kia Sedona
Sometimes I feel that many are not aware how my little tales hidden in the comments of Murilee’s Junkyard Finds are developed. It’s all in the evidence, the details. “I can’t comprehend how you are able to do so as quickly as you do.”, star commenter Dead Weight writes. With the right feature-rich victim, a story writes itself in my mind with a typical gestation of 40-90 minutes. Conversely, I can’t just pop on every auction sanitized Volvo. The story would be false, wrong, instead of just fiction. On the other end of the spectrum, there are the head-scratching “gems” and the rare “unicorns”. I run into these every so often, I’m going to start featuring them now, and you’re gonna need to wash your face afterwards.
The setting for the final solution of this dead 2005 minivan is in one of my favorite haunts. This junkyard sits across from where Joliet Jake was once picked up by his brother Elwood in a certain Dodge Monaco. The import section is inside the shabby remains of a former rail car plant from an era when America used to build things instead of just take them apart expediently. On this day, with the cascading meltwater through the roof, it resembled the beautiful vision of hell from the film What Dreams May Come.
But back to the minivan…
The jammed sliding door and improvised windows insure that the occupants will be the wind, know the air.
One peek into the open porthole, and I knew I had found a gem. I wasn’t about to reach in for the all-telling artifact that is that newspaper. Fortunately, Google filled in the blanks.
The dash appears to be rubbed down with a toner cartridge. Who willingly [s]drove [/s] entered this van? A gaggle of chimney sweeps? C.H.U.D. s?
“Maybe it sludged itself to death. Let’s check the-OHHHHHH.”
The sight of the “ Cornjerker” sticker had me at a loss for words.
Kids…rode in this?
Now I understand.
Darell was running out of gas.
The sound of the alarm on Darell’s cell phone chirped him awake. He rubbed his eyes, and slipped out of bed to face the work night. As he pulled up his hunting fatigues, a voice moaned from under the covers. “Make sure you fill up my van on the way back.” He grunted in acknowledgement. He walked into the living room, finding Tommy engaged in yet another death match with a bluetooth headset in his ear. “If you’re gonna be up all night again, you should come help me deliver papers.” Tommy’s fingers were still fervently working the Xbox controller. He dispensed his adversary with a melee attack, and said “No thanks.” Darell went to the fridge for his nightly stock of energy drinks. “Did you take one of my Monsters?” There was no response. He considered yanking the power cord from the Xbox before realizing his leverage to get a willing laborer. He would need it. Those damn Sunday papers were heavy. “I’ll let you shoot it.”
Darell and the boy walked out into the warm August night. They passed the wreckage of the ’94 Caravan, the broken ’98 Explorer Sport, and the broken ’99 Explorer on their way to the Kia minivan. Upon opening the door, they were greeted with the warm plume of 50 unkempt movie theaters, the result of spilled Monster and a variety of trash broiling in the sun all day. It smelled little worse than the house, and the aftermath of the neighboring farmer’s honeywagon however, so it was barely perceptible to the two. “Welcome to the office.”, said Darell, starting the van. The oil lamp stayed illuminated for a short time as the engine assumed a steady idle. Tommy hadn’t been in the family hauler for over a month. In reaction, he said, “What the hell happened to this thing?”
Insects pelted the windshield like rays of light in the black backdrop of Route 9 at one in the morning. The air conditioner pulled down the cabin temperature while dispensing a different aroma of funk. Darell switched it off, and turned it to vent. The air perspired. “Why did you turn it off?”, Tommy asked. “It wastes too much gas.” was the reply. Darell knew that the small button could easily turn his income into a loss. The boy powered his window down for relief. “No! Don’t!”, shouted Darell. It was too late. The air pressure surged, and with a “Boof”, the rear side plexiglass was gone. Darell’s firm foot pulsated up and down with the brake pedal. He retrieved the plastic window, now missing a large portion, from the roadside. He tried to reapply it to the van anyway in the glow of the hazards, but the duct tape was fouled with dried grass and dirt. “Look at this thing. Arrrgggh…it’s trashed!” Tommy couldn’t quite get a read yet on his mother’s newest boyfriend. His response was to simply get back in the Kia.
The squeaking side door and tire noise that were present at the beginning of the trip were now joined by a horrendous buffeting oscillation. “Where the hell are we going anyway?”, Tommy yelled over the din. “Champaign.”, Darell replied. Tommy was stunned. “What?! That’s like an hour away! How much do you get paid to do this?” Darell dodged the question by trying to get the pirated AC/DC to spin, only to get a “DISC READ ERROR”. “Now what the hell is wrong with this?”, he exclaimed. Tommy ejected the highly acclaimed Vin Diesel film and handed it to him. “Those damn kids were playing around in here again, the rubber bands were all over, and…just where was the AC/DC?”, Darell ranted to himself before bouncing the DVD off the center console.
As they sped south on Route 49, Darell noticed Tommy eyeballing the Mossberg 500 on the floor in the back. “Go ahead, and grab it, but watch out where you point it. Here let me see it.” Darnell chambered a round as he steered with his knee then, insuring the safety was on, handed it over to the boy. “Try to get that sign. Don’t shoot the fuckin’ car.” The boy squeezed the weapon, but nothing happened. “You got the safety on.”, noted Darell. The boy would be ready next time. “My god! It’s comin’ right for us!”, Darell joked. The boy kicked back in the seat as buckshot riddled the aluminum marker. Then they both laughed. “Don’t tell your mom.” The boy then seemed puzzled. “I think the mirror just fell off.”, he noted. “Well that’s just fantastic.”, Darell muttered, spitting sunflower seed chaff all over the floor. Things were looking rough. He was already working on his second can of Monster.
