By on September 28, 2015

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When I write these little features, I always follow a set of self-imposed rules:

Rule No. 1: The car is always the main character;

Rule No. 2: Avoid using the same personality profile as in a previous story;

Rule No. 3: Inject truth. Use real ownership experiences for each example, and plausible explanations for clues;

And, Rule No. 4: Avoid blanket, prepared or generic scenarios.

I’m going to bend that last one a little bit. I’ve found the right example to illustrate it.

After all, this scenario would certainly fall into the generic category. On this day, nearly 80 percent of the cars in this yard wore one of these. Must have been culling day at the pound.

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The subframe of this 300C was dropped and its 5.7-liter V-8 harvested faster than an errant valve seat can make you throw out all of your “HEMI” apparel. I’m not sure if the peculiar two-tone painted stripe is exclusively a local thing around Chicago, but I’ve been seeing more and more of these jobs lately. Usually, it’ll be a blacked out section that has no harmony with the body lines of the car, and tapers down the trunk. Almost like a thong.

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My goal with this shot was to get a line of ’05 Mopars all with Black Ice hanging in the breeze. But since I couldn’t power down the windows, the best I could manage was including the extremely clean fallen Caliber to the side.

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Andre was hard.

Andre noticed the Lexus SUV had been sitting for over 45 seconds outside Terminal 2. This Merlin of moving peoples put his magic wand to work and approached the driver’s door, speaking through the glass. “I can’t have you sitting here, you need to move please.” He stood next to the door until the Asian woman drove off. Like herding stubborn sheep, he worked down the line, always vigilant. The scorn of inconvenience was apparent on the drivers’ faces, and Andre ate it up like candy. The sight of a job well done. “You know what tha fuck you doin’, playa,” he thought of the angry individual in the Benz, empowered. There were few things to like about working for the TSA in a place like O’Hare. It was a truly thankless position, and you had to find joy in the little things. That same Expedition was back again. Andre had levels to “this shit” for repeat offenders. First, he would be polite. Then, he would be forceful, and express his displeasure. Strike three would generate a dramatic increase in boiler pressure that brought about harsh language — and threats of a tow. That last response had some trade-craft in it, and was dependent on the profile of the offender. Most white folk would respond smartly to Andre’s threatening thuggish persona. He might even make up a few choice words to throw them off. When presented with incoherent pressure, fear was the result. A chummy, “Come on big guy, gimme a break”, coupled with putting hands on the vehicle, seemed to get the job done with most minorities. Mr. Expedition pointed to his party and Andre gave him a bye. Then the Lexus appeared again, and Andre strode jauntily toward it, his eyes like daggers. It was in gear before he could get out the words “AYE’ MAN!”

Andre punched out, shed his yellow vest and took the bus to go collect his ride. Under the glow of halide sat the Crentley. It was a castoff from his sister. A post-crash Three Double-Oh that was heavily keyed by her ex. She unloaded it fast and cheap. “Ain’t nuthin like family.” His go-to guy for automotive needs, Javier, had rapidly worked his magic. He fitted an Ebay “Bentley” grille, and $1,000 in harvested sounds. Rather than spend the money on a costly color-match and blend job, the “HOE” carved into the door was cleverly concealed with a black stripe over the damaged areas. This only cost Andre two-hundo, and four hours of his time perusing stolen stereos while Javier worked in the backyard. Andre’s gaze was drawn to the rust forming at the interface of the fender. “Gotta get that shit straight,” he told himself aloud in the parking lot. The tumor was growing. Got to be careful with rust in the Chii, it’s a car killer. This would cost about tree-fitty to black the new bumper, along with a swept back motif “like Batman” to extend aft on the fascia. Additionally, Javier would need the car for two days to smooth out the previous repair to Denise’s handiwork. That was a problem. “Tough to be without my baby that long.”, he thought.

Andre plunged into the leather with a emphatic “Ahhhh,” and pulled the door shut. The booming thrust from the Airbus overhead was immediately silenced. With a twist of the key, the exalted V8 produced a sublime “wooom” that fell into a soft cadence of warming cylinders. The gauges came alive, and glowed in the color of money. The 7-inch screen motored out of the Pioneer AVH-X7700BT, and the rattling from the subs in the trunk commenced.

