The Car Is Dead, Jim

Of course, I’m a writer, dammit, not a mechanic. And the car is only mostly dead.

See, the Buick was getting old, so Charlie and I bought it from Mom, and Mom bought a new used car, which we don’t want to talk about in case we take it to court. The case, not the car.

So I’ve been driving the Buick. And the brake lights started shining, which is never a good thing. So I took it in to my local guy. Local guy checked the brakes, fixed what needed fixing, and told me not to worry about the lights. These are the yellow lights that say Anti-Lock and Trac Off.

carrepairAnd I drove and I drove and I drove and I drove, and more lights came on: Service Engine Soon and BRAKE. So we took it in to Charlie’s not-so-local guy. He replaced the front brakes and shocks springs and fixed the lights.

And the lights came back on. Not, fortunately, the horrible and terrifying RED BRAKE LIGHT, but the moderately disquieting yellow ones.

So I took it back. And he fixed the lights and the tie rod end, which was worn to a frazzle.

And the lights are back on. Still not BRAKE, but Low Tire and, in red, Security. Now, as any Star Trek fan will tell you, Red + Security = Trouble. So we took the car back in. And our guy has had it all day and hasn’t called us, and I have a low and sorrowful feeling that the Buick has hopped the twig.

Neither Charlie nor I relish the thought of looking for another car. But I sure ain’t pushing the damn thing everywhere.

Anybody got a Healing Potion for a Buick?

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: A character faces the end of his or her means of transportation.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “The Car Is Dead, Jim

  1. Sara Marian

    June 14, 2013 at 8:48am

    “Anybody got a Healing Potion for a Buick?”

    …a junkyard? πŸ˜‰ Just going by my own experience….

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      June 14, 2013 at 9:01am

      It may come to that. We’re hoping Mr. J.L.B. Matekone — I mean Mr. Merritt — can fix it one more time.

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  2. Jane

    June 14, 2013 at 7:43pm

    I know a few colorful curses to invite the Buick into the Dark Beyond.

    OK. The rod thingy is important.

    I’m recalling how Richard Pryor solved HIS auto problem. (Hint: A large-caliber weapon was involved.)

    What you need is an auto dashboard superfluous-lights genius. Yeah, that’s it. Good luck. Pray for Elves. Or is that Little People? Brownies? Pixies? You say that’s only for getting your shoes polished overnight? Jeez, Fair Folk, get into the 21st century, already!

    Good thoughts and fairy dust.
    Your friend, Jane.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      June 14, 2013 at 9:17pm

      All excellent ideas, Jane. As it happens, I have an auto dashboard superfluous-lights genius. Yay!

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  3. PeteLaberge

    June 14, 2013 at 10:45pm

    You’ve either almost invested enough cash in it to have totally rebuilt and refurbished it… So the 3 issues are: How’s the body, the Engine and the Tranny.

    If the Hull is Ok, and the Warp Engines have another 50,000 light years of Dilithium left in them, and the Warp Drive Manifold is GO….!

    Then fix and drive. Else… “Did I say the Buick should be towing garbage? No, I should have said it should be towed off as garbage.”

    At this point I expect Jimmy Doohan to either stand up and buy me a beer, or punch me in the Kazoo.

    Have it inspected from stem to stern. port and starboard, and get a good assessment done.

    And then, well, may the Force be with you! (William Shatner would have me executed for that!)

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      June 15, 2013 at 7:03am

      Pete, you owe me a new keyboard. Or at least a new cup of coffee. πŸ˜€

      And Mr. Shatner might have you executed, but Mr. Takei would be proud of you. He’s promoting peace between the Trek and Wars factions.

      Problem: FIXED!
      Car: DRIVEN!

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      • PeteLaberge

        June 16, 2013 at 1:40am

        RE: Pete, you owe me a new keyboard. Or at least a new cup of coffee.

        Get in Line. Your number is about 126. I do that to people. Sorry. I might be able to afford the coffee. The KB? “It was a depreciated asset”.

        RE: And Mr. Shatner might have you executed, but Mr. Takei would be proud of you. He’s promoting peace between the Trek and Wars factions.

        Yes, but I think a lot of Shatner’s stuff is a bit out of fun to keep the battle going for PR purposes. Takei, has really come up in my estimations. He’s one helluva classy guy, despite his “bitching” and gayness. He’s done more for the gay cause than anyone, and has done so in a classy bearable way. He also spreads happiness. And peace. And we need that in the world.

        RE: Problem: FIXED! Car: DRIVEN!

        Yahoo!! One hopes the Buick will appreciate all that had been done for it, and last several more years.

        Hang in there.

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        • Author

          Marian Allen

          June 16, 2013 at 8:43am

          The Karmic balance is restored: Now my laptop is fritzed out. I’ll take it to the shop, but I’m afraid I fried something by using it too heavily. It was a good laptop, but not built for use as a desktop replacement, which is how I’ve been using it. I’m on my REAL desktop computer now, tucked away in my office where I can’t be entertained distracted by the household goings-on.

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  4. Jo Robinson

    June 15, 2013 at 6:22am

    I’ve got an old 1970 Land Rover to bang around in locally, and it’s brakes are always conking out with no warning – LOL! It usually waits for a steep hill down – preferably on a corner. Nearly hit things loads of times. Buy another car I reckon – that Buick sounds a bit stroppy. πŸ˜€

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      June 15, 2013 at 7:06am

      Not as stroppy as the one #4 Daughter was driving until recently. That one, the windows only worked if the temperature was below freezing, the turn signals didn’t work … I forget all the other charming eccentricities it had built up over the years.

      My car is working again, so maybe she has a few years left in ‘er. Like me. πŸ˜‰

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  5. D Kar

    June 15, 2013 at 6:28am

    We have an old 97 Pontiac. The check engine light is major, but no one could figure out why it came on a few years ago. They even took the entire dash apart. It seems to be a problem “in the computer”, or so they say. That means they have no clue. I have driven it for years now with no issues other than routine maintenance. Go figure!

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      June 15, 2013 at 7:09am

      According to my guy, that means the computer which assesses signals from the various systems is either getting a false reading or sending a false report to the dash. That’s what my lights were doing until I took it to my guy. He knows how to get into the computer and reset it. Then he fixed what was wrong in the car and looked to see if the lights came back on. They didn’t. πŸ™‚

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      • Jane

        June 15, 2013 at 9:11am

        Oh! Oh! I just remembered what Bruce did to reset the computer!

        He disconnected the battery, waited some magic amount of time, then reconnected. Voila! Lights out!

        Sorry it took me so long. I’d have fixed this ASAP if I had half a brain left. πŸ˜‰

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        • Author

          Marian Allen

          June 15, 2013 at 9:20am

          Ah, the old turn it off and then turn it back on trick! I should have deduced that, as soon as I heard there was a computer involved. heh

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  6. Bill

    June 17, 2013 at 7:28am

    Yes we call it the recycling yard, only good place for a worn out American car, should have brought a good Britsh one ;))

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      June 17, 2013 at 8:13am

      Bill, my heart belongs to the Morris Mini Cooper, but we can’t afford one, so I just startle people by shouting, “My car!!” every time I see one.

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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