This was something that I wanted to put into an actual story, but it just wouldn't fit anywhere. So here we are, a weeny-assed ficlet. Just so it's gone from my pile of unused documents.
The Impala chug-chugged her way into the muddy excuse for a parking lot, the neons reflected in all her shiny side panels. She came to a stop at the rough kerb, her weary driver smoothing her into Park.
She felt his exhaustion as he pulled at her handle and heaved himself out of the car. She caught his rough voice mumble something about coffee and pain in the ass motels before he locked her up. The sound of his heavy boots crunching away from her always made her a little sad, and yet she knew he'd be back.
He always came back. Even when he'd disappeared for those lonely, edgy months, leaving her with the younger one, he had still come back. He wasn't the same, she could feel it in his grip on her wheel, but he had come back to her.
Well hey there, good lookin', came the unexpected sound of a nearby vehicle, and she sensed a car next to her in the parking lot. Ain't you a sight for sore eyes.
She thought about the sound of the car, tried to place the familiar thrum.
Impala, right? What are you, a '69? it continued.
'67, actually, she supplied.
No way - you're in too good condition for a '67, the other car replied, a definite awed tone to its friendly voice.
Been rebuilt, she admitted. What are you, a Ford? I'm parked round the other way, can't see you.
Well I can see you, darlin', the voice grinned. Dayum, if you ain't a fine piece of workmanship.
Some days I'm surprised I still run, she managed, intrigued by the metallic noise.
Must be that Chevy magic, the vehicle teased. Ford Thunderbird, 1960, pleased to meet you. More modern parts in me than original, I'm ashamed to say.
Hardly your fault, she allowed.
That's a fine rebuild on ya, if you don't mind me sayin', he whistled.
Of course it is - my driver took care of it. Built me up from pretty much pretzel-ends.
No shit? What happened?
A friggin' big-ass truck, she replied, annoyed. I ever see that truck again there'll be a set-to as it won't forget. She paused, remembering her manners. My driver was distraught once he was well enough to come find what was left of me.
She let herself warm at the memory of his words as he had leaned a hand on her twisted chassis: "Oh sweetheart, what have they done to you? Don't you worry about a thing - I'll set you straight."
He promised he'd set me right again - and he did, she added proudly.
Helluva task, that.
Yeah. But I've been with this family for two generations, he wasn't going to let me go.
Woah, two generations, the car breathed. Betcha got stories, huh?
Like you wouldn't believe, she chuckled.
Shoot, he snorted, all I got is some young kid who can't even tell which end points where.
I've had all sorts in my trunk - weighs a tonne just thinking about it, she smiled ruefully. Then there's the mud, the tree branch scratches, the animal damage, the salt rounds gone wide, the police shootin' at you… It's not all bad though - he washes it all off and patches me back up. Takes real good care of my back seat, she added wickedly.
God, I remember them days, he sighed.
Hmm, she sighed wistfully along with him.
Last time anyone gave my back seat a working out musta been... Ooh, maybe 1987? he asked himself. He heard the Impala chuckle. When then?
Last Tuesday, she admitted smugly. Kinda ironic, from my point of view.
Ironic how? the Ford wondered.
I don't think he knows that's where he comes from, she grinned. His Dad was real fond of my back seat too. Must run in the family.
The other vehicle laughed. You like this family, he added knowingly.
They're mine more'n I'm theirs, she confirmed. I mean, Hell, I been run twice round the new clock, haring here, there and everywhere. I've had parts swapped out, heads changed, track rods renewed, suspension replaced… And then, my driver was just going through some weird phase where he was getting paranoid about keeping me pristine. Then he disappeared. I was really worried - really worried. But he came back, more pleased to see me than I'd ever seen him. She paused, thinking.
You remind me of an old Buick I once knew, he smiled. Took a lickin' and kept on tickin'.
I been in the wars, there's no doubt about that. But every time I'm just waiting for the next round that gets thrown at me.
You'll outlive 'em all then, he chuckled warmly.
Her happiness slipped away like rain from her windscreen.
I hope not, she admitted. What a horrible thought.
It was silent for a long minute, each vehicle absorbed in their own thoughts.
You ever get the feeling that… sometimes they know what we're thinking? the Ford ventured.
The Impala considered it.
Sometimes. With my driver. The younger one's lovely - a real cute little thing. But… He just drives.
Hmm, he agreed, I know whatcha mean. And this other one? Your made-in-the-back-seat favourite?
Some days he just drives - when he's tired. But some nights… You know, when he's the only one awake, and he's got his favourite music going, and he's got both hands on my wheel like it's the most beautiful thing he's ever touched… Sometimes it's different.
It was silent again, save other cars milling about the parking lot. It began to drizzle just slightly.
I really envy you, the Ford sighed. I haven't had a drive like that in... Longer than I can remember.
Your young man just drives?
Yeah, just drives, he sighed sadly.
They stood in commiserating silence for another moment.
Well, you never know, the Impala offered, you might get sold one day.
Aww, don't know about that. Think I'm coming to the end of my trail. Us old jalopies don't get the attention we need any more.
Too true, too true, she agreed. Least I know my young man's gonna do his best to keep me going.
And he's doing a fine job so far, he observed. That's a fine set of wings you got there.
She smiled to herself. He replaced them, she managed shyly.
Well he sure did it right, he chuckled.
There was a crunch of gravel and she let her excitement rekindle.
Looks like I'm gone, she hissed to the Ford.
Well it's been real nice talking with ya, he replied, sounding very pleased. Does my carburettor good to see a fine girl like yourself in such good shape.
You say that to all the Chevys, she replied dismissively. But she felt comforted all over.
Take care now, he hissed quickly as they heard a key in her lock.
And you. Good luck, she called hastily.
Her door squeaked open and her happiness reinstated itself as a familiar weight began to warm her driver's seat.
There was the familiar aroma of coffee and cardboard. The key went into her ignition and turned smartly. Her engine purred into life and she thrilled at her driver's touch on her steering wheel.
"Did you miss me, baby?" her driver mused quietly.
Always, she purred, as he slid her into Reverse and coaxed her out of the parking lot.