Tommy was enthralled with the sight of university life. The kegger they passed had reached the stage of a police action. Drunk kids clutching red Solo cups scattered as officers approached. “You’ll see some shit out here late at night that you wouldn’t believe.”, he told the boy. “Perhaps you’ll go here to learn someday like these kids. Watch out for the venerial.”, Darell laughed. Several drunk youths approached the van as it came to a stop, and tried the jammed handle. “Hey mom, can we get a riiide?”, they slurred. Darell spirited away from them, adding “…and that’s how your back windows get broke.”
“Looks like we’re just on time.”, Darell said, noting the other paper carriers buckling their suspensions with The News-Gazette. They were drenched in sweat themselves after loading 500lbs of paper. Darell unlatched the middle seat, and threw it forward haphazardly to make space. “Time to make that money.”, he said with humor, taking a noisy “slurrrrp” of Monster. “I’m gonna need you back here.”, Darell ordered, “There’s some plastic bags, and rubber bands behind my seat. Start wrapping. And don’t waste any of them, they cost me a lot of money.” Tommy looked at the map pocket on the back of the driver’s seat, permanently stretched well into it’s third trimester. “Wait. They make you pay for this stuff?”, the boy asked. Instead of answering, Darell filled his mouth with more sunflower seeds. He swished them around, and started chittering them like a rodent. The seeds were, no doubt, Monster flavored at this point. After spitting the husks all over the floor, he washed it down with the dregs from the black can, then hurled it out onto East University Avenue to help make the rest of the world as horrible as his immediate reality.
Tommy’s hands were blackened by the papers. He stacked them on the center console for Darell to maddeningly whip out the window. “We’re supposed to put them on the driveway close to the house, but they can suck one.”, he said with a grunt. The boy admired how his throws were so robotically precise, that the paper was always oriented the same, regardless of how far it was thrown. He also wondered just how in the hell Darell knew which houses had a subscription. Their paths crossed with a loaded down Outback, also driving on the wrong side of the street, dispensing papers. Both vehicles dimmed their lights out of courtesy. “Okay, this next street is yours. Think you can get both sides at once?”, Darell chuckled, with a mouthful of seeds. Tommy grabbed a handful of this snack of paper flinging champions for himself. He soon became dubious of the mouthful of matter though, allowing a turd of chewed up seeds to tumble out onto the rear floor with a “Bleh”. Tommy opened the slider, and Darell turned up the radio.
The ultimate in vanity
Exploiting their supremacy
I can’t believe the things you say
I can’t believe
I can’t believe the price you pay!
“Yep, yep, yep”, Darell would say, swerving back and forth in the street, ordering another paper to be tossed to the driveway in a disorderly manner. Tommy was actually really getting into it. Although, he was getting a bit tired. He tied a discarded T-shirt to the headrest of the loose bench as a handhold to help steady his aim out the window. Darell suddenly stopped the van in front of a house. He dismounted, and hand carried a newspaper to the front door, carefully setting it inside the screen door. Getting back in the Kia, he informed the boy, “That one is a real bitch. Every time she complains, I get charged $1.50.” He pulled the shifter into drive, and then changed his mind, placing it back into park. “I’m gonna teach you a little lesson in life.” Darell got out, looked around nervously, and then collected a porcelain garden gnome from the front yard. “This is what you get when you fuck with people.”, he said, tossing the gnome on the passenger seat.
The guys were spent and out of words as the van buffeted it’s way back to Hoopeston with , thankfully only a few dozen more papers. Just outside Rankin, Illinois, their lathered steed did something to wake them right up. The Kia would go no farther. It’s engine died, and the minivan somewhat silently coasted to a stop on the gravel shoulder. Darell laughed and twisted the key. The only result was a “Clunk, Clunk” as the starter gear engaged the thoroughly locked up flywheel. Darell looked at a cheat sheet on the dash, and dialed a number, shielding his watery eyes from the boy’s sight. Making $150 a month wasn’t respectable, but it was something. Now that something was gone, not to mention he had spent another vehicle in the process. The man in the Outback would come to the rescue. The rest of the papers would be delivered by 7AM…for a price.
The stranded men leaned against the dead Sedona lit by the moon. The tall corn and loose duct tape rustled in the breeze, too warm to offer any respite. Darell spit some husks onto the ground in a daze. Tommy kicked rocks, and remarked about almost getting broadsided by the drunk kid in a white Grand Am back in Champaign. Then he said, “It’s actually kinda fun delivering the paper, Dare.” Darell laughed, and said, “Don’t you ever let me hear you talk that way about my job again.” “Dare.”, Darell thought. It’s what the boy’s mother called him, almost affectionately. It was also almost like saying “Dad”. He reached into the van for the gnome, and the shotgun. After placing the grinning ornament at the edge of the cornfield, he walked back and handed Tommy the Mossberg. “One shot left.” Tommy exhaled, squeezing the trigger, and sending the cherub to oblivion with much satisfaction.
The tow truck driver winded his way back past the dead Ford Explorers as directed with the Sedona, taking away more of Darell’s income. It was set in place next to the hay field, complete with an open bag of sunflower seeds for various animals to enjoy. It would wait for a time when “a little extra cash” was much needed.
“Yep, motor’s locked up. Piece of shit. Good thing you weren’t out driving with the kids when it happened.”, said Darell in a manner to elude that he had performed some good deed.
“I don’t believe this. You killed my fucking van, you asshole.”
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