“You’re listening to WGCI in The Chii…” (Reggae air horn)

Catch me rollin’ through the city
Ridin’ with the top off
Man, my whip so big when you in it
Fuck (censored) around and get lost
Told my bitch(censored) to let her hair down
What this shit(censored) cost

Andre sang along, even including the blanks that turned the track into a clumsy mess made fit for public consumption. The Three Double-Ohhh boomed past the suckers standing on the Metra platform next to the Kennedy. Andre dipped into the throttle slightly. The hemi belted out a subdued rasp, that echoed back into his ear. Like a rebound from your boy. The Black Ice twirled on the mirror, delivering it’s olfactory payload. “Have you ever seen ‘The world is yours’… from a blimp?” he yelled along. The yellow engine symbol suddenly illuminated. He paid it no mind, as it was a frequent anomaly. However, he did notice the Crentley was on “E” again. He exited and worked along the surface streets to find a place to feed the hungry hemi. After finding a Mobil, he pumped in only 3/4ths of a tank of high-priced Chicago fuel. This would prevent the stalling on left turns. As the buckled concrete clunked below, Andre blissfully rubbed the finely appointed steering wheel with his thumb. A 300c was an insanely tight ride when it was released. Nowadays it might even be considered “hood,” but Andre didn’t pay that any mind. His feelings were similar to witnessing a rainbow, appreciating the miracle of it all, and not caring about the how or why.  The Chrysler pulled up to Andre’s apartment off Cicero Avenue, and he stuck his leg out the door over the blistered Chrysler emblem. With these wings, he could fly. The 300’s door clicked closed softly, and it’s loving owner glided up the sidewalk, singing “You nasty … oh oh … you nasty.”

Saturday morning came and went, with Andre trying to get as much sleep as possible before picking up “mad hours.” He was jostled from his slumber several times by the phone, which he ignored. It rang again and he looked at the screen before answering. “Dammmn man, what ‘chu want?” Chris replied only with laughter, and Andre was not amused. “Man, I ain’t got time for this shit.” Chris then got right to the point. “You look outside dog? Rahm got your ride booted. What ‘chu do?” Andre’s eyelids may as well had been connected to a dimmer switch that was throttling up upon hearing those words. “You best not be trippin’.”

In short order, Andre was standing in the street in only a dirty pair of basketball shorts, looking at something unbelievable. A bright yellow shackle had been applied over his chromes and an orange sticker on the window seared his retinas with its hue. First he tried to simply pull the boot off, which by design, did not happen. He brushed brake dust off his forearm and winced. Then he used the highest octave of his voice reserved only for the most injured formation of the words “Dammmn mannnn!” Neighbors heard him and stopped in their tracks. Eons ago, that sound might have been made right before someone got mauled by a lion. Nobody laughed at, nor mocked the half-naked man standing in the street. It was the sound of the onset of immense pain. The sound of getting a leg up, and having it kicked right out from under you. The sound of Chicago wanting more of your money.

Andre dialed the number listed on the sticker. “I’m showing here that you have four unpaid red light violations.” “Tha-fuuuu? Those camera things? I didn’t get none of those … ” Andre squealed, suddenly coming to the realization that the lack of forwarding service to his new address a year ago might have a part to play in this debacle. “Wait. How much that be?” The woman responded from her vampire lair, “It’s $100 for each violation, plus $100 for the boot fee.” Andre felt as if he had just been hit in the face with a brick. He didn’t have $500 just laying around. Then he asked in shock, “Where did I run these red lights at?” The woman entered this query into Cook County’s ENIAC to find that answer. The violations all came from one intersection at Cicero and Washington. He had definitely been through there many times on the way to the south side. After weighing his options over the phone about fighting the tickets, the woman’s tone changed to one of distaste. Andre took the cue and began discussing payment.

Andre sat on the CTA bus on the way to work and wondered where he was going to find another $200. That was with being late on his rent and Comcast. Some undesirables came to mind briefly before he considered hitting up the more successful members of his family. They would rake him over the coals for sure on his superfluous expenditures. Every set of Bulls tickets over the past year would be scrutinized, every new pair of kicks. Down at Arrivals, he simply waved his wand at the idling traffic. His area in front of Southwest had become a parking lot, and Andre came out of his daze. They had taken advantage of his mental state, and now they were going to pay. There would be no levels of aggression today. Only screaming. “No stopping or standing! If your party ain’t here, get on!!!!” Andre was exhausted as he got off the bus, and walked the last block under the 2 am streetlights. He only spent a moment staring at the Crentley with its yellow buckle. Tomorrow, he would have to hustle.

Andre woke around noon and took stock of prized memorabilia that meant slightly less to him than his Chrysler. Then he remembered his subs. Laying in the trunk was some quick cash. Others didn’t have the connections to audio equipment that he had. He might even make a little extra on the sale. Andre went outside and started fishing the keys out of his pocket for the Three Dub … which … was not there. In fact, no cars were there. That’s when he noticed the lines left on the pavement from the Elgin Pelican. “Street cleaning today?! DAMN!” Andre sat on the curb, and rubbed his ‘fro. Where the hell was his ride now? How would he find out? He glanced wearily to where his car used to be, looking for the non-existent “Here is where we’ve taken your Chrysler” notice. He dialed the number from the day before to inquire on his missing automobile, reaching the dead end of “It must not be in our system yet.” It would take another four hours for the “system” to catch up. “I show one 2005 Chrysler being towed from that address. Did you not know there would be street cleaning today?” Andre didn’t even bother answering that one. “Looks like they brought it to Auto Pound No. 2.” Andre asked, “Yeah, where that be?”

