The Longest .6 Mile

The engine turned over, which was enough for me. Once again, we had cheated the one in one hundred-twenty-thousand chance of the hydrogen gas igniting from a spark from the jumper cables and blowing up the battery. Now the fun part began. Driving point six miles to the parking garage with a shaky transmission, a dead battery, an expired registration, and no insurance.

The day was clear and warm. Good weather for driving, but the inside of the car was hot. Didn’t help that I couldn’t open the passenger side window. Damn electrics. I read the odometer. One hundred ninety five thousand eighty-three miles. It really wasn’t a lot of miles for a twenty-one year old car. Then again, the odometer was broken when I took posession of it. Who knew how long it was broken before then.

The car had been laying in the sun for about two months, and the air inside was stale.

We got going down Massachusetts Avenue, taking the back route to avoid traffic just in case the car died on the way. I thought if it did die, hopefully it would be once we passed Tenleytown, and then I could coast the car downhill the rest of the way.

Then, before reaching Albemarle, a noise I didn’t recognize. A small whir and a whine like that of an electric car. I ignored it and pushed on past Tenleytown, taking a moment to accelerate past a bicyclist when it was safe.

At the moment, the car is back in the garage, safe from tree branches, the elements, unsavory elements, and ticketing, where I can forget about it for another two or three years.

Yes I know. Harrowing.