Johnny got drunk
behind the wheel again and
smashed his car into a tree.
Jenny wasn’t wearing a seatbelt
and died on the way to the hospital.
That was twenty years ago
and the only reason Johnny
had recalled it right there and then
as he left the party that night
was that across the road
parked right under the
was a 1983 mustang GT
blue finish with cobra rims.
and dropped his keys.
It wasn’t just any mustang GT
sitting there as though shipped in fresh
from outer space
It wasn’t just any car
It was the car
the one Jenny had died in
the one with the rear left panel replaced
by a slightly deeper shade
the one with long yellow scuff marks
all across the front bumper
and worn dark tints
missing patches here and there
and of course the
silly smiley-face sticker on the side bumper
where Jenny had put it.
Johnny couldn’t breathe
as he approached the car as
inside the shifter sported a chrome skull
on a center console painted black and white.
He did that
twenty years ago
when Jenny was still alive.
This wasn’t happening to Johnny
There must have been some answer to this.
Some strange coincidence.
He decided to wait across the street
on the curb
sobering up –half falling asleep
until when near dusk some kid came
cigarette in his hand.
nobody walked like that.
Kid went up to the car
and stuck his keys in.
“Hey!” Johnny approached.
“Where’d you get the car?”
“What’s it to you?” The kid asked.
“Where’d you get it?” Johnny’s voice grew louder.
“Piss off, man. I don’t answer to you.”
Johnny went to grab him but
the slippery bugger dodged it
“Get off me! I’ll charge you!
You can’t just run around grabbing at people!”
Johnny managed to catch him by the shoulder and
spun him around against the car
the kid grinned
his breath smelled like rotten eggs.
“WHERE DID YOU GET THE CAR!?” Johnny slammed his
hand down on the roof
right next to the bastard kid’s head.
The kid shrugged. “Alright. Uncle gave it to me, man.
Some old trash job he touched up. He’s a
mechanic. We good?”
Johnny turned away. Was it possible?
Johnny supposed it was. It had to be.
“Alright, never mind.” He said.
The kid picked up his cigarette.
“You need help, man. Cut down on the booze or something.”
Johnny walked away and heard
the car door slam behind him
and the engine started with that familiar
deep rumbling that he had always loved.
The car started off…
Johnny turned around to face the
red tail lights loudly flashing.
The kid leaned out the window
and looked back.
“Oh, Mister -and one more thing…
With a calm smile he said:
“Jenny says Hi.”