The answer to that question was one bus ride, a ride on the El, a walk to Millennium Park, followed by a train ride to the south side. His journey ended with a long walk down 103rd Street, that he immediately regretted after the sidewalk ended, and the streetlights became inoperable. He couldn’t remember the last time he walked this far. “Dayyyum man! Should have taken a damn cab.” Finding a willing cab in this area so late at night would have been an impossible feat, however. Once he turned onto Doty Avenue, Andre knew he must be close. Half of the traffic was comprised of laden tow trucks. A silver Mustang hung backwards off one, its lower valance scraping the roadway as it passed. He followed the condemned up an entrance with no sign, and then stood in disbelief at the gate. The same Mustang he saw earlier roared by on a huge wheel loader, bouncing on ten foot-long forks, it’s front bumper distorted into a frown from sitting up against the attachment. The dust kicked up by the behemoth further totaled the interior of a nearby 5-series convertible. The vehicles here were shown the same level of care as a corpse during a plague. “This the junkyard?” he thought with uncertainty.

All the activity seemed to be centered at the nearby double-wide. Andre creaked up to the door, just as an irate couple was leaving, saying “Can’t even believe this! I wasn’t even parked on that street any damn way.” He entered the mysterious trailer. The first thing he saw was a young white woman quietly sobbing, clutching her cell. She was still dressed in clubbing attire, and her mascara was heavily smeared. “I wonder what that white girl be cryin’ ’bout?”, he thought to himself. This was bad. He approached the kiosk. Behind the glass partition sat “Lucinda”, who seemed annoyed merely by his appearance before her. She said nothing, so Andre started the exchange. “I was told my Chrysler was towed here.” Lucinda asked, “What’s the plate number?” Andre didn’t know his license plate number, not entirely anyway. “Yeh, it’s a silver 2005 300C.” Lucinda stomped her keyboard with sausages, and Andre noticed that only the little finger of her left hand had a 1 1/2-inch long dagger of nail shooting off of it. She furrowed her uni-brow, and said “MMMmmm, I … don’t … think it’s in my system yet …” Since Andre stood fast, she eventually found several 300c’s in her system. “Last name on the registration?” “Ellis.” he replied. “OK. It looks like you have some outstanding violations … so it’s $660 for that, and a $160 fee for the towing and one day storage.” Andre thought for sure she had the wrong damn 300. “I only got $500 in violations.” Lucinda corrected the law-breaking fiend, “You have one here that just happened for parking during street cleaning.” Andre was flabbergasted. “I didn’t even … couldn’t … DAMN MAN!” Then he whipped out his imaginary shiv and eviscerated the air. Lucinda was totally unphased by his display, and simply sat with a blank stare. She might even had been bored. If she was the hen that she resembled, she would have let out one single cluck. Andre left, finally arriving back at his apartment at 3 amwith only a form to fill out for an appeal.

The following Wednesday, Andre could barely move his magic wand. Not only was he exhausted from a sleepless night and early bus ride, but he was mentally defeated. He developed a plan to spring the Crentley. He would leave work early, and go grab $1,000 cash. “Thanks man, I owe you one.” he said, stepping out of Chris’ Neon into the parking lot of the Payday Loan store. The Neon buzzed down to the south side. The pound was even more incredible of a sight in the daylight. “Damn man, there must be a thousand cars here.” Chris said. The two men creaked floorboards into the hot trailer office. There was a line this time, and the air was thick with anger. The words of one man caused Andre some concern. His business attire was soiled in a tan dusty tinge and he attempted to rub some grime from his hands. “Your guy put a huge hole in my oil pan. How am I supposed to drive out of here with no oil?” he boomed. The clerk handed the man a “discrepancy form” while lightly conversing with a co-worker and gave the man a suggestion to grab a tow from one of the trucks waiting outside for this purpose. Condolences were not offered. “Thanks a lot!” the gentleman said, whooshing out the rickety door. The next contestant was a young man, who stood at the counter for only thirty seconds. The clerk told him he needed something from a notary. The kid laughed loudly and jetted out the door. A woman waiting nearby with an armful of papers said “This is ridiculous” under her breath. Andre joined in, “I work for the TSA, and I ain’t never seen no red tape like this before.” It was his turn next. The clerk resembled a ninth grade math teacher from 1982. After pulling the info for the 300, he asked for Andre’s registration. “Oh, you need that?” The clerk responded with an “Mmmhmm.” Then, Andre spotted the form with the description of his vehicle. On it, it read, “CD player missing.” His blood began to boil. “I got the registration in my glovebox. Can I go to my car and go get it?” The stiff man shot him a glance as if to insinuate lack of responsibility. Then he keyed a handheld radio.

