by Kyle Dudley
A Finn and an American try to steal a car in Austria. After a lot of drinks.
Now, you may not realize this, but you probably already knew everything you need to know about Alfas. They have a certain elegant feel to them, quick, reliable. The one's in the 80's had the Bosch fuel injection. “Semi-exotic”, some enthusiasts used to refer to them. The sort of car you want to take her out for a ride in on Valentine's Day. An Italian Porsche, I heard one asshole say once. You can easily get 30 years, especially if you take good care of her and if you're dealt a healthy hand of luck. And with that re-tractable roof! Cherry red, the same shade as the lips of the first pinup you saw in your first Playboy. Does the same thing for you too, doesn't it? Now, if I could just find the keys...
And there she sat. 1986. Spider Veloce. We took a look in, looked like leather.
It was a decent enough old European town, unoffensive concrete from floor to floor, with bright grey cobblestones in the town square, smokey black pavement checkered on the curb with parked cars and poshly dressed pedestrians trickling down its centers. It was the multi-colored buildings that always drew me in, those white flat faces with the brown framed windows, the yellows and blues, the flags from all over draped from the second story thatched awnings; the mountains in the distance, blushing a bit of autumn red, trying desperately to hang on to their green, then finally conceding to their first snow of the year. Always adorned with a fine layer of pipers smoke just up above the tree line.
We walked down the Strasse around quarter past eleven. The girls decided they were going home. They walked away in their seperate directions, and we decided to follow a safe distance behind K. She and T lived roughly a half mile away from the pub, off the main drag but still near the city center. For us, an initial direction was vital to our future explorations. I sheepishly watched E off in to the distance, towards her and I's place, and in the distance I could hear the bittersweet music of a woman scorned, my woman, and it's resonance attenuating in the damp, cold night.
T and I pushed on. After several blocks, we made it to the train tracks that crossed through the center of town, and we passed the Hauptbaunhof and decided to pop in for some night-capping refreshments. We walked out of the night and through the shiny turnstyles, and we abruptly found ourselves surrounded by dull indoor lighting and the faces of strangers. The overly waxed faux marble floor tempted us, and in a forgotten moment I forfeited a stumble as I made my way through. T gave me a push forward and we made our way in amongst the hungering masses. We dashed onward, but for a second with a quick glance, we telekinetically agreed that this was not the time to dally, and we knew what we had come for, and we knew that if we didn't escape quickly, we might find ourselves in a compromising situation. It was warm inside, and the familiarity was weighing us down from our boots. We fought on, and expiditiously navigated our way through the aisles, and at last we had arrived at our terminus.
**** A point that may be of geographical interest: In case you were unaware, in the cooler climates, with the appropriate apparel, one can conspicuously, and covertly, conceal between 8 to 10, 6 to 8 inch cylindirical parcels into ones pockets, with the right techniques. This is useful information only in times of dire circumstance, where survival and dedication to the steadfast adherence of a desired level of mental stew is at stake. ****
We paused briefly, contemplating our individual directions for the evening, and finally stowed. We hurried towards the exit, quickly and actively composing ourselves, and on arrival smiled to the teenage cashier ringing up customers in the checkout line. Along with our claim, we made our way back out into the penetrating cold.
We walked and talked out of our asses for a while, periodically taking pulls from our vessels, quietly, selfishly, taking the opportunity to do so while the other would foolishly fall in to an attempt to excute a half-crocked story, naturally forgetting that while doing so, he was missing out on a golden opportunity to be drinking as well. The pulls begun to get greedier and greedier with each exchange.
Eventually we ended up two blocks from the entrance to T's flat, wobbling and careening, shivering from the cold, and bobbing and weaving through the cars lining the curb, which is when we first laid our eyes on her. She was all by herself, left for the night, out on the street, the apple of our eyes of the eve.
“You ever hot wire a car before?”, T said to me, stabilizing himself between sways. The question struck me off guard, for the most part because I was content to simply fire up some of the beef we acquired from the Turk's in the park the night before. I was curious, but I was prepared to call it a night.
“Listen to me fucker, have you ever hot wired a car before??”, his misplaced brogue was still pointed through his slur, rolling every 'r' with alarming force, striking me to snap something back through sheets of blur I was huddled behind. I could barely stand, barely hear, barely respond, and this son-of-a-bitch expected a rational response from me. How the fuck could I possibly hotwire a car?
“I rrread it in this book one time, you take the... wire and cut the fuckerrr rrright near the stearing column, and then you break the... to kill the alarm.”
“Verstanlich, mate!?”, he said. I nodded along. Every night we had spent together was a suicide mission. This already had the makings of something disasterous. But I've never been good at saying no, especially to such an amazingly bad idea.
“Where are we going to get the money from?”, I confidently concluded. I knew I had him there. He was doing odds and ends, making it by hustling with me. I knew him dollar for dollar.
“Well 'ey don't cha lookie-lookie-look 'ere 'ey?” He cocked a smile.
“Absolutely not, no fucking way, I won't do it.” My American attempt at morality stood ground. I was proud. Good for America. We are the good guys.
“We can make it to Hungary, ditch the car, pick up some women, and use the rest for booze.” I reached in my pocket and realized I had gone to the bank earlier to get money to pay the rent for the next two months. The cold was really creeping in.
“Aww, what'dya'-fuckin-know, shes a bit un-fuckin-bloody-locked ain't she?” She was.
Morning came. He grabbed the shades. I grabbed the Phil Collins cassette from the dash. We locked the doors behind us, and went our seperate ways.