I didn’t set out to steal a car that night, the opportunity just kind of presented itself.
Perhaps my oldest fantasy, formed in the days when my life revolved around Matchbox cars, was to be the hero with the fast car, always barely escaping police pursuit. I was just a good lil’ boy, never meanin’ no harm.
The theft occurred when I was barely old enough to drive, out on an evening run, out past my high school, across a football field, down Pearce Boulevard, through a used car lot. As I passed the dealership I heard a car running. There was nobody around and I couldn’t see anyone in any of the cars. Strange.
My run slowed to a walk as I tried to figure out which car’s engine was running. It was a curvy 1981 Corvette. My dream car.
Where was the driver? I went over to the car and checked the door. Unlocked. Very strange. I got in and weighed my options. I saw a light at the office. Was I being watched? The salesman would probably be back at any moment. I could drive away. That’s just a little bit more than the law will allow. I abandoned the vehicle and continued my run.
As I ran I kept thinking about the car. I wondered if the salesman had just forgotten about the Corvette. Maybe he was showing it to a customer and got sidetracked. What if the salesman left for the night oblivious of the Corvette sitting there with its engine running?
I decided to steal the Corvette.
That night I would return to check on the vehicle. If it was still there, engine still running, it would be mine.
After dark I snuck out and returned to the dealership. As I approached I couldn’t hear the engine running. Had the salesman realized his mistake? I figured I might as well check if the door was unlocked. To my surprise, it opened. I slid inside the car and closed the door. There were the keys, still in the ignition!
I turned the key. It wouldn’t start. Out of gas.
No problem. All I had to do was return with a gallon of gas and the car would be mine. I took the keys and ran back home.
A day passed as I planned my heist. Then a week. Then a month. Whether it was lack of courage or common sense I am not sure. I never returned to the dealership to claim my Corvette.
It’s been 20 years and I’m still makin’ my way, the only way I know how. The stolen keys are stashed in a drawer in my bedroom. Every once in a while I take them out and return to that fantasy where I am the hero with the fast car. Just a good ol’ boy, never meanin’ no harm. Straightenin’ the curves. Flattenin’ the hills. Someday the mountain might get me, but the law never will.
Thanks for reading. If you like stories sprinkled with Dukes of Hazard lyrics, you should follow me. I write a new episode every Saturday morning. Stay creative.