Andre waited outside in the hot dust for the ferryman. A filthy, battered Caravan pulled up. Andre opened the sliding door and stepped onto the dried mud floor. The driver was jubilant, and lifted his spirits somewhat. At least somebody here still had their humanity. The Caravan drove past miles of forlorn cars, all a dirt tan color. “They get you all squared away in there?”, the driver asked. “Naw, man.” Andre replied. “Don’t worry.” the driver reassured him, “You’ll get your ride. Is it a 300C or 300M?” Andre answered “300C.” The driver continued, “Awww straight, the Hemi?” Andre was distracted by the sliding door rattling to smithereens on the rough lot. He imagined a family somewhere still trying to get their Caravan back. Suddenly, he caught a glint of a familiar black stripe. “There it is dog. On the other side.” The van pulled around and Andre exited into a cloud. “That’s dope man.” said the driver. But things were certainly not dope. The prized Bentley grille was hanging by its one remaining attachment point, and the front bumper was popped from the fender. A tire was also flattened. Andre flung his arms down in despair. He went to check the rear of the car. Audio wires hung out over the bumper. He grabbed the door handle, and was surprised to find it wasn’t locked. “Naw mannnn. NAW.”, he said in disbelief of what he was looking at. The familiar stench of Black Ice told him it was real. Lack of AVH-X7700BT confirmed. The trunk was also emptied of all hifi components. “DAMN MAN! They took my fucking sounds!” The ferryman suddenly grew impatient. When he said “You got everything you need from there?” it was without pity. Andre then asked “You got a screwdriver?”

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Of course, there was no screwdriver to be found. Andre resorted to forcibly pulling on the glovebox handle, which snapped off in his hand. Next, he tore the lid free with the ferocity of a bear, and retrieved the registration card within.

Chris was still waiting back at the trailer. “Errrthing all set?” his friend asked. “Naw man. They jacked all my sounds. My shit’s beat.” answered Andre. He raged back into the hot trailer, where the clerk informed him of his additional storage fees. “That’s fine.” said Andre disapprovingly. The clerk continued, “Also, your city sticker is unreadable. You’re gonna have to replace that before we can release the car.” Andre could only laugh and say “What!? Dayum man!!!” before leaving the impound for the second time. He wept, although, not openly. He didn’t even do that after learning of his niece catching a stray. Chicago broke him.

The Neon returned at 11 pm. “This shit outta hand.” agreed Chris. Andre creaked into the trailer for the third time, now armed with some high-interest plastic. He was just going to pay the fiddler, and sort it out later. He was pleased to find that there was no wait this time, and the clerk was also a quite attractive young lady. He wiped his mouth with his hand, and put on a fresh persona. “Hey sweet thing. You got my ride up in there. I want to get this handled today.” he said, cranking the charm to 11. “We got yo ride?” she cooed, processing his license and registration. He then placed the credit card on the counter to pay the nearly $1,500 in fines and fees. She playfully took the card and paperwork back, where she was intercepted by the same clerk he talked to earlier that day. “Naww man, naww … ” thought Andre. The two clerks came back to the counter. “You can’t use this card.” stated the math teacher, “It’s not even the same last name as the registered owner. You’re gonna either need cash and a notarized note, or ‘Denice Ellis’ to come down here in order to retrieve your vehicle.” Andre thought of his sister, smiling in her new Atlanta condo, oblivious to the $1,500 in fines racked up in her name on top of the impounded car that she still legally owned. “There’s signs,” gestured the young woman. Indeed, there were. The ballast in the fluorescent light fixture above Andre had enough strobing for the day, darkening a pair of bulbs.

“Mannn, I don’t got that kinda paper mone-Y’all heartless. You ain’t even people! DAMN MAN!”

 

 

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97 Comments on “Last Rides Premium Selects: Getting The Boot...”


  • avatar

    Pretty much spot-on. This is the fate that awaits 85% of all LX cars. This is why I try to avoid stocking them.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Crabspirits is the Mother Theresa of auto writers. He goes and stays right where the leprosy stinks most.

    I will never understand why.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Nice work CS. What’s funny is I actually have pity for him despite the fact the gift of life should have been revoked for him long ago.

    Its expensive to be poor.

    “You nasty … oh oh … you nasty.”

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    Excellent as always, and a too-true commentary on the machine that keeps people in the cycle of poverty more effectively than any welfare program.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Living just enough…for the city.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    A buddy of mine dated a TSA agent. She drives a convertible Mercedes-Benz and owns a house in Pacific Beach.

    https://www.usajobs.gov/JobSearch/Search/GetResults?Keyword=tsa

    • 0 avatar
      Crabspirits

      Dammmmn man!

