Like most Fridays, the day started out too damn early. My boss needed a new smartmedia card for the digital camera so he sent me out to get one. i found the keys, signed the shop truck out and shuffled across the parking lot in the cool morning air to the truck. Weatherbeaten, dented and filthy, it sat in the far corner of the parking lot. It always hesitated when it was cold, as if the fluid in the shaky automatic transmission was viscous as tar.

Hell, it may be tar and sawdust, as much as it gets serviced.

i urged the truck out into traffic with the sole of my steel toe boot and propped the other on the dash, just to the left of the instrument cluster. As my usual fashion, i had the window down, left arm propped out the open window, heat turned on high and diverted to the floorboard.

At every stop light, i was a drag race demon, the 351 CID V8 springing into action and losing most of it's useful torque through the ratty transmission. The shift from first into second jerked hard enough to almost bark the tires, but only from sheer violence, not power. Beautiful visions of clutch plates and planetary gears finally shattering under stress danced through my head as i made zero to sixty in just over fifteen seconds. Shit yeah, i was a bad motherfucker in this truck.

After finally harassing someone at the computer store into selling me the memory card, i returned to the truck, slid the key into the ignition switch and gave it a good twist. nothing



Sometime while i was blaring music through the demo machines (why else would they put mp3s on them and have speakers hooked up?), the truck peacefully passed away in the parking lot.

This was an event i had been expecting for quite a long time. Hell, we probably could've started a betting pool with JR in shipping & recieving on the demise of the shop truck. The only problem was i felt cheated. Damnit, i wanted to be driving when it shat itself. i didn't want to be the cause of the truck dying but i wanted to be right there in the driver's seat when it happened.

i wanted to feel the sudden loss of power and see the transmission artfully strewn behind me, receeding in the rearview mirror as i coasted to a stop. i wanted pistons siezing as the rings scored deep grooves into the cylinder walls. i wanted a rod thrown straight through the fucking oil pan. i had sick visions of standing next to the smoldering remains of a 1992 white Ford F-150 on the side of the road. Bucking and violent shakes as the rear axle snaps, high-pitched whine of bending metal, precious engine fluids leaking as if through window screen all ran through my mind. A shitstorm of flames and rending metal would have been excellent. But no.

It just wouldn't start. No click of the starter relay or solenoid, no grinding the starter motor against the flywheel, only dead silence. i figured it was probably the ignition switch, but i popped the hood just to make sure nothing was obviously wrong. Everything in the cavernous engine compartment seemed to be in decent order. Well, as decent as it ever got. Just for shits and giggles, i gave the large lead-acid battery a few well-placed smacks and i yanked on the battery cables, covering my hands in dirt and grease from the 4 gauge cables. i hit the ignition switch again.

The truck started on the first try.

i sped back to the shop at 60 mph, laughing the entire way. i thought it was dead and my chance for basking in its glow as both fuel tanks ingite was rudely snatched from my hands. Now there was another chance, another possible moment of glory. Just having that chance once again made me smile. Sometimes hope is better than the real thing. Sometimes the possibility is better than the actual event. Hope can deliver you through the darkest times, only a mere glimmer of the light at the end of the tunnel is enough to keep you going.

i've got my money on mid-October.