This one is a slow starter… Hope you enjoy.
Neva saw the truck on the back lot as she drove down the highway. The dull red caught her eye, and she turned around at the next junction. She pulled in next to it and got out to walk around the truck. Job Rated it said in scruffy chrome on the side. Stuck under the windshield was a cheap plastic sign.
The last number was smudged. Neva continued to walk around the 1954 Dodge truck. It was one of those with the rounded fenders, domed engine hoods and wood floored work beds. Looking in the window, she saw the ignition in the center of the dash just above the gearshift. The headlight nob was under a star that said Safety which she bet lit up when the lights went on. It was old, but looked like it would still pull it’s weight. There was rust in some of the corners and more than a few dents and dings. Still, it was beautiful.
She looked at the number again. There was no knowing if that last number was a 1 or a 7. Neva looked around to see if there was anyone around. Anyone she could ask. There wasn’t even a last name that might give her a chance to look the name up in a phone book.
Neva walked around it again. The door handles, the way the bed flared at the top with the beveled edge. The grill with the inserts that matched the curves of the rest of the truck. It just was beautiful. At least to her. Most of her friends thought that her obsession with old trucks was laughable. She could be in the middle of a dinner party and if an old truck passed by outside, she’d be glued to the window watching it drive by. Two of her worst romances had been because she fell in love with a guy because of his truck and not him.
It was getting late and she knew that she had to get home. Finally, she grabbed a scrap of paper, wrote her phone number on it and her email address and tucked it under the windshield wiper. Then she climbed back into her car and drove the twenty-eight miles home. The truck drifted in and out of her thoughts all the way home.
The phone rang as she sat down at the breakfast table. “Hello? Yes. I’m Neva. Yes, I wanted to know more about the truck. Okay. I can meet you after work. 6 pm be okay? Alright. Thanks.” She hung up the phone and smiled as she ate her breakfast.
The day dragged. Neva was so happy when 5 o’clock rolled around. She grabbed her bag and was out the door before anyone could snag her in idle conversation. She found herself speeding as she headed up the curvy highway and slowed down. Pulling into the parking lot, Neva knew she was early. It gave her time to walk around the truck again and think about whether she really wanted the truck or was it just fascination.
“You Neva?” a deep voice asked from behind her.
“Oh god! You startled me,” Neva said as her heart raced.
“Thought you heard me. Sorry,” he said.
Neva turned and took a good look at the man. Dark blonde hair, blue eyes and a tan that said he spent a lot of time outdoors. Almost as good looking as the truck. “No, I’m sort of deaf when my brain is drooling,” she admitted.
“Like old trucks or old Dodge trucks?” he asked.
“Old trucks. This one caught my eye the other day. The outside is a little rough. What’s the engine like?”
“Let’s take a look,” he said confidently. “Name’s Jesse by the way.”
Jesse opened up the truck and then the hood. While a bit rusty or oily in places, the engine didn’t seem in bad shape. Neva took a good look and noticed that the plugs were fairly new and the wiring was in good condition.
“Let me start it up,” said Jesse. He climbed in and cranked the engine. It sputtered for a moment and then caught.
Neva listened to the engine roar to life and then settle down to a low growling idle. She listened for knock or hissing which might be a problem. Nothing. She turned to find Jesse standing next to her. This time she didn’t jump.
“Not bad,” she said.
“Nope. Just needs a bit of TLC and she’ll do anything you ask,” he said. There was a hint of longing in his voice.
“Why are you selling the truck?”
“Money. I need to pay the bills, and this drought has just about killed the ranch. So, I’m selling anything I dare,” he admitted.
“How much do you want for it?” Neva asked.
“Well, I’d like $5600 for it, but I might go as low as $5000 for the right person.” He scuffed his boot along the ground.
Neva knew she had the money. The bigger question was whether she really needed the truck. Plus, there was something in the way Jesse talked that made her think he really didn’t want to sell it. “If I was to buy this truck, would you be willing to help me fix it up?” she asked.
“Help you? You work on trucks?” Jesse asked.
“Yes. Ever since my dad found me a foot stool tall enough so I could see into the engine.”
Jesse smiled. “Never would have thought you the type to work on trucks.”
“Just because I’m dressed for work doesn’t mean I can’t get dirty,” Neva said. “Now, How about $5000 considering I’m going to have to put at least $1500 into her to get things right.”
Jesse looked at her and then his truck. “Deal, as long as we can work on it up at the ranch. I’ve got the tools and a place to store it out of the weather.”
Neva looked at him, and then stuck out her hand. “Deal.”
Jesse gripped her hand and shook. She wrote him a check for $5000 and they agreed to meet on Saturday to work on the truck. He gave her a list of parts he knew it needed for a tuneup and then they each headed home.