      Our friend Andre would be much lower on the totem pole. The type that provides me with tasty material on the internet about how much it sucks working for the TSA.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        TSA dog-walkers can make $121,815.00 a year. Chitago is probably pretty high up on the ‘locality pay’ premium scale too.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          My buddy is a garbage man in Chicago. He makes more than his wife, who has a Doctorate of Physical Therapy. His health benefits, time off, and retirement are much better as well.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Does he carry a long-barrel .44 like that guy in MIB-1?

            Oops… that was a tow-truck guy.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            He has good routes in nice neighborhoods. A lot of professional athletes, politicians, and high level city workers. No gun necessary.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Great, hope he never gets reassigned. Probably has the seniority to prevent that as I doubt newbies get the nice neighborhoods.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Yeah. He has good seniority now. He started working for the city out of high school. He has twenty years in already. He’s just building that bridge to retirement now.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            He probably has also been super supportive of his wife’s career steps, too. And his wife’s clearly no snob.

            Happy times and ample savings to both of them, I say.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            He can retire by 40. I wonder if the general public will figure out that they can’t afford public employees.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            I thought I had a fly swatter in the office here but no. Everything useful grows legs.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            …He can retire by 40. I wonder if the general public will figure out that they can’t afford public employees…

            I agree! We should sign over our ICBM defense, operations, maintenance and R&D to Space X and Blue Origin immediately.

            Private enterprise can do it better and we can save almost $100 billion a year in ICBM maintenance and readiness alone.

            Oh wait a minute…I thought we couldn’t afford public employees. Does the idea of private corporations with terrible track records in space launches controlling our nuclear detente make you pause for a second – or do you think Space X could do it better.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            That’s a not a valid comparison as the Pentagon is not going to allow such access to private corporations. In fact there is an entire agency dedicated to it:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Nuclear_Security_Administration

            In response to your rhetorical question, it depends on cost vs quality of the current service. I would think cost is a no brainer esp if you we calculate decades of welfare, er pension costs. However if the cost were even 2/3rds of total and there is a real chance of poor service, it may not be worth it.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            The problem with statists like APaGttH is that they can’t tell the difference between garbage collectors and nuclear engineers. Their state salaries provide no clues.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I buy CJ’s argument when it’s HIM I see out there picking up the garbage. Or filling potholes. Or running into burning buildings. Or…

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            You’ll get my argument whether you want it or not when the gravy train jumps the tracks.

        • 0 avatar

          To be fair front line TSA (TSO) agents in Chicago make $14-20 an hour not bad but still no great for living in a city.

    • 0 avatar
      Eiriksmal

      Had to wipe the dust off my account to say, “WOAH DUDE, SWEET ACTION.” As a now-resident of San Diego, I can’t fathom owning a house in PB on a government salary. Not too shabby. Heck, my own software engineering salary at a tech startup precludes me from owning a house in my beloved PQ, far from those trendy beach folk.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    TL:DR.

    JK! This was great, and is such an accurate rendition of a 300C/300M/Magnum/Sebring/STS-SLS 4.6/DTS 4.6/DeVille 4.6/Brougham/Cutlass owner, depending on what year it is in history. I’ve seen those plastic applique stripes here in Ohio as well.

    This guy could be friends with C-Money and his LS.
    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/junkyard-find-2000-lincoln-ls/#comment-6170081

  • avatar
    mikey

    Excellent work..Dude

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    I will confirm that approximately 50% of the W-body 00-05 Impalas and all LX cars on the East side of Indianapolis have the weird two-tone paint thing going on.

    Wow, this exact car is what I have in mind when I try to describe the stereotypical Indy “hood ride” to people. Conspicuously missing limo tint though.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    That’s a shame, they are such nice cars. Oddly enough, here in Puerto Rico their owners leave them bone stock. I’ve only seen a tacky one here since that car came out in 2005.

    But the horrors I’ve seen in Florida…

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      @Roberto Esponja

      Puerto Rico, eh? What’s really going on down there with the whole economic crisis thing and all?

      • 0 avatar
        Roberto Esponja

        A combo of lousy politicians and the lousy voters that elect them.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          No way! We have that here too.

          • 0 avatar
            Roberto Esponja

            Yeah well, ours are worse. Trust me.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Theirs is worse. Plus, the US has way more money to throw around at stuff.

            On the positive side, they have nice beaches. I love Vieques. Wait…I’ve said too much. Don’t go to Vieques, you won’t like it.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Why wouldn’t we like it?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Well you would. It’s just that Vieques has many more tourists than it used to. Once the US Navy shut down their base in the early 2000s, it took almost a decade for the big resorts to show up. Vieques has at least 10 world-class beaches (probably 30-40 excellent beaches in actuality). Most are empty. It won’t be like that for long.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            My wife and I spent 13 days in Cabo (Mexico) earlier this year and bbal is right. The sheer number of AMERICAN tourists visiting such resorts is just mind-boggling!

            I thought I was downtown San Diego because of all the American conversations I was overhearing.

            I’ve never been to Vieques but others have told me it is even nicer but also more densely frequented by tourists.

