I went to back out but it wouldn’t move. I checked the gear; it was in reverse so I tried again. Nada. I shifted into drive; it jerked forward. Okay, good. So, I put it back into reverse but again it just revved. Damn thing. After a while, I just quit, threw my hands up as they say, dropped the thing into neutral, and got out. It looked awful, a big, sloping dent on the driver’s side door, a spider-web crack on the windshield, growing colonies of rust bubbles on the hood. I lit a cigarette and, with a bunch of smirking faces looking on (motherfuckers!), I pushed it out.
I went straight to the Texaco. The mechanic, a woman in a form-fitting jumpsuit named Monica, told me to leave it. “I’ll put it up on the rack, hon.” The next morning, when I showed up, tired and anxious—I needed the damn thing—she was in the garage behind a clunky desk, heavy metal blaring from a boombox. She was painting her nails red, the fumes from the polish mixing with those from the pump. Barely looking up from them—they were as short as mine—she told me I needed a new transmission. “A rebuilt one will be cheaper and I got this guy in Southie . . .”