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From Our Editors
Call me Oldie.
Rusted and beaten, hard-boiled but soft under the hood. An '89 Oldsmobile—full of dirt, grit, and not much else. My paint job’s got more holes in it than an amnesiac’s alibi.
He keeps me tucked away in some out-of-sight garage while his new prize—a Chevy that still stinks of the assembly line—glistens in the driveway like she owns the place. I'm washed up. Broken. Just one more casualty of that cruel mistress, Time.
That's what he thinks, at least.
In my day, I could turn a stoplight green with one blink of a headlight. I could hustle a quarter from a stingy tollbooth. I was good. But ol’ Oldie, well, he ain’t nothing now. Just a hunk of steel one sputter away from the local junkyard.
Hmph. What’s this? Sunlight floods the joint. I can’t remember the last time I saw him, but here he is. He looks older—though who am I to talk? The years ain’t exactly done me well, either. He climbs in, turns the key. I feel that old warmth of his khakis on my upholstery. I had forgotten. Well, off we go: no doubt one last joyride, a final lap for the old man and his busted wheels. If he wants to squeeze this old boat for one last drop of nostalgia, I’ll let him have it. It was good while it lasted, anyway.
SeCar Auto Wash. Hm. Seems too clean a place for a dirty car like me.
Must be some kind of sting, I think, as I feel my fuel gauge fall like a wino’s hopes at last call. I'm being sold off—cleaned up before they peddle me to some poor chump who couldn’t tell an odometer from a hood ornament. I'm through. Sayonara.
Who’s this guy? Hm. A technician. His coveralls are as clean as his hands are calloused. That smile—it stirs something in me. Something deep. It’s all I can do to stop my engine from purring.
"What will it be?" he asks my owner. I feel my brakes tighten in anticipation.
"Let's go with the bumper-to-bumper. This one's still got a whole lot of life to live."
Mr. Smiley pulls out a sponge as silky as the mane of a '65 Mustang. I succumb to its soapy embrace, but there’s no time for romance. The kinetic swirl of a buffer soon follows, then the soft purr of a vacuum, the jacuzzi kiss of shampoo. That filth that sat on my hood like an albatross for so long—it falls away so easily now, like meat off the bone.
Well, I’ll be a Stingray’s tailpipe. Look at me now! The glow of my paint could light up a prison hole. We pull out of the lot and turn onto the street. Ah, here she is, that old stoplight. Her red light claps shut, and the green eye invites me through with a wink.
With his foot on the pedal, he asks for gas. I give it to him.
That's right, Oldie, you dog. You still got it.