            Could be because of all the Cruise Ship tours, maybe? Norovirus, anyone?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Vieques doesn’t have that many tourists right now. Until the mid-00s, over 60% of the island was taken up by the US Navy. It’s a pretty big island too. Many of the nice beaches are on former US Navy property, and still have their Navy designated names (red, blue, green, etc).

            There are three good size hotels and a casino under construction. I have no doubt that it will be a large cruise ship destination at some point. Currently, there is a small airport that has service from Cape Air among others. Vieques or St Maarten tend to be our winter vacation destinations.

            Cabo is crazy busy. It seems like it’s the Cancun for the West Coast.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I see, are there flights to Vieques or do you fly into San Juan and then take a boat/plane?

            I planned on a get the f*** out of Pittsburgh trip either in December or January.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Fly into San Juan. Then you can fly to Vieques from SJU on Cape Air or one of the other small airlines that flies there. I’ve flown on both Cape Air and Air Flamenco. Cape Air flies Cessna 402s and Air Flamenco flies BN-2s. I prefer Cape Air. They do a good job of getting your baggage transferred from another airline (not that you would have much baggage besides a bathing suit, t-shirts, flip-flops, and a hat). I have also spent time on Puerto Rico, driven across the island to Fajardo, and taken the ferry to Vieques.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      My great uncle (deceased since about 07) made all his money in PR, setting up textile operations in the 60’s there.

  • avatar
    Toad

    Great story about how governments that used to work for the people now frequently work over the people. Between the escalating fines, loss of vehicle, and theft of the possessions in the vehicle the municipal workers (formally and informally) effectively confiscated the mans ride and his cash with the citizen having very little recourse.

    A propensity to make minor bad decisions combined with a state ravenous for revenue is a formula for perpetual poverty. Sadly.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I have found it’s a lot easier to make bad decisions when you’re teetering on the edge of an abyss.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      You’ll notice every house in a trailer park has a satellite dish on the side, and every inhabitant has (or at least seems to have) a tobacco and/or alcohol habit, if not something more illicit… :/

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        It’s not all that different in the “affluent” areas…the difference being that instead of a satellite dish, it’s a (fill in the blanks for make and model of yuppie CUV).

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          The difference being that a satellite dish can’t make money, only take it. But hey, gotta get muh Honey Boo Boo fix!

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            Just threw up in my mouth a little at that thought!

          • 0 avatar

            To be fair it’s not a great choice but 39.99 Direc tv is cheaper then a night at a bar or movie so it’s not really that surprising plus it eases the depression. Many low income people make bad choices so do lots of wealthy people. Wealthy people have a better support system to correct the problem poor people do not which means their situation can only go down for the most part. Obviously there are differences but alot comes down to education and family life. Not to say that some people aren’t just idiots because some are but not all of them.

      • 0 avatar
        matador

        But, Netflix is no fun!

        Honestly, for the little bit of TV I watch, I would be content with the content on YouTube and Netflix. It’s a lot cheaper too!

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      Got dinged once in NYC because I must have parked fifteen feet away from a hydrant (sixteen foot zone) in a snowstorm in the middle of winter, on the NYU campus, while taking a final.

      At the time I felt wronged by the fact that my Rabbit had gone from an almost full to an almost empty tank while in impound for a day, and over a dozen tapes had disappeared.

      In retrospect, I should be grateful that my audio system was still in the dash, and it was driveable.

      Still, it cost me several hundred dollars (in mid-seventies currency, worth thousands of today’s dollars) just to get my car back.

      I would have at least understood if I had parked six or eight feet away, but there is just as much chance that I was seventeen feet away from the hydrant, as there was that I was fifteen or so feet away.

      But the system of government checks and balances falls apart where the rubber meets the road.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        So they just break in and help themselves!! (Or do they have to do so to attempt to put the transmission in “Neutral?”) It won’t cause too much damage to any car if they flatbed it, or even if they grab the correct end of a 2WD car, opposite the drive wheels. (Obviously, AWD/4WD is different!)

        Good! Gawd!

  • avatar
    agroal

    Crabspirits I will now refer to you as Diarrhea Of The Mouth. This root-canal read of narcissistic drivel got old quick. You should study Hemingway and his classic economic use of words. Any ghetto cretin can slam a 2.7L 300 with 22’s, spinners, and a thumping bass. But the 300C was well received in it’s first gen form. The bullet-proof cylinder deactivated 5.7 small block isn’t a Hemi in the truest sense but who cares? It’s a fantastic small block 350. In the 300C it’s smooth and quiet until you press the loud pedal, like a luxury car should be. The interior is somewhat cheap plastic in spots. But it’s clean and simple with tech features that only mega bucks imports could rival at the time. Remember it’s a 10 yr. old design. Write about the vehicle. Leave your own trivial personal details on the cutting room floor.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Wow sounds like we hit a nerve. Do you own a first gen 300C? I’d be upset too if any semblance of resale was gone the minute someone in the ghetto uttered “it look like a Phantom”

    • 0 avatar
      zamoti

      With today’s fiction, we get a little truth.

