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tonight's car: dust to duster
by Michele Christopher
After the Omega Incident, I needed another car. As coincidence would have it, Aunt Jo was getting rid of her 1973 Plymouth Duster. I was hoping to trade up in years and move past a car from ten years ago, but a free car is not something to be scoffed at. I took it.
Another well built tank. Also, another car that met an unfortunate demise, this one coming at the hands of a nervous driver who slammed the brakes a bit too hard in the rain on Hempstead Turnpike. I saw in my rear view mirror him fishtailing toward me, his Dodge spinning and spitting water like a retarded kid on a Slip-n-Slide. Once again, I readied myself for impact and for the unmistakable sound of one moving piece of steel plowing into another. At the moment of impact I surprised myself by saying out loud "An object in motion stays in motion." It sure does.
Another smashed car, another accident escaped unscathed. Maybe god saw my last name, thought I was a cat and gave me nine lives. Seven accidents to go! No, six. Oh, five - I forgot about last month's undignified crash in which an old Chevy Impala had buttsex with my Mazda.
The Duster was a good car. I gathered a few friends to eulogize him when the tow truck came to retrieve the body a few days later. The truck driver stood silent with us for a few minutes as we each took turns telling a favorite memory about Dusty; listening to the Clash's Know Your Rights over and over again as we drove to the Meadowlands to see the Devils play the Islanders. Driving up and down Hempstead Turnpike the night the Islanders won the Stanley Cup, blasting Iron Maiden because we were sick of hearing We Are the Champions; driving Sweet Hollow Road with the headlights off, Chaz and Kenny almost getting into a fistfight over Chaz trying to shove the Descendents tape into the player while Kevin tried to get his Genesis tape in there, but both of them losing out when Orange Juice's Rip it Up came on WLIR and I told them if they turned the song off I was going to kick their asses out of the car and leave them right there, in the dark, next to the estate where the old lady had demented dwarves living in her animal topiary.
When we finished our tribute, I patted Dusty on the rear. The tow truck driver, who had been looking on bemusedly, took off his cap, held it across his heart and said, "I come to praise Dusty, not to bury him." We all turned to look at him. "Well fuck, " he said. "That's not right. I've come to bury him!" He got busy hitching poor, dead Dusty up and the rest of us headed to the local bar to do shots in Dusty's honor.