Appearances can be decieving.
‘For sale, 1953 Corvette in great condition, must sell, $10,000 OBO.’
Tony pulled up to the gate of the address he had been given and was met by an old woman.
"Good morning, young man," Cloris said. "Have you come to see the car?"
"Well, follow me, and stay on the road."
Tony edged his car forward as she opened the gate. Once through, she closed and locked the gate behind them, then hobbled past him and struggled to get into her own car, a 1957 Ford Fairlane.
They drove the dirt road for what seemed like forever, and finally crested a slight rise. A large farmhouse was flanked by out buildings and a dilapidated barn that looked like a good wind would blow it over.
She pulled her car up to it and parked in front.
Tony got out of his car and put on his best smile.
"So, young man, why are you interested in my car?"
"I read the ad in the newspaper, and my car isn't running so great," he said, pointing to his immaculate, late model BMW.
"Well, I don't know much about cars. I'm not sure if this one will suit your needs or not."
They stepped inside and she stooped over to grab the front end of a large tarp. Wincing in pain, she pulled it slowly towards the back. Then she went around to the other side, past Tony, and pulled the rest of the tarp off.
It was all Tony could do not to drool. He tried to keep his cool while he examined the mint condition car.
"Hmm..." he said, opening the hood.
"Is something wrong, young man?"
"It's just that your Hasselhoff valve has been wired backwards."
"Oh, dear, is that bad?"
"It's just expensive to fix."
"It's hard to say," Tony rubbed the back of his neck. "Around three thousand."
"Oh my, is there anything else wrong with it?"
"It looks like your Deuseldorf compensator is jammed. That's another thousand."
"So how much do you think I should sell it for?"
"Seeing the condition it's in..." he said, rubbing his chin. "I'll give you five thousand for it."
"That's half of what I was asking," she said thoughtfully. "I guess we'll have to eat a little less this winter..."
"That's my best offer. Take it or leave it."
She rubbed the fender lovingly, then bowed her head and sighed.
"I suppose I'll take it."
"Great, I'll just make a quick call," he said, turning his back to her.
"Oh, there's no cell service out here," she said as she cracked the side of his head with a baseball bat. "We wouldn't want you calling for help. That would ruin everything."
He lay on the ground, stunned, when she lifted the bat and sent it whistling toward his skull again. It struck with more power than she seemed to have in her ancient body. He tried to crawl away, but she savagely swung again and again, connecting each time with his skull, splattering red and eventually, grey.
"Who's the fool now?" she said, hovering over him with a maniacal grin. "You came out here to the middle of nowhere, alone, thinking you were gonna steal from me?"
Tony tried to say something, but all that came out was the bloody gurgle of his final breath. Breathing hard, Cloris hovered over the body when a large man wearing bloody coveralls walked up behind her. She whipped around, bat at the ready.
"Oh, it's just you, Tom."
"Another one?" he said, assessing the pool of blood and the corpse lying in it.
"You would think we had a sign out front that said, 'Please rob us'."
"I guess they'll never learn."
"You know what to do. Take the body to the butcher barn and drive the car down to the warehouse with the rest. I'll clean up here."
"Why the rush?"
"I have another buyer coming in about twenty minutes."
Tom picked up the body and walked away while Cloris threw sawdust over the bloody floor, then wiped any blood flecks off the car and covered it back up. She had just finished and drove out to the gate when a pickup truck pulled up.
"Good morning," David said cheerfully.
"Good morning to you, sir."
"I hope I'm not taking you away from anything important."
"Just taking care of some trash." She grinned. "Follow me, please."
He followed her down the road to the old barn.
"May I help you with that?" he asked as she pulled the tarp off.
"That would be very nice, young man."
"Wow, she's a beauty," he said as they laid the tarp on the ground.
He admired the interior while reaching for the hood release. "May I?"
"Be my guest."
He popped the hood, and his eyes grew wide when he saw the engine. He slowly circled the car in silence, examining every inch of it. When he was done, he took a deep breath.
"Ma'am, there's no way I could possibly give you ten thousand for this car."
"Oh really," she said, subtly reaching for her bat. "Why is that?"
"Because it's worth at least sixty."
"I've never seen one of these cars in such immaculate condition. You need to change that ad right away. Quite frankly I'm amazed someone hasn't stolen this beauty from you for only ten thousand."
"So you don't want the car?"
"On the contrary, I want it very much, but unfortunately I don't have the money to pay you a fair amount."
Cloris stood spellbound, admiring the honesty of this young man. The spell was broken when the bat fell over. She reached out and shook his hand.
"Thank you, young man, for putting my welfare above your own."
He shook it and smiled. "You're very welcome. I think you should keep this car. By the way you've taken care of it, I can tell that you love it."
"I think I will."
"Thank you for letting me see this beauty."
"Thank you. I’ll lead you back to the gate.”
He walked over to his truck and patiently waited.
"You're letting him go?" Tom whispered.
"He was the first one in years to tell me what the car was really worth. Maybe there's some good left in this world."
Tom eyed her. "You're not getting soft on me, are ya?"
She slapped him playfully. “Hush up.”
She led David back, unlocked the gate and waved as he drove away. The truck was barely out of sight when a late model Corvette pulled up.
“Good morning,” Cloris said. “Have you come to see the car?”
Word count: 1117