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Hot Rod Lincoln In The Sky
by Andrew Dunn
Even after it happened a lot of things stayed the same and a lot of things didn’t. Like on the corner, where Ole Junior turned a vacant lot into a farm. Mind you, everybody called him Ole Junior not because there was a Senior in his past of a Third in his future. Junior was his name. And he wasn’t just old. Junior was generationally old.
Anyway, after it happened, Ole Junior drove some stakes into the ground and then used chicken wire to set himself up a fence. Sort of a fence. It was only waist high. “I doan wonta keep ‘em out, not all uv’em,” Ole Junior grumbled. “Why not?” everybody wondered. We all knew what had happened after all.
For a time, life went on as usual. Said Charlie still plopped himself down on a folding chair across from Ole Junior’s plot. Everybody called him Said Charlie because his name was Charlie and for as long as folks could remember he never said a single word to a soul. So people would call out “Said Charlie?”, just to watch him turn his head and grin real big. The one o’clock coal train still lumbered through twice a day, every day. When it came through during summer afternoon, kids still pointed at laughed at the graffiti painted on the sides of the hopper cars. Even so, life went on as unusual as can be too.
Especially when Ole Junior’s little farm started to show signs of growth. The first were towards the back of his plot, where his chicken wire fence met what was left of Mr. John’s Diner. Oh how we all missed that diner. Best cheese omelets around. But that’s how it was. Some things had changed and one of them was that Mr. John’s was little more than a pile of leftover nothing after it all happened.
Another was the asphalt in Ole Junior’s plot. Most folks thought Junior had done lost his mind, or had turned plain stupid, when he put seed out on asphalt. It seemed like a fool thing to do. Then again, Ole Junior was old. Generationally old. How old is that? When Magellan and de Soto and all the rest came over, Ole Junior was probably standing there to meet ‘em old. Can’t second guess a fella like that. Sure enough, after a time the asphalt started to split open and then the first sprouts started to come up.
The first bit that came up was bright chrome. Then headlights. A grill. And over the space of about a week, a form that gradually revealed itself as a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air. Next to that a Plymouth Roadrunner. A Ford. Another Chevy. Off in one corner a Nash Rambler and in another a hot rod Lincoln with a four on the floor, nitrous-oxide kit, and suicide doors.
Whether Ole Junior ever told anybody about his plan or not, who knows. Looking back on it, Ole Junior had to have known it was going to happen again and that they’d like the taste of a vintage automobile over the flavor of old diners and shoe stores. They sure did. When they clawed their way out of the shadows that Tuesday morning, they went straight for Ole Junior’s plot like ants moving in on a picnic lunch.
Most folks tried to stay out of sight while those shadowy somethings munched on Mopar and burped up a stench after chewing their way through upholstery and Delco radios. Said Charlie didn’t though. He stayed at his spot across the street and didn’t say a word, even as the sound of tires screeching cut through all the commotion.
Yep, Ole Junior had to have known they were coming. He’d harvested that hot rod Lincoln the night before. Seeing that sleek black machine tearing through town with orange-blue fire spitting out of the exhaust was a sight to behold. Somebody no one had ever seen – his name “Jett Trayberne” was painted in red cursive about the driver’s door – wheeled it in close and fast by Ole Junior’s plot.
Then Ole Junior popped out of the sunroof and sprayed those things with burst after burst of photonic energy. On top of that, he’d booby trapped his crop with electromagnetic grenades. When a wad of photonic energy slammed close by, the grenades exploded in waves of phase-distorting power. Those shadowy somethings didn’t stand a chance against all that kinetic mayhem. By the time Jett Trayberne punched the gas, cut the nitrous on, and rocketed that hot rod Lincoln into hyperspace, darn near all those things were laying there dead to the world.
“Well, I reckon we’re finally free of whatever those things were,” someone said. That was the general consensus around town. But not behind closed doors where everybody wondered what the best method was to dispose of those shadowy somethings laying there dead in a patch where Cadillacs were starting to wrestle for space to bloom among a tangle of cars that grew more and more crowded each day.
“That Jett Trayberne’ll come back,” people promised, “and Ole Junior will be with him.” Sounds weird I know, that an entire town would put all its luck in those two guys.
Then again, when the night sky was clear enough the people that had them set up their telescopes and looked for shooting stars. The next day they’d argue over whether the shooting star they’d followed was just a star, or that hot rod Lincoln Jett Trayberne was wheeling all over the galaxy.
Don’t ask why, but my bet’s on Said Charlie – only he knows for sure.
micheledutcher - This is a really fun story. I especially enjoy the unusual take on fighting aliens by baiting them with vintage cars. Nice way to set the scene with language too. Thanks for the smile!
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