Dodge Dart

The car sat up on concrete blocks in the front yard. A 1967 Dodge Dart. Green. White wall tires that had faded throughout the years. A cracked windshield. Rust on the bottom. Winter salt had eaten through.

Tall weeds and tall brown grass surrounded the vehicle. Stains from oil leaks and anti-freeze made circles on the gravel driveway. Keys were in the glove compartment.

The old man looked at the car through his kitchen window. He stood there with a beer in his hand just looking at it. He remembered driving it through town on Saturday nights when he was younger; wife up in the front seat real close to him and the boy in the back playing with matchbox cars. The kid would roll them on the plastic seat cover. Make engine noises and rumbles in his throat when he’d make em wreck. Making them fall all the way to the floor, sinking into a pretend lake of blue. They were all smiles.

Things changed when the old man lost his job at the factory. He used to put bolts in steel. Over and over throughout the night. Screwing bolts into steel. The rivet gun would shake him a bit. But, he never complained. Just drank a lot. He’d stop at the corner tap after the midnight shift and have a couple. Come home and have a few more before passing out. Wake up and finish off the rest in the case ‘fore going to work. Kept mouthwash in the glove box.

Mom worked at the grocery store full time. She always talked to customers as she checked them out. Telling them to have a nice day. Counting change back. Said she was happy. The short squatty woman would take the city bus to work. The Dart was falling apart. Needed parts and a new transmission. That’s when the old man put the thing up on the concrete blocks. He stopped caring. He’d just look at it. No more rides through town. Everything was falling apart. Mother got sick; real sick. And the boy went and joined the Army. He used to send some money home when he could. The old man kept on drinking, looking at the Dodge. Day dreaming.

There was no funeral for mom. The old man kept her in a vase up on the refrigerator. Would say hello to her each time he grabbed a beer. Boy quit coming home.

The Dodge Dart stayed parked out there for years. Old man finally had it towed away. Got fifty dollars for it. Took the money and went to the liquor store and bought a couple of cases. Stood and looked outside where the Dart used to be; dreaming. Dreaming about driving it through town on Saturday nights.

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