Suggested Audio Gasoline:
 John Carpenter & Alan Howarth “Christine”
 Thurston Harris “Little Bitty Pretty One”
Where would the world be without automobiles? In recent times the answer to that poser has become the topic for many a heated debate. With the Earth’s natural resources depleting fast, these gas guzzlers are often seen as an unnecessary evil. Spilling out all manner of impurities into our environment, their necessity has become questionable and this has been responsible for folk choosing vehicles with smaller engines or simply opting for public transport as a means of getting from A to B. However, for a young lad on the cusp of eighteen who cares not about the effect they have on the environment, and only how cool his appearance to the opposite sex, the debate loses all credibility.
It wouldn’t be the same had Nicholas Cage learned how to Walk Angry and Miss Daisy would surely have had something to say about being shuttled about on the back of a rickety rickshaw. Meanwhile Herbie would have been consigned to the scrap heap and Lightning McQueen would never have made it past the storyboard phase. I always appreciated that they were responsible for noxious omissions and road accident statistics didn’t lie but they were also seen as a status symbol and you were nobody in my town unless your key chain reflected ownership of one of these four-wheeled fancies. I commenced driving school the moment my provisional license was printed and, despite it taking no less than eight examinations to finally bag myself the ticket to ride, I never gave up.
Traditionally your first vehicle was little more than a run-around, a heap of trash which barely started in the winter months and looked ready to give up the ghost at any given moment. This automobile invariably ended up getting pranged or written off entirely and, when this occurred, any tears shed were fleeting as it was only to be expected. We pick up numerous bad habits the moment we are no longer accompanied by an instructor and learning the hard way isn’t so troublesome when the vehicle in question holds no great appeal. We simply chalk it down to experience and move on to bigger and better things. If we’re smart then we learn from our mistakes and our next automobile reaps the benefit of our experience. If not, then maybe we weren’t cut out for driving in the first place.
I had yearned for my very own transportation and had every intention of treating it with the utmost respect. It was my eighteenth birthday and there was only one item on my shopping agenda. I simply had to have a car, anything less would have been unthinkable, as girls just weren’t taking me seriously. While I was picking up dates by way of bus ticket, other boys my age were losing their virginity in the back seat and cruising around with their windows down and seats reclined, stealing all the attention. Nobody took me seriously, I was a child in a man’s world and was used to being overlooked by the fairer sex on account of not owning a set of wheels I could call my very own. Life sucked.
That was until Christine reversed onto my driveway for the very first time. My folks had found her at a junk yard, about to be scrapped, and saved her from the jaws of certain doom by making a modest offer which was accepted, much to their surprise. It seemed as though the vendor was happy just to get her off his hands once and for all which I found astounding seeing as she was in pretty darned good condition, all things considered. Nothing a lick of paint and a full service wouldn’t sort, she was actually a creature of great beauty and it was love at very first sight. I spent the whole of my summer break under the hood, tweaking and tuning until which point she positively purred. I also made a promise to her that I would treat her with respect and never take her for granted. She accepted my terms and, over the course of the summer months, her appearance began to reflect her new-found confidence.
I bided my time until Christine was fully restored and ready for the road, polishing her repeatedly until she gleamed. Passers-by would comment on her lustrous coat and there were generous offers made to wrestle ownership of this fine vehicle from me but I was disinterested in any monetary temptation as I had made a pledge to her and had no intention whatsoever of breaking that solemn vow. To them she was a rather purty looking 1958 Plymouth Fury with a fair share of miles on the clock but to me it was much more than that. Nobody gave her a second glance when she left the assembly line, indeed, she was despised after a worker died under mysterious circumstances during her construction. All of a sudden, everyone wanted a piece. But I had nurtured her from the moment she parked up for the first time and showed her the affection she deserved. She was mine and, by the same token, I was very much hers.
True to form, my fortunes changed after her documents were signed over to me. I found myself a girlfriend, a local girl next door-type called Leigh who I’m assured wouldn’t have given me so much as a cursory look before I joined the elite ranks of car ownership. She was cool enough, and I guess that popular consensus would be that I had punched somewhat above my weight in bagging this beauty, but she was poor second to Christine as far as I was concerned. Even my only supposedly true friend Dennis, who I had known since Kindergarten, was becoming surplus to requirements. As long as I had Christine nothing else really mattered, allegiances would come and go during my lifetime but this one union was forever.
