My dream car has always been a Tercel. Why? Well, let me tell you a story.
I remember the first and last time driving in my Dad’s Tercel. We were merging onto the highway when the Tercel’s three speed automatic slammed the car into third gear, like two trains colliding at mach three. I can still remember my dad yelling, “FUCK!” as we ran over the transmission. From that moment on, I was hooked.
I searched endlessly on Craigslist until I found the perfect one. After setting my range to “unlimited,” I found a car that was just posted. I immediately emailed the seller. About three years later, he responded, accepting my offer with a few stipulations. When I found out the car was in the Oort Cloud surrounding our solar system, I was ready for the journey.
How would I get to the Oort Cloud? I would be shot off of the top of an Atlas rocket. How would I get back? I planned to drive.
After a few calls with NASA, they said I would have to be put into cryogenic sleep in order to not die completely alone as the most isolated person in history. That sounded great! I would have a few opportunities to wake up and send a forlorn text message to my friends and family halfway through my 300-year journey.
I was buying the car from Z’gork, a phallus-shaped alien living near Alpha Centari. Z’gork’s people have a lifespan of nine thousand years, so it wouldn’t be much waiting for him. We had been exchanging single messages every three years in order to arrange the sale.
The agreed upon price? Five hundred American dollars and a carton of filterless Camels. Apparently Z’gork and his people are big on nicotine.
After launching into space, I fell into a deep cryogenic sleep. Apparently I slept right through the halfway point, and woke up in Z’gork’s front yard! His whole planet was paved over, and stank like a landfill. Reminded me a lot of the New Jersey Turnpike.
I finally met Z’gork and he spoke really great English. After a delicious plate of S’pinsk Borkley, we went outside to look at his machine.
Man it was beautiful.
The body was dinged up just right; the primer was scraped off where Z’gork had run over curbs and rubbed up against fire hydrants. The front seats both had mysterious stains on them, and the original tan floor mats were now a matted, colorless felt.
“Body was straight as a die a few weeks ago. My boys accidentally put a dent in the driver’s door when they were running around spraying easy-cheese at each other.”
I loved that about this car. So many quirks. The impact of his son’s alien skull added such great character to my Tercel.
After talking to Z’gork a little, he said he learned English from watching the movie Dodgeball over and over again on his stolen television. He told me Dodgeball was the only English movie available on his planet, and he liked how dumb the English language sounded.
After promising more DVDs to Z’gork when I came back to visit, we talked about the paint.
“Car was originally Sphincter Blue but I shot primer right over it. Wanted to paint it orange for my wife, who loves oranges, but never got the chance.”
I was so glad he left it in bare primer. I just loved the way the sun didn’t glint off of it, and how it completely obscured all the body lines.
I paid Z’gork, gave him his cigarettes, and was on my way.
Most of the journey was smooth-sailing. I took my cryogenic sleeping bag with me to pass the time. I woke up just as I was passing Neptune. When I had to escape the massive gravity of the gas giant Jupiter, the Tercel began to struggle a little. I had all ninety three horses galloping when I just barely reached the asteroid belt. Phew! Close one.
The transmission also saved my skin a few times.
I almost slammed straight into Mars swerving past an asteroid, but the Tercel kicked down like an angry mule at the last second. Sped me right past that lifeless brown wasteland.
As I approached the pale blue dot we call home, I had time to reflect. The Tercel was everything I thought it could be. They say don’t meet your heroes? Well they clearly weren’t thinking about the Tercel.
As I entered earth’s orbit, I realized the planet was now completely flooded after three hundred years. The only place left to land was right around Boulder Colorado, which was surrounded by a massive seawall.
I landed on I-25, and opened up my phone to check what was going on.
As It turns out, people now lived as cyborgs to around four hundred years old. KFC’s secret herbs and spices had leaked to the public, and Penn Jillette was in his 18th term as emperor of the free Boulder zone.
Oh, and one more thing.
My Tercel was finally back home.