    • 0 avatar
      Crabspirits

      (Dreams about having a “cutting room floor”.)

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      If you want to read something that’s only “writing about the vehicle,” you can get a Haynes manual almost anywhere.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      “In the 300C it’s smooth and quiet until you press the loud pedal (or run over bumps with broken shocks/ball joints), like a luxury car should be. The interior is somewhat cheap plastic in spots (really everywhere).”

      Fixed! :D

      “Leave your own trivial personal details on the cutting room floor.”

      Creative works of fiction often range in their specification and subject matter. This is creative writing. Harry Potter is also creative fiction – would you tell JK to write only facts about witches?

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      You want to buy my Charger RT?

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Wow. I would just *guess* that the person in this story was black, as I am, but even I was not offended. Because, aside from the superfluous use of trite urban slang (BTW, crabspirits, the preferred term is “three-hunned”), this is a reality. It seems to be the reality of a lot of the people who own older LX cars. They have just the right combination of being nice enough and attainable enough to be canvases for the cruder expressions of hip-hop culture.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      The interior of these is in my mind, honestly worse than the one in my 1995 LeSabre. That’s saying a lot, but I think it’s true.

      Plus, this is the lifestyle these cars see. Even out here, most have Bentley grilles, two tone-paint, and rims that rival John Deere for size.

      Like it or not, the Chrysler 300 has that reputation….

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    For all the “poor folks always have stuff” talk, when you get down to it, it’s not all that different with “rich” folks. I do mortgages for super-high end customers and you’d be shocked how badly overextended a lot of these folks are. I see folks daily who are basically cleaning out their bank accounts for things like vacation homes, or a $5 million trophy house versus a $4 million one they really can afford. Or then there’s the folks who can’t afford to refi their houses because they went on a rental property buying binge.

    A couple of weeks ago I saw someone who basically mortgaged an asset marked “Madison College Fund”…for a vacation condo, and Madison is 10. Poor Madison is basically douched over and doesn’t even get it.

    They don’t “need” this stuff any more than our friend Andre here needs Bulls tickets or a fancy cell phone that he can’t really afford.

    This is America. Everyone likes consumption here. It’s what we do. Poor folks just do irresponsible consumption on a smaller scale.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Exactly. This is a bit off-topic, but I keep hearing this argument and would like to address it:

      As far as things like cigarettes and beer go, those are indulgences that even people of low income should be able to treat themselves to without guilt. For a lot of them, these things are small pleasures. Should those indulgences come at the expense of food or shelter? No. But small treats like that are hardly the reason these people live paycheck to paycheck, and insisting that they should sit around and never treat themselves to anything just because they receive government assistance is cruel.

      • 0 avatar
        VolandoBajo

        Cigarettes and beer are small pleasures only in a relative sense.

        A sixpack a day or so, breaks down to close to two hundred dollars a month, give or take. And a two pack a day cigarette habit at best will easily be another hundred or so a month.

        So three hundred dollars a month, per person, is hardly trivial, especially if there are two adults doing this…six hundred a month, in a family living at or below the poverty level, is a sad testimonial to the effect of our government and our society looking the other way about only those addictions that are money-making for those in power.

        A Harvard Medical School study determined that both alcohol and tobacco are more addictive than anything except shooting heroin or smoking crack, yet as a society we prefer to continue on with a war on other drugs, while ignoring the effect of those two things (alcohol and tobacco).

        It is amazing how blinding hypocrisy can be.

        And if you need government assistance, i.e., transfer payments from others who earn more than you do, why do you think you are entitled to spend those capital infusions on addictive substances?

        Perhaps it would be time for nicotine patches and a visit to an AA meeting instead, if only so that there might be more food on the table for your children.

        Even though I can somewhat buy an argument for transfer payments from those with money to those who are below poverty level, I have a hard time justifying that money being used for indulgences that are both addictive and that cause expensive diseases over one’s lifetime.

        But of course, this is America in the 21st century…let’s just maintain the status quo, and provide the bread and circuses, so that those who sit at the top can continue to profit up and down the line, while the general public sits in front of their TV newscasts, ignoring reality.

        $hit makes me sick…

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          It’s like I responded a couple weeks ago to a post, where folks have been seen locally loading up at Wally World with Angus steaks and whole Maine lobsters at market price..

          ..then paying for the entire haul with a SNAP card!!

          Basic groceries, fruits, veggies, canned goods, chips, pop, hamburger, chicken breasts, OK.

