Stay with me on this one…
Last night I was driving and a loud DING came out of the dashboard and practically made me run off the road. The low tire pressure light came on. That could mean anything from a change in the weather to a major blow out.
I figured it could have been a change in weather but I’m not taking any chances. In the past two years (the time I’ve had my car) I’ve had three patches in my tires plus one new tire. The patches are due to a screw, a nail and a large piece of wire. The flat was caused when I ran over a curb trying to avoid a speed bump (my family still thinks that one is funny.)
So where does one get a car fixed in the middle of the night?
For the past 100 years, give or take a few, my friend Jackie Rafferty has owned and run Rafferty Repair. About 20 years ago he added the Full Moon Tire line. He is open all night.
Jackie is a big guy with big arms of solid muscle. He’ll be in the shop with a gray Rafferty tee so tight you can see his six-pack abs. He is as serious about cars as he is solid. I don’t need to tell you how many female customers he has – alright I’ll tell you – there are a lot of them. A whole lot of them.
Before the automobile he would build machines and try to figure out how to get famous and rich in the industrial revolution.
When the automobile came along Jackie was smitten. The rest is auto repair history (to the joy of Vampires and other nocturnal folk everywhere.) He runs a tight clean shop with a crew that has been with him from the beginning.
Jackie gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Always the flirt – Jackie has ladies coming in all times of the day and night.
He looks at Clara and asks her if she is driving yet. They discuss the whole process and how it is almost, but not quite impossible to get a permit. It can be done. Then to my surprise she says she’ll be happy with any kind of car as long as it is safe and can get her though college.
There was a time in my life when a car had to be a statement. After a long string of sports cars I now drive a 2012 Ford Fusion. Yes, a midsize sedan with more bells and whistles than any car I’ve ever owned.
I have to put in one note about my car choices. Yesterday I drove the BIG TRUCK. That was fun but parking is a challenge for me. But I have never owned an SUV or mini van. You can’t take away my mom card. Ack. I wouldn’t know what to do with a car that big. Between my husband, the college boy and me we have five cars. Soon we’ll have six. None will be a SUV or mini van.
My brothers, for the most part, drive luxury type cars, except Val who has a 67 Mustang convertible and a small truck.
So, anyway, I had a low tire, or so my dashboard informed me. The dashboard lied. There was no damage to my tire and all was well.
It was nice to visit with Jackie for a while.
His shop always smells faintly of patchouli (reasons unknown.) It makes me think of a head shop in the 1970’s on hot nights. During the cooler months there are hints of chocolate in the air along with patchouli and a bit of sandalwood. He isn’t burning anything because the entire shop is a smoke/fire free zone for obvious reasons.
His two dogs Tash (a large brown and white Akita) and Jumble (a large black dog of unknown ancestry) greet customers and keep everyone smiling. Jackie says it is always good to have dogs around because they calm the crew with their dogness. We all need more dogness in our lives.
We talked about current world event until we became depressed, then we switched to Vampire gossip. Jackie complained of a ghost who’d been bothering him and of the general piss poor state of the paranormal world at large. Then we got back to gossip again and plans for the Thanksgiving week. Jackie always goes from serious to a smile and back to serious so quickly you hardly have time to keep up.
Then we talked his favorite subject – that of cars, or as he still calls them – automobiles. That was when the real joy came into his eyes.
As we were ready to go I noticed a beautiful Somerset Blue and Alpine White 1958 Cadillac in the shop.
“It looks like the Cadillac Barbara Conners used to have.”
“This IS Barbara’s car. Foxy Mendoza (the Earl of Suave) found it in the garage of one of his rental properties. This big beautiful baby has been parked there since 1959, the year Barbara vanished. It only has 600 miles on it,” said Frankie running his hand over one of the large back fins.”
Barbara Conners, ultimate Vampire party girl had vanished in 1959. Nobody saw or heard from her. There was no trace. Her home was boxed up and put into storage. We just assumed she was dead. Not everyone was sad about it. I know, that is mean but I didn’t care for her. I didn’t wish her dead but I sure didn’t like her. She was loud and…she was a nasty back biting bitch. I’ll just leave it at that.
“That thing is HUGE,” said Clara. She has seen plenty of old cars but not many this big.
“You could fit an entire football team in that thing,” I said. “Open the trunk Jackie. Let’s show Clara how much you can fit in a real car.”
Jackie took a key out of his pocket and put it in the keyhole. As he turned we heard the click. Than nothing. It didn’t open. 60 years had sealed it shut. Jackie thumped his fist on the back.
There was a thump back.
