Welcome to Spot Writers! This month’s prompt was to write a story about a car.
by Kathy L. Price
The midnight blue MGA had been selected as “Car of the Week” and, as such, sat in the premier location at the front of the showroom. The turntable in the floor slowly rotated the MG so passersby could view the little sports car from all angles. Since the dealership was located on the corner of Orange Grove and Colorado Boulevards in the middle of downtown Pasadena, California, it was attracting a lot of attention. The top was down to show off her black leather interior and wooded dash which boasted a plethora of gages. Professionally detailed and highly waxed, she sparkled in the sunlight that streamed through the windows.
“Now, that’s the kind of car you should be driving,” said Ray.
“Yeah, right, Dad,” Ron had replied. “There’s no way I could ever afford anything like that. Even if I had enough money to buy the car, I’d never be able to pay for the insurance.”
Running his hand over the fender, Ron allowed himself to daydream just a little about what it would be like to drive it, to own it. Imagine the jealous looks he would get when he pulled into the parking lot at school. The only way he’d be able to transport his surfboard would be to leave the top down and stand it up in the front seat. He wouldn’t be able to take anyone else with him, but what a way to get to the beach.
For the past several months, Ron had been in the market for a new car. His old ’52 Plymouth, given to him by his grandmother, was on its last legs. It was requiring more and more maintenance to keep it on the road so he knew he had to get something soon.
Ron and his friend, Chester, like to go on road rallys, a popular past-time in the car culture of Southern California, and Ron had found a Simca Arondi for sale in the paper for $725. He thought it’d be perfect. It was rear engine, rear wheel drive and was a popular car on the rally circuit in Europe. Ron had gone over to take a look at it, decided he’d buy it, and had given the owner a deposit check. Then his dad had come home from a business trip.
The two of them rarely had much personal interaction. Ray had been brought up in a very strict, conservative Welsh family where affection was not part of the dynamic. His attitude was that raising children was the responsibility of the mother. It was the man’s role to provide for the family, to “bring home the bacon.” As a business owner and the principle salesman, Ray was away so often, Ron had grown up and learned to get by without him. Now, at seventeen, Ron was extremely independent. On the rare occasions when Ray was at home, there was a lot of friction in the house. That particular afternoon, when Ray showed an interest in what was going on in Ron’s life, when he seemed interested in what kind of car Ron was driving, it was something of a mystery.
“Come on,” Ray had said, when he heard about the Simca. “You’re throwing your money away on a car like that. We’ll get your deposit back and go look at a real car.”
Ron didn’t want to lose the Simca but his dad was insistent.
“Just go with him,” his mother, Betty, had pleaded. “He isn’t home that often so it’s not like you do a lot of father/son things together. Letting him help you find a car would be a nice thing for the two of you to do.”
To keep the peace, Ron reluctantly agreed. Before they left the house, though, Ray asked Betty to go with them. She tried to get out of it by saying she had too much to do. She wasn’t all that interested in looking at cars and she didn’t wanted to interfere, but Ray insisted. They all piled into the family car and headed out. When Ray pulled into Peter Santori’s Imported Motorcars in Pasadena, Ron couldn’t understand why.
Santori’s specialized in top-of-the-line British cars. They sold Bentleys and Land Rovers, Jaguars and cars by Rolls-Royce. Everything on the lot was well beyond what Ron could even dream of owning.
As it turned out, the blue 1960 MGA featured in the showroom had been taken in on trade. It was in mint condition and while they were checking it out, Ray said, “I think you should get this one. Let’s take it for a test drive.”
“Dad, I told you I can’t afford it,” Ron replied, a little angry his dad would even suggest such a thing. Ron was going to college and only worked part-time for minimum wage. He barely made enough to pay for his books and gas. Still, what would it hurt to take her for a spin around the block?
It was fantastic. She handled like a dream and zipped around the corners. Still, Ron couldn’t get too excited, knowing it was well beyond his means.
When they got back to the dealership, Ray continued to talk up the MGA. Finally, he said, “I’ll make up the difference in the payments and cover your insurance.”
Unbelievable. This was so out-of-character for his dad. What was going on? Ron was suspicious but didn’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth. Hey, if his dad was willing to pick up part of the tab, he’d love to have the MGA. The Simca had more room and got far better fuel mileage but come on, there was no contest. The deal was made, the papers signed, and Ron couldn’t believe his good fortune. The car was his.
The salesman handed Ron the keys and as he stood there admiring his new ride, a gleaming white MGA pulled up behind the blue one. What was this? He looked around for his parents and saw Ray and Betty having a rather intense discussion at the other end of the showroom. Finally, Ray walked over, said “I’ll race you home,” got into the white MGA and took off.
Betty ended up driving their ratty old family stationwagon back to the house with steam coming out her ears.
Our group of contributors:
Catherine A. MacKenzie