1963 Ford Galaxie 

(Rural Iowa)

Standing before his 1963 Ford Galaxie 500, which is snugly buried amid a vast entanglement of bramble and snow, the old man waffles oafishly. How long has it been there? Ten years, maybe. He can't remember. I'm looking at the car's bumper, which at one time might have been aqua blue. The old man is looking at me disapprovingly: I'm the one with the rusty bumpers.

He's crazy, a drunkard, whether drunk or not. He can't find the ignition key, says he has a coffee can filled with old keys, and the key for the Ford's probably in there somewhere. Says it'll take him exactly one month to go through them to find the right one.

"How much you wanna pay for it?"

"I have no idea," I say. "Depends whether it runs."

"Well, it did when we put it back there," he says, which means nothing, and is, in fact, a lie. (Means nothing because: When did he put it back there exactly? Is a lie because: His friend told me they had to tow it back there. )

"When can you start it up?" I ask.

"Not for a couple of months," he says.

Why not for a couple of months? No idea. One month to find the key, then another to find the ignition, probably. But I don't know because I don't ask, so exasperated am I with this crazy old man, who, incidentally, is taking down my license plate number, in case anything happens to his car before I buy it.

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