          Anything at market price like that: big problem! If point-of-sale computers at drugstores can be programmed to reject payment of the debit-style cards linked to medical flexible-spending accounts for OTC meds (thanks O****care for taking that away!), certainly the POS terminals at Wally World, Kroger, Meijer, Piggly-Wiggly, Albertsons or Whole Foods can reject SNAP payments for Duchess King Crab Legs or the like.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      I have spent virtually my entire career selling some variant of money associated to furniture in the early days than on to cars and mortgages. You are spot on.

      I personally know an ER doc here in Denver. Cat makes huge dough. He is literally broke ALL THE TIME!

      check the box for it all: nice house, car, wife’ rack, skis, bicycle so on and so forth. Ask him to write you a check for 1k and there is zero chance it clears.

      I find the comments about ghetto cars to be ussually thinly veiled racism at best…the ‘rich’ folk are just as poor in a lot of cases only the stuff they are making payments on is a little nicer in some cases. The guy in the clean 10 year old F150 ussually is the one with the wealth.

      • 0 avatar
        matador

        I heard on the radio a while back (So take it at face value) that the most-driven vehicle by millionaires is the F150. I bet a lot are older.

        I know a lady who worked hard and is “well-off” as I would say. Not rich, but she lives comfortably. Her car? A late 1990s Sable. But, she owns her home, her car, and has savings. A large number of people in this country couldn’t come up with $500 by tomorrow if they had to. That can’t end well….

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          I thought I’ve read that Warren Buffet drives himself around, and perhaps even in something that members of the Church of 3800 around here would appreciate!

          I know that Ross Perot, the Independent who helped hand the 1992 US Presidential Election to Bill Clinton, drove a several year-old Olds 88.

          Lots of rich folk get that way by being thrifty! Not a bad thing!

          (And then they get treated like crap when they DO decide to splurge on a vehicle and walk into a dealer in jeans, flips and T-shirt — until they pull out the wad of bills to pay for the car in ca$h! ;-) )

  • avatar
    Luke42

    I saw the guy who was the inspiration for Andre the last time I took an airliner in to O’Hare.

    He sure cussed up a storm.

    And, even though this story is one long stereotype, I’m more sympathetic to the guy after reading it than I was at the time.

  • avatar
    Chi-One

    LOL Great story. Someone knows Chi-Town very well!

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    I see so many of the first-generation LX 300s with chrome appliques, thin rubberband tires paired with tacky rims that are worth more than the actual value of the car and expensive sound systems blaring very vulgar and annoying noise erroneously categorized as music.

    Mind you, when released, this was intended to be the car for well-paid professionals, retirees and enthusiasts.

    I’ve also noticed that quite a few of them have Bentley grilles, an obvious lack of pride in ownership. Not that taking a decent car in its stock form and modifying it beyond recognition is pride in ownership either.

    Just like the crowd with the older “souped-up” Honda Civics and Accords, the money is all “budgeted” on glim and glam (which doesn’t look all that great) leaving nothing for maintenance or repairs. I could imagine that by now they’re starting to break after years of abuse and lack of upkeep despite having a fairly stout drivetrain.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I recommended a Chrysler 300 with the V6 to a friend from church when he retired his old Crown Vic, but he chose a 2015 Avalon Limited instead.

      My experience with the 5.7L V8 300 was that the cylinder management transition was rough. A family member in Zephyr Cove, NV (Lake Tahoe) owned one, and as we descended from Lake Tahoe to Gardnerville, we could feel the stumble each time he touched the gas pedal. Pretty disconcerting.

      But the V6 300 in any trim is a great full-size sedan.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      “Lack of pride…”

      Or self-respect.

      That is what is missing, IMHO, in these urban cores. And it’s obvious that the lack of a cohesive family unit, which is also strongly grounded in a religious context, is part of the problem.

      I get so damned tired of the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons of the world blaming “Whitey” for everything.

      There are enough folks giving of their time to help stem the tide. But it’s like holding back Niagara Falls with a tea strainer!

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Thanx Crab ! .

    Not sure which is better , the documentary story you wrote (coulda been my block) or the amazing comments from varying viewpoints .

    Unlike so many , I live within my means , I do just fine but having been poor , I see no point in ‘ fronting ‘ and I gave up smoking and getting drunk long ago .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    April S

    Which reminds me, I think I will work on my romantic, (slightly) car-centric screenplay.

  • avatar
    Safeblonde

    I am not sure if anyone mentioned this, but parking enforcement at OHare is done by the Chicago PD, not by the TSA. Plus no one who works at OHare rides the ‘El there. They take the bus to the huge employee parking lots and drive.

  • avatar
    tinman93

    Apparently the fiction was rooted in reality:

    http://wgnradio.com/2015/09/25/despite-having-wheels-stolen-suv-gets-parking-ticket-i-cant-believe-it/

  • avatar
    PandaBear

    Wow, incorrect engine oil viscosity is a code?

  • avatar
    rpn453

    Poor guy. I think this is the first time I’ve felt sympathy for one of your characters. I usually just laugh at their predicaments.

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