Jackie thumped again then pushed the edge of the trunk door. It popped open. A rush of musty dust that smelled like death floated out. The first thing we saw was a man – a dead man. He wore a tuxedo and a deathly grin on his dried and mummified face. Lips long dried out had recessed giving him a heinous toothy laugh. Empty eyes stared up at us. An almost full head of blonde hair was on his dry scalp. Boney fingers were wrapped around a Champagne bottle. Another man equally well dressed was next to him, dead mouth wide open. Wire rim glasses were still on his face – the glass broken out of one side. His hair was dark and his cheekbone looked broken.
We all looked at each other. “Holy shit,” said Jackie under his breath. “I had no idea.” We could see the holes that bullets had made in their foreheads. They saw their killers. It wasn’t about a robbery either. Expensive watches were still on their wrists. One had a diamond ring on his finger.
Then the dead men started to shake. Underneath came a wave of bright turquoise colored taffeta. A perfectly coiffed platinum blonde head popped out. There was Barbara Conners herself, dressed to kill in an evening gown and diamonds. One long glove was on her right hand. She held out the left hand to Jackie.
“Hey there handsome. Aren’t you going to help a girl out of a car?”
Jackie lifted Barbara out of the car as if she weighed nothing and set her down next to me. She looked me up and down. “What the Hell are you wearing Juliette?”
I ignored her comment. I was wearing jeans and a sweater with boots. Nothing I would have worn in 1959.
“Do you know the date is Babs? Tell me what day it is.” Jackie asked the question.
“I have no idea. It feels like I was in there for a year,” Barbara answered.
“Oh boy. Fifty five years. Jesus Christ we’re in the 21st Century!”
“You have a lot of catching up to do,” I said, trying to sound light. She had A LOT of catching up. This wasn’t the same world she’d lived in before she was locked in the trunk of her Cadillac.
“Who are the guys?” asked Jackie.
“Gomez and Simon. They’re fast and cool in every way a girl likes. Rich but twisted. I kind of like that, but perversions aside… It was like this. We were drinking and having a good time when a bunch of goons came out of nowhere with guns and started chasing us. The next thing we knew they were shoving us into the trunk and showered us with bullets. I thought I’d be able to get out but no such luck. The car started to move and I was stuck with these stiffs. Fifty five years? Holy smoke. What did I miss?”
“A lot,” said Jackie.
Barbara looked at me with a snotty grin. “Did you ever finish that novel Juliette?”
“Uh, no. I have several collections of short stories published.”
“I didn’t think you’d finish the novel. When did you say you were going to finish that? 1899?”
“She writes a popular blog,” said Clara.
“Who the Hell are you and what is a blog?”
“Clara is my daughter,” I said, protectively putting my arm around my daughter’s waist.
“Pretty kid. I never thought I’d see you with a bunch of ankle biters. Who is the father?”
“Theodore Kings. We’ve been married for 21 years. ”
“You married gorgeous Teddy Kings? You? He could have had his pick and he married you? Well, stranger things have happened. Well he always did like his girls stacked so I guess that makes him one happy Vampire. Damn. Too bad. I always did want to get together with Teddy in the worst way.”
“We’re very happy.”
“That’s what you say. I’d like to hear Teddy’s version of the story. What happened did your brothers threaten him? HA!”
At that point I wanted to shove her back into the trunk and close it for another 55 years.
Jackie pulled a bottle of blood out of the cooler and handed it to Barbara. She sucked it down then fixed her lipstick. “Damn, I needed that. It is a miracle I didn’t dry up like my friends.”
“Who shot at you?” Jackie was eying the holes in the front of her dress.
She shrugged and then laughed. “Anybody up for a hunt? Fresh blood would be awfully good right now. Oh man, I want to sink my teeth into a nice hot neck.”
I said we already ate. Jackie didn’t say anything.
“Jackie, how about you take me home tonight and we can catch up. I’ll even rotate your tires and give you a nice lube job.” She wrapped her arms around his neck, then turned back to look at me. “I always had the hots for this big guy.”
Jackie unwound Barbara’s arms from around his neck. “Babs, honey, I think you left your shoes in the trunk. Why don’t you get them and we’ll go out on the town.”
She kissed him right on the mouth then crawled back into the trunk and dug around over the bodies for her shoes. And without a second thought Jackie Rafferty slammed the trunk door shut.
“Hey Leo,” he said to one of his mechanics who was watching the whole show. “Here are the keys. Drive this out somewhere where nobody will find it for a long time.”
As Clara and I left Jackie winked at me and said to call him if my husband Teddy decided to move to Albania or Australia or wherever. I winked back knowing that Jackie is head over heels about a lovely Vampire named Willow. They’re going someplace romantic for Thanksgiving – but not in a 1958 Cadillac.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman