The heat snuggled in, suffocating me in its tender, burning grip. Sweat threatened to trickle into my already stinging eyes, and I wiped my forehead with an equally damp handkerchief before tucking back into my overalls pocket. There was nothing I could do for the rusted out bucket of bolts, no matter how much the owner insisted it had been a mint-condition cherry red Fairlane in the years before they’d pulled it out of the weathered pile of termite food they called a barn. The frame of the old car was twisted irrevocably in several very important and highly impractical to fix places, the parts of the body that weren’t full of jagged, snagging holes held all of the dents and wrinkles of a rough and tumble life, and the interior must’ve been used as a raccoon commode, which hadn’t been improved upon by the baking summer heat. There was nothing I wanted from that thing, and my temper was beginning to rise at the thought of a wasted trip out to the boonies.
Squinting from the overly-bright sky, I took in our surroundings. Maybe, just maybe, there was something more in the gnarled tangle of the hedgerow running parallel to the backside of the rundown barn. I motioned to Jason, my tow guy, and sent him in search of forgotten treasures in the cool shade of the thorny trees while I stood solemnly next to the musty, Mothra-beaten Fairlane in the barren barnyard. I had very little hope that there would be anything of interest to us in those aged trees, and Jason confirmed my suspicions when he stepped back into the light a few minutes later, his leathery face pulled into a weary frown.
The sharp rays of the sun had begun to prickle my skin; I knew I was on my way to becoming red as a lobster, and that wasn’t improving my mood either. “It’s all junk, let’s amscray,” I muttered to Jason. With a curt nod, he swung himself bodily into the passenger’s side of the truck cab, and a wave of stale cigarettes, Vicks VapoRub, and decades of sickly sweet greasy old man sweat hit me full in the face. I snorted violently, bringing Jason’s signature blend of smells back up my throat. Turning, I spat a gob of mentholatum-laced phlegm over my shoulder and stomped around the front bumper of the truck to the driver’s side door. With a jerk and a scratchy squeak, the door reluctantly shuddered open. I hopped in, started ‘er up, and we left the remains of the Fairlane and the barn in the dust.