Suggested Audio Fuel
 John Carpenter & Alan Howarth “Christine”
 Del Shannon “Runaway”
 Chris Rea “Road to Hell”
 Dion & The Belmonts “I Wonder Why”
 Buddy Holly “Not Fade Away”
I’ve been busy Grueheads, digging around in the Savage Vaults searching for hidden treasures. On my expedition I came across an old relic from yesteryear, the remnants of an article scribed way back when I descending to the foot of my personal abyss in early 2013. It involves an automobile affectionately named Christine, no longer in existence, and speaks of the hijinks we used to get up to in the five years we spent together. Given that I have recently revisited John Carpenter’s more than decent adaptation of Stephen King’s novel of the same title, it seems most poetic to use that as our method of transportation. Granted, it isn’t one of Carpenter’s finest works, but that isn’t saying much when you consider the competition from his heyday. However, it is never anything less than a solid chiller and happens to share numerous parallels with my a certain vehicle whose headlamps I found just as seductive. Thus, I promptly snatched it up and have dusted away any cobwebs to bring you fine people my own take on the fable of Christine.
You see, until recently, I possessed an automobile similar to Christine. This handsome hunk of maroon metal boasted its very own soul and a rather blackened one at that. Indeed, some of the bleakest moments of my entire existence have been spent languishing within her framework and I felt myself altering from the commencement of our association, not totally unlike Keith Gordon’s hapless Arnie Cunningham. We shared countless hours together and, while it may have appeared that I was in solitude, she was with me for every mile on the clock. During our five-year courtship, we laughed together, broke down simultaneously, and she likely wouldn’t be best pleased with me recalling vomiting all over her upholstery. Through hardship and joy, one truth is undeniable, she was the first car I’d loved since Clara. Actually, I believe the best way to begin my tale would be there. Methinks it’s time to shift this shit in reverse.
Clara & The Bandit
Clara wasn’t actually my first alloy love and you can learn of my brief but heartbreaking romance with Maude by simply clicking here. Right now, that one is too tragic to recall a second time as it left me widowed months after starting her up for the first time. However, after a few years of mourning, Clara wiggled her chrome wings my way, and I decided to give love a second chance. I treated her like a princess, took her out for long romantic road trips, made sure she was always lubricated sufficiently, and we grew inseparable as man and machine meshed most conclusively. For one of our five anniversaries, I even treated to her to a top-of-the-range audio system and accompanying trunk-fitted sub, and Clara purred accordingly. We had begun to plan our summer together and the trundle of tiny wheels were certainly on the road ahead. That was until tragedy struck.
Our engagement ended at a local service station one devastating evening in late spring and I remember it now as though it were yesterday. Clara was snatched from my grasp in a smash and grab, although more grab than smash I recall. I had pulled over at the gas pump to provide her with a few gallons of juice as she had been thirsting for miles. As I prepared to slip in the nozzle so to speak, I made the grave error not to turn off her ignition. It was then that a congenial looking chap stopped by at my passenger side window, informing me of a slight discrepancy with my driver side wheel. I thanked this kindly fellow for his intelligence, exited my still purring soul mate, crouched down to inspect this supposedly pesky perpetrator. Upon glancing up, the realization was instantaneous of the true meaning of this Samaritan’s heinous act. He was already inside and staring with intent at the keys in Clara’s ignition. I had been bamboozled and my heart dropped like a satchel of breeze-blocks to the pit of my very stomach. My fair lady was in mortal peril.
Much as I would love to report my rejoinder to have been “unhand her you impertinent swine!” I’m fairly assured that my displeasure was more colorfully stated and I rose hastily enough for all of the blood in my exoskeleton to remain firmly rooted in my lower torso. As I scrambled to my feet hysterically, said gentleman slid across the passenger side and shuffled directly into the driver’s seat, fumbling for the lock to deny me entry. Alas, he arrived there first with gun slinging skills far more adept than my own, as I was still endeavoring to regain equilibrium like an amputee in an identity parade. Clara screamed in terror and I knew I had to play knight in shining armor if I was to save her fender from a most undesirable bending.
As he reversed my bride to be back onto the forecourt, everybody in the vicinity froze on the spot. Regrettably, it appeared I had chosen the moment when Medusa was purchasing some rolling tobacco in the kiosk and nobody raised a solitary finger in assistance. I even threw in a “HELP!” or two but it fell on around twenty-four deaf ears and I knew then that I couldn’t count on a bail-out. All was looking rather wretched but I still had one last vague glimmer of hope to cling onto. This involved flinging myself over Clara’s hood like a picnic blanket and clinging on for dear love even though I hadn’t the faintest idea what to do next.
It was at the precise moment that I stared into my agitator’s beady eyes that I knew the time had come to part ways with my significant other. Do you know what I saw staring back at, nay through me? Keith fucking Gordon or at least his baby blues. Blank, nada, zip, zilch, diddly or, in the words of Brian Glover, “Nowt”. My only option was to slide from the hood and accept defeat. With white flag waving and a tear in the duct, I watched her trundle away for the last time and that was the last I saw of Clara or her shapely touche at least. The next pictorial I received was of her burnt up remains at the side of the road and a piece of me died that day.
