Long May You Run

Goodbye, '94 Saturn SL. You were my best car ever. You were the best 850 bucks I ever spent. You were a callow child when you entered my life at 140,000 and you've grown into a sage and fearless companion at 270,000. Babe, if I could dream of getting you through Emmisions we'd rack up another 100K together, but it ain't gonna be. You need rings, babe. Rings and seals and all that. I wanted you to see 300,000 but I understand if you don't feel the same. I know you don't want to fuck up the environment, burning oil and all that. That wouldn't be you.

I know you're tired, babe. I know you want a dirt nap and I'm going to give you one. They're going to make you into a shiny new zippo. Oh, wait- there isn't enough metal in you for a zippo.

A bic, babe. You'll make some chokin' smoker happy. A beautiful, chartreuse bic.

I remember my first car that my ma gave me when she got a new one. That one rocked too. That was an asskicking li'l sideways engine rice burner of the highest order. Th' '87 Mazda 323. Only wheels I've had younger'n 100K. I think she was pinnin' 90. My first car, baby. And she packed it in one day on th' 5 South in Del Mar in '98 and that was all she wrote and I was a little heartbroken. A little verklempt. But she was nudging 2 Large by then, man. It's a lot to ask of a little lady. Lightfoot miles.

She saved my life once, man. Coming down the Hollywood 101 one fucking night after a gig in Tahoe. Me and ratface there, th' guitarist. I forget his name. And a goddamn bucket load of gear. Jesus.

When you're coming south like that it means you've just driven The Grapevine. If you've ever driven the Grapevine north of LA you know what a mean, haunted, scary little motherfucking event that is. It's a smoggy, dark, bleak stretch of overheat city. Long, long, long climbs and drops and trucks pulled over everywhere and that horrible, sickly reek of hot transmission. Always the same, man. Who came up with that polesmoking little piece of Vehicular Bermuda Triangle? Some ASSHOLE.

So we and the Mazda are all a little weary coming down that 101 which is a god damn concrete tunnel of doom through th' middle of Hollywood movin', oh, usually around fucking 80. Jesus Christ.

This white truck (SUV?) two lanes over blows a tire. I see it and then I see the headlights slowly getting brighter and the fucker's slowly, slowly going sideways and cutting into the middle lane. And then it starts to close in on gravity, going a good 75 MPH. fixing to roll sideways down the god damn forsaken 101. Bumper to bumper and fast, man. Fast as shit through a...a...fast.

So I see those lights pointing almost at me and I drop out of fifth into fourth and I just floor that little fucker. ZAMM! It's like Luke ditching the fuckin' Death Star. BLAZE up onto the guy in front of me and cut into the middle lane and just leave. We get clear by a god damn foot and that big white fucker starts rolling sideways down the 101 at 75 miles an hour. Crashing and roaring and screaming and taking out cars like BOWLING PINS and it's in the rearview and it looks like a fucking Spielberg movie, the death, the horrible, sudden death that's happening.

And what's his name is like do you think anybody died? And I'm like, yes, yes. People died. Various people died there on the 101 under Cahuenga. Yeah. It wasn't our Time, man. It wasn't our Time.

Man, I guess it just wasn't our Time.

And we sat on the curb outside a Denny's in fucking La Mirada and just shook and just thought about it and about what it meant, that it wasn't our Time. It was so LOUD and big and FIERY and the only difference between us and people that died was like 3 seconds. 3 polesmoking seconds.

When's the day I'm going to be on the other side of those three seconds? Is it tomorrow? Is it?

So anyway, th' blue 323 cashed it in on the 5 in Del Mar and I had it towed to my garage where it was pronounced Dead On Arrival. Yeah, it blew the head gasket pretty good. It happens. Smoking coolant belching out the exhaust, the whole ugly ordeal. Ugly. When something dies like that, like a ruined beast. But it happens. Three seconds, man. I'm telling you. Fuck, is my eyelid god damn spasming. I hate that crap. Knock it the fuck off or I'll tear you out.

Anyway. I'm a little down about losing my girl and I go back to give them the title for the junkyard th' next day and this Mexican dude is back in one of the bays with her and he's got the engine all apart. He's like, my daughter's going to college and she's going to need a car. I'm going to redo the engine for her.

That was fucking great. That was like having your dog get waxed by a car but it only turns out he's going to live with this other really great loving family over in Westfield or some shit.

ANYWAY: My dear little '94 Saturn SL1 Single Overhead Cam 1-point-six:

You rocked, babe. I hope you enjoyed the new clutch and the new fuel pump and the alternator. And th' EGR valve. Hope you felt brand new. Because you never let me down. The one and only time you crapped out was a mile from home. I love you for that. But you know that. You know how I feel about you. I love you. You were everything a brokeass musician could ever dream of in a car.

I'll never forget you. I really mean that. You were my best friend out there in the dark and the cold. All those gigs. All those gigs. Man, we made a lot of cash that didn't come from The Man together, you and I. 1 buck that is Man-free is worth 5 Manbucks. Everybody fucking knows that. I love making non-Manmoney. And I loved doing it with you. We provided a service together, you and I, and the service was Swerve. Helping all those good, honest folk get their swerve on from New York to Maine. Swerve, baby.

Long may you run.


Blogger XTCfan said...

Goddammit Bobby, stop making me cry! (And miss my '84 Rabbit!!)

RIP (rust in pieces), Saturn.

xtvwhl (I swear that's the WV I got...)

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

May she rest in peace. (Actually I'm quite glad she's gone as I hated competing with her and ... every time he left in her I was afraid she was going to fall apart.)

Lori Lightfoot

word verification: zooming (what she will be dreaming about in her afterlife).

7:10 PM  
Blogger Employee of the Month said...

I read this post listening to Hubert Laws & Milt Jackson's "Detours Ahead" off of their singularly sublime "Goodbye" long-player and, Sweet Annie Sprinkle, it sounded great.

wpfvtf - I can't say.

11:27 PM  
Blogger Kevin Wolf said...

Beautiful, Bobby. What is it with cars? I still regret ever selling my loose-ass, leaked under the dashboard Dodge Dart Swinger. Fuck.

xifzu - Fuck that too.

7:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Long may you run!!!!That junk
will be as thin as a saltine
by friday. If you LOVED HER so
much, you would have kept her
going a little longer. But no,
it's off to the crusher SHE will
go. Flat as a pancake. Then it's
off to the shredder. Think of that
as you cruise in your new HER!!!!

10:07 AM  
Blogger XTCfan said...

Hey, fuck you, Anny. I bet you get your kicks by cruising by funeral processions and throwing beer cans. Really classy. Don't even have the nuts to leave a name and address.

Fucking dknxfd.

1:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey xtcfan, a beer can is worth
a nickel. About the same price
your '84 Rabbit was worth. And
the comment wasn't for you!!
Mr. Lightfoot knows who I am, so

9:49 AM  

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