by Lord Malinov
We lived on Jarnigan Street, a lazy road that circled back to the one it diverged from. No one ever drove down our street, except those of us who lived on it. Jarnigan Street was a children’s paradise, with young families occupying every house of the forty but three. A late afternoon would discover dozens of dozens of children playing in every yard.
Three houses down from us lived a young man named Tommy. The second of five in his house, Tommy seemed destined, like his older brother, for a life in the military, strong, serious and not very bright. He tinkered endlessly in the driveway with a car he was barely old enough to drive. He shared a love of motors with his father, who sat nearby as Tommy toyed with the busted engine of a late-model sedan. Together they dreamed of souped up muscle cars as Tommy twisted a wrench in stages.
Headaches ensued. Tommy was diagnosed with a brain tumor. His future cut off, the tools lay idle in the garage while Tommy sank into bed.
The wish people offered him anything. They hoped to ease his pain, give some pleasure in the final months of a life cut tragically short. He asked for a car, a sixty-seven Camaro, fixed up and ready to race. They sent their charitable resources to a local car club, who built the car of his dreams, gleaming chrome from intake to exhaust, ferocious racing stripes and a guttural roar.
Tommy had to be helped from his bed to see their inspired gift. The doctors gave him a week or two, no more. Tommy sat behind the wheel of his powerful vehicle and sighed. “This is living. This is life.”
The neighbor between us offered to garage the car, provide protection for the most valuable property our small suburb knew. Tommy grew stronger with each day, soon out of his bed, defying his doctor’s prophecy of doom. Wandering next door, we would often find him underneath the engine, twisting his wrench and whistling the days away. Years passed by. The car raced and roared.
But brain tumors have no mercy, no pity for those who just want to live. In three days time, he went from driver’s seat to bed to coffin.
The car sat still, locked in our neighbor’s garage. One morning, Tommy’s father took the wheel and ignited the growling machine. The wheels rolled with pops and crackles down a salt-worn drive. Headed down Jarnigan Street, his father drove away.