Sometimes I would call Leigh and she would be suffering from one of her headaches whereas Christine started for me every single morning without fail. Now that was commitment. I’m positive that, down the line, Leigh would break my heart and find another beau more suited to her social standing whereas, right here on my driveway, was the one woman I knew would never forsake me. Granted, she was alloy, not much opportunity to get my rocks off unless sticking my dick in her gas nozzle counted. I did try. However, beneath her hood was an untamed heart, and I was responsible for it beating. Besides, Leigh was never up for anal and you didn’t see Christine objecting to me waxing her trunk.
It all started rather innocuously, I would make my excuses and slink off with Christine to our own special spot, at a woodside clearing overlooking the town. There I would lay a blanket on her hood, crank up the Sinatra, and feed her cheap industrial grade gasoline in an attempt at getting her drunk. She would sit there purring, literally revving with delight, and I would feel loved in return. It seemed like a no-brainer. The fact that nobody else could spot the appeal just made me all the more resilient and the occasional rendezvous fast become a fully fledged daily affair. When I did eventually return to Leigh and slide under the blanket beside her, she would gripe about me smelling like hot wax. Little was she aware that I had gotten my full service already although she did admittedly question why my gear stick remained in perpetual neutral.
We had been at it like two ferrets in a sack for the first two months of our courtship but I could see that this angered Christine so I undertook a vow of celibacy and saved myself instead for the precious moments we shared together. Things weren’t faring much better with Dennis. He would bitch and moan about me having changed and I swear he had designs on my girlfriend. I saw the way they were together, actually Christine pointed it out but that’s by-the-bye, Leigh was visibly disgruntled by the lack of romance and I guess it was inevitable that they would end up consummating their impending union. I didn’t trust either one of them as far as I could spunk them but I took solace in the knowledge that my one true love would never falter.
It was only a matter of time before she attracted the wrong kind of attention from bullies on the other side of the tracks. I had already been confronted by Buddy Repperton and his cronies after an altercation in shop class led to him being expelled. He knew where I lived and had seen Christine and I about town so he knew exactly how to get to me. One morning I awoke to find her vandalized, these punks had beaten her mercilessly while I slept just yards away, leaving her inoperational and hideously deformed. I blamed Leigh for the act, not that I actually believed this to be true, but it gave me the chance to finally cut her loose guilt-free. Deep down I knew the truth. Buddy and his pals would soon be receiving visitation. They would rue the day that they ever raised a hand to my Christine.
Two days later they were dead. Body bags weren’t necessitated, a dustpan and brush was the preferred way to gather their remains. Local police were mystified as to the cause of their deaths; no fingerprints, no leads, no fucking clue that the murder weapon was sat on my very driveway. I hadn’t needed to restore her after her assault, she did that shit herself. Every dent was beaten out without me lifting so much as a finger. I watched the whole self-repair in quiet awe, fascinated by her determination to recover from her agonizing ordeal and become stronger through the experience. That was strength of character, any primary infatuation on my part had now been replaced with downright adoration. I knew that man and automobile would never be joined together in holy matrimony but, as long as that registration document bore my name, she and I would be inexplicably bound.
Sour grapes ensued from both Dennis and Leigh as they callously interfered in our affairs, luring us to a nearby junkyard by scrawling the words ‘Darnell’s tonight’ in her beautiful paintwork. Such an act of treachery couldn’t go unnoticed so we accepted the invitation and prepared to cut ties with the two remaining obstacles to our happiness. It was all a dastardly plot and soon got ugly, culminating in me being hurled headlong through her windscreen, impaling myself on the shattered glass. As my life drained away and my last breaths became labored, I admired my princess one final time. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, others may not have understood our deep affection for one another, but to me she was simply perfection. I died in her arms. Moments later she was compacted into a small alloy cube the size of a microwave.
I had learned much from watching Titanic. As Jack prepared to slide away from Rose’s loving clutches, he told her to carry on, to live a full life, to marry again, have children, and die an old lady in her bed, surrounded by family. My final words to Christine echoed this sentiment. As Dennis and Leigh walked away hand in hand to start their new life together, she began to unfurl once more. I wasn’t the jealous type, as long as she chose a suitor who truly got her motor running, then I wished her well in her future exploits. One thing was for sure, just like in Titanic, nobody could ever love Christine in quite the manner I did.