Upon my word, I’m not sure how to say this but I believe I am the owner of a zombie car.Don’t ask me how such a thing is possible; my mechanic Gregory had no idea what the matter was and I had to rely on the expertise of young Michael who runs the comic store and indie movie theater. He seemed to know all about it. At least he pretended to.
It all started a week ago with the accident. I was coming up Route 43, just north of Springersville. It was foggy and you know how the road curves left just over the river? Well, straight ahead is the gate for Granger’s scrap yard and I just missed the turn completely in the fog and plowed right into that chain-link gate with my 2002 Corolla. It was an honest mistake, I can assure you; no drink was involved. You can take an old woman’s word on that point.
Well, I ran through the gate and before I could even touch the brakes, I ran smack into the rusted hulk of some big, old truck. I was lucky not to set the airbag off. I was so shook up, I just reversed and drove on up the road. It wasn’t like there was much I could do there at that time of night.
It really hit me when I got home and I just started shaking. I checked the front of the car. It was a bit banged up and had rust all over it. I left it and went in for a nice strong cup of tea.
The next morning, the rust had spread all over it. I brought it into the shop and they got the rust off and repainted it, but the next day it was the same as before. And, when I went to put my groceries in the trunk, there was part of an engine block sitting in there. Imagine that! That really steamed my vegetables. I went and gave Gregory a piece of my mind. He gave it right back, with change, but while we were arguing, I saw Michael listening in and checking the car.
“I know what’s wrong,” he said. “You got a zombie car.”
“What’s that?” I snapped. I was not in the mood for foolishness.
“It’s just like a zombie person,” Michael said. “You have a lot of decay and it’s eating brains, or engines in this case.”
I was about to whack him over the head for being an idiot, but he was giving me more than Gregory had, so I didn’t. “How do you fix it then, if you’re so smart?” I asked.
“With zombies, you can’t fix it at all. Usually, you just shoot them in the head.”
“And what’s that with a car, the head gasket?” I asked, about to whack him anyway. “Good luck explaining that to the insurance company. ‘My car turned into a zombie so I shot it in the head gasket. Give me money.’ They’d laugh themselves silly.”
He shrugged. “Just saying.”
I drove home in my zombie car. Kids these days.
The problem was that it kept disappearing at night, sometimes coming home at dawn and sometimes not. I followed it once. It wasn’t hard, since it just sort of shambled along in first gear. I watched it pop its hood and eat the engine out of Dr. Patel’s Ferrari down the road. I would have stopped him but I didn’t know how and Dr. Patel always lets his dog crap in my yard anyway.
Finally I had enough. Not sure what to do, I drove it out to Thompson Road and parked it on the train tracks as the train was coming.
“Good bye, old boy,” I said. It seemed more effective than shooting it in the head gasket.
The train was almost on it and blowing its horn like an angry elephant, when suddenly my car put itself in reverse and backed off the tracks. The last I heard of it was a low, grumbling blast of its horn before it disappeared down the road.
I told the insurance company that it was stolen. It’s not technically a lie and even if it were, what was an old woman supposed to do?