Okay Grueheads, I need to take five as recounting that fateful evening has left me perilously hovering above the red. I’m not quite ready for Christine yet so allow me to fill in the gaps. You see, after losing Clara, I lost a fair share of my will to rack up the mileage. Part of me wished to remain grounded but I knew that was not a possibility. The time soon arrived for fresh wheels on my forecourt and my parents very kindly donated a beauty. Felicity was certainly no less easy on the eye than Clara but regrettably my heart was always somewhere else. While the potential was there for long-term commitment, I could never quite bring myself to do so. Over time, she began to surrender her looks, likely heartbroken at being cast aside as I rarely complimented her on her appearance or provided her with a makeover. Instead, she simply withered away. Two years our relationship endured but, by the time I terminated our contract, she made it look like twenty. If you’re reading this Felicity (or Floss as she liked to be known), then I’m truly sorry for not being the man you deserved. Timing is critical with matters of the heart and ours was sadly pretty ropy.
The Tale of Christine
Eventually old scars heal and, after taking Felicity for granted, I felt ready to give love a second try. From the moment I spotted Christine on the forecourt glimmering, it was precisely that and I knew there was only one car for me. This represented another chance to find happiness and she shared my devotion from the offset. Within minutes, I drove away with my new mistress and, as soon as I slid my key into her ignition, she starting purring instantly for me. Indeed, for the next two years, she never once let me down. I believe what made our relationship special was that, despite her sleek alloy finish, Christine and I resembled two peas in a pod. She too was afflicted with lungs like mine (aged in their late sixties three years back so likely in their eighties now), her speedometer fluctuated from zero to thirty at free will, and her engine management light was active for virtually the entire course of our affair. During that time, we sat and reminisced in numerous different locations and she supported me through some dark times. But she always started for me without exception.
After a brief honeymoon period, we soon became reckless and started partying a little too hard and entirely too much. By the point when we parted company three weeks ago she was sheathed in ash, littered with torn up pieces of cardboard, crumbs and splashes of vomit. I plummeted to the bottom of my intimate abyss with Christine and, on our last rendezvous, ran her battery flat whilst frantically scribing an appraisal. Her windows remained half-open to the bitter end as she could no longer raise them voluntarily. With our country enduring some fairly taxing weather conditions over the past few weeks, I imagine her now to be tucked up under a snowy duvet, sobbing. One day soon some hapless douche will reignite her and I pray for the fool. You see, while we were indeed close, the truth is that we weren’t cut out for one another. Like two addicts in recovery, we ended up egging each other on to indulge in undesirable pastimes and it became a case of which of us would stall first. The answer to that question was me.
I piloted Christine for the final time after coming to the realization that she was just a fucking car. Talk about looking for love in all the wrong places, I don’t know how I figured that it would ever work out in the long run. Nevertheless her image still haunts my sub-conscious as that maroon Ford Focus, always constant, was inviting me to my own wake. and a wake that I had no great desire to suit up for. Folklore has it that she runs on crimson and I can safely say with hand on heart that she has now had the last droplet of mine. Christine came to me shortly after my dear father departed the physical earth which made her even more significant. He sits beside me now as I scribe every word onto parchment, sporting a mustache finer than Charles Bronson and playful twinkle in his eyes accompanied by a knowing smile. I know now that a wake will not be necessary as my father and I are going to get our words out there together. It’s me and you pops, me and you.
Anyhoots, the other day I received correspondence from someone who truly appreciates the prose which jettisons from my bleeding cavity. He concluded his communication with “I am a fan” and those two words meant more to me than money ever could, indeed, more than a festering contorted mass of metallic mould with inner sheen of snow, ash and puke. Fame doesn’t drive me as, with every article published, my soul releases a little more of the angst handicapping it. I crusade, accompanied by like-minded gladiators of grue: Bleeding Lotus – the Jekyll to my Hyde. Chiseled, toned and more devastating than a black mamba, this brother of the consortium and my scribing sidekick is my spiritual guru and mental MacGyver, and Silent Shadow – the Siskel to my Roger Ebert, this dangerous persuader is the only man who has been inside the Savage Vaults and lived to tell its tale.
Together we form a trio who share similar passions and I no longer require the key to release Christine from her crimson chrysalis. Of course, she still swears things would be different this time, but I know those words are as hollow as her alloy soul. She offers nothing of value to me any longer as my mortality is far more mandatory. As I sit atop a double-decker bus watching the bleak landscape ghost past, I know only too well how close I came to feeling the icy pinch of the reaper’s spindly digit and I feel great relief that, for now at least, said reaper is nowhere in sight. Christine, we had a blast, and I wouldn’t take back any of the memories we shared as they have led me to where I am now. No regrets, but no desire to rekindle old flames either. To my knowledge, she is likely heading towards the incinerator as we speak and, as much as this pains me, I’d rather it be her than me. Besides, have you ever masturbated on public transport? Quite the sneaky thrill, I assure you.
Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2016