Lydia made her way down the poorly lit stairs to her little Karmann Ghia in the parking lot. Gunther sat there waiting for her faithfully and she had to smile. Her brothers had rebuilt the engine and painted it for her, after picking the car up at an auction five years ago. Despite their overprotectiveness, she liked the reminder of them that Gunther represented.
After unlocking the car, she plopped into the driver’s seat and stuck the key in the ignition, wondering what felt “off” about Gunther this morning.
Turning the key, all she heard was, “Errrrt.”
“Don’t say that Gunther, baby.” Sometimes it helped to sweet-talk him a little.
With the sinking feeling that something was really wrong, she turned the key in the ignition once more.
“Oh, no. Come on Gooonther,” she begged, drawing his name out like a porn star. “Give it up for me, baby.”
“Er–er,” he replied negatively. She pulled the key out of the ignition and lifted herself from the seat, suddenly realizing what was wrong. In the dark, she hadn't noticed. This day was going to hell already.
She gasped in dismay when she saw the damage done during the night. Her tires had been slashed. Going around the car, she could see all four of them were gutted.
Now she wasn’t even at square one anymore. Less than zero. She felt like fate was determined to keep her in this town. She balled up her hands and stomped her feet angrily.
“Motherfucker,” she growled to herself.
Something went “tsk,” beneath the engine door at the rear of the car.
She patted the engine door and said, “Not you, baby. It’s not your fault.” She looked around, wondering if anyone was watching her have a chat with her car.
Don’t fib and tell me at some point in your life you haven’t had some sort of conversation with your car. Maybe it was while you were in college, paying your own way, trying to figure out how you were going to eat and have money for gas. Maybe it was when you were stranded in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night…alone. I’ve always had conversations with my car, often with my kids buckled into their car seats. that's how my kids learned some of the interesting words they know. I drive a more reliable vehicle than I did when I was in school or on my own so the conversations have lost their beseeching, pleading tenor, but we talk nonetheless.
My first car was a 1975 Chevrolet Camaro. Yes, I was in love. New paint, new tires, clean interior, “new to me." I adored that car, but learned soon that I had to croon just right on cold mornings because the carburetor would stick and the engine would die if I didn’t feather it just right. No matter what we did, it always gave me trouble with that one issue. The problem became a permanent issue one night during a raging thunderstorm when I rolled out into an intersection and didn’t hear the telltale flutter of the engine. It died, in the literal sense, when my sister and I were broadsided by a jeep that didn’t see us in time.
Many years, and several cars later, I am once again driving a Camaro, only this one is new and has no issues with obsolete things like carburetors. But I still talk to her. I even named her. Sexy cars need names...
Back to what I was talking about before I started reminiscing... I could have given Lydia a newer vehicle, I suppose. When I was writing Lydia's Twin Temptation, I asked my husband, "What is the quintessential ‘chick’ car?" As a product of his generation, my handsome hubby replied, “That car Molly Ringwald drove in Pretty in Pink…or was it Sweet Sixteen. You know the one I mean?”
Yup. The pink Karmann Ghia.
As I wrote that scene, I figured all you girls could relate to it. My heroines have driven Hondas, Toyotas, and other practical vehicles, but many times the vehicles themselves tell a lot about a heroine. In Spurs and Heels, Juliana Meyer drove a white, late-model Camaro. That was just me gratuitously giving her my dream car, not knowing that Santa already had me on his list for one that Christmas. But the vehicle also said a lot about Juliana as a person. Classy, well-kept and hard to keep up with. Lydia lived in much humbler circumstances and I couldn’t imagine a worse situation than being trapped in Fort Stockton, Texas, in the dead of summer, driving a car that didn’t have air-conditioning and a questionable life span at best. Needless to say, she finds her way to Divine and so does little Gunther.
I enjoy giving my heroines notable, memorable cars. The heroine in Their Divine Doctor, the next installment of the Divine Creek Ranch Collection, Doctor Emma Guthrie, drives one of those horrendous Pontiac Azteks, which were only made from 2001 to 2005. With a bold Yellow and Black paint job, it looked like a giant bumblebee going down the road. Not sexy at all, but it worked for her character. I’m not ruling out a gremlin for some poor, helpless heroine down the road.
So…what was the quirkiest, funniest or most exasperating vehicle you’ve ever driven? Leave me a comment telling me about your funniest or scariest experience. I’ll also be blogging on the release day for Lydia’s Twin Temptation, November 25th. Leave a comment on that blog post as well. I’ll throw everyone’s name from today's blog and the 25th's in a hat and do a drawing. The winner has their choice of any of my titles in e-book format. Please make sure to leave your contact email with your comment. I’ll do the drawing on the evening of the 25th and let the winner know that weekend.
I’m feeling the need for the wind in my hair and a little Nickelback blasting until my eardrums bleed. So if you are tooling down the highway, minding your own business and a sexy as hell Dark Red 2011 Camaro flies by you with “Shakin’ Hands” blasting out of open windows, make sure and wave to that crazy Heather chick. If I ever go for a ride with someone besides my hunky husband, it would have to be Vin Diesel. Couldn't leave y'all without at least one handsome guy picture. See how much I love ya?