Rena pulled into the Muscle Bound car lot an hour before close. As soon as her pumps hit the asphalt one of the salesmen came ambling over, all three hundred pounds of him tucked into a dark blue track-suit. His eyes slid up and down her.
“Didn’t I see you here a couple days ago?”
Rena nodded. She hooked a thumb at the new Prius she’d just climbed out of. “I ended up buying this piece of shit.”
“It wasn’t my idea.”
He looked at the Prius and jerked his head away, like he’d just seen a child’s severed arm lying on the pavement. “What can I do for you, hon?”
“You still got that Charger?”
“Right over there.” He pointed.
Rena licked her lips. She took her time doing it. “I want to . . . I want to look at it again.”
“Buyer’s remorse, huh?”
The salesmen slid a chubby arm over her shoulder. Together, they walked the short distance to the Dodge Charger; a fully-restored ’68, bottle green with matte black striping. Evening sun glinted off silver and gold highlights deep within the paint.
Rena tugged at the driver’s side handle. “Can I?”
“Can you what?”
“Sit inside for a little while.”
The salesman glanced around the lot. “Alright,” he said, unlocking the door with a jangling key ring he took from his pocket. “Just lock it back up again when you’re finished, okay?”
“And tell that man of yours he’s an asshole.”
“He knows. He’s proud of it.”
The salesman shrugged and walked off.
Inside, the car smelled like patent leather and Armor-All wipes. Rena eased herself into the driver’s seat, feeling it pucker with her weight. The gauges on the dashboard reflected a simpler time. This car’s got twenty years on me, she thought. Could’ve been my daddy.
If only her husband had let her buy it.
He had more than enough money. The huge sticker-price wasn’t the problem. “I’m teaching you a little lesson,” he’d told her, “about responsibility. And besides, a Prius is good for the planet.”
Fucking tight-ass. Like he’d ever cared about that.
She gripped the wheel and closed her eyes. Imagined the 440 Magnum engine thrumming into life, belching blue smoke, the big steel frame shuddering as the Charger’s tires grabbed and bullied rural road in some far-off hicksville county. Nothing clean or economical about it. The pretend-vibrations crept up from the chassis and coursed through her legs and thighs.
Especially her thighs.
She glanced out the window. No one else was around.
Oh Lord, the power . . .
She turned and ground her hips against the bucket seat, feeling the leather’s contours through her skirt. And when the moment was right, she reached a hand over to stroke the rigid stick-shift.
Through the window, she could see the little Prius. Its headlights and front bumper made a sad, serious face, watching her.
She pretended the face belonged to someone else.