Ride 1D

Butch opened the passenger door, bent forward and peered into the coupe. He had seen the interior behind Double-J’s head, but found his perception as a potential passenger had been altered now that he was fully authorized to enter the vehicle.

The interior of Double-J’s car was the most unusual thing Butch had ever seen. It was dark, there was no dome light, the dull illumination from the dashboard meters and gauges filling the front with a greenish-yellow haze. He saw brown leather, lots of it, on the seats, the inside of the door he had opened, the steering wheel — none of it ripped or stained or worn, no defect visible. The stereo was loud (Butch had seen Double-J turn the volume down just before opening his door), a rock song that Butch couldn’t exactly recognize (he had heard it before, launched from student car radios in the school parking lot over the past few years) rattling through the car, Butch feeling the notes from the bass line vibrating in the door that his hand was grasping.

He knew instantly that this was not like any of the cars his family had owned, or any other car he had ever ridden in.  His father leased from the dealership, a bright new sedan every two years, always clean, efficient, quiet. There was also the pickup, always the pickup, older even than Butch, kept out in the backyard most of the time, its lower half perenially splashed with mud, the body riddled with dents and rust holes, but always dependable, never failing to start, never failing to go anywhere, haul anything, perform whatever function was required of it. And there was his uncle’s Cadillac, brutally comfortable, Butch always feeling uneasy when riding in it, as if he were wearing jeans and a t-shirt to church. No, Double-J’s car was much different than anything his parents, his grandparents, his uncles, his neighbors, had owned — Butch knew instantly that this car was not designed for efficiency, for work, for comfort, but rather for the pleasure of driving.

“Cool,” Butch said, throwing his backpack onto the floor and climbing into the passenger seat.

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