When Emissions Go Bad

by Lindsey Schussman

I woke at 7 A.M. to the sound of the Edge 103.9's morning show. My black and tan Minnie Pinn Nellie stirred to the sound of this and jumped off the bed eagerly awating a meal.

"To fucking early fat ass", I said as I put my clothes on.

She quietly waited for me to open my bedroom door. I collected my keys, my wallet, phone, my spyderco knife and opend the door to begin my day. Knowing she wasin't getting fed, Nellie ran into my sister's room to sleep some more.

The day seemed gerogeous. Warm yellow sun. Breakfast smells, and a cool breeze. I closed my eyes and took a deep beath. Waking up early does have it advantages. A normal sense of life. A comfortable begining. Had I known the events to come, I would have stayed home.

I put the key into the ignition of my 89 Chevy Suburban and turned. The engine rumbled and the metal beast came to life.

"My old friend", I said as I patted the dashboard and let the Burban warm up. I put the truck into gear and started my journey.

Queen Creek traffic was bad. Every stop sign was backed up. Luckly for me I had brought my patience. I always bring it. I laughed and listend to Holmberg's morning sickness as I slowly made my way to the 60.

The 60 was backed up of course. I bit my lip and picked at my finger's as I slowly crawled behind some stank ass desiel. Finnaly reaching Greenfield, I pulled into a Circle K to fill my tank. They would probably use a lot of gas during the testing process.

Funny feeling I got as I filled my tank. The morning smells and moods. Felings I don't get any more. I felt as if I were going on an adventure. It brought me back to a time when my family use to go on vacation in this truck. My father's cocky additued, or my mother's nervous lip or nail bitting. I imagined my sister's name calling and our laughing in the back. The way the sun shined through the leaves on a tree. People hurrying as they scurried in and out of the store. This simple task brought all these feelings back, and I couldin't help but smile as I collected my recipt.

Back on Greenfield Rd again. 8.15 had rolled by and I was late. Damn traffic. Nervousness began to attack as I reached for one of my smokes. I lit up one of my Kool's inhaling deeply trying to remove some stress. The radio began playing the Fray's How To Save A Life, and I turned it up trying to occupy my mind. Bad idea, I thought to my self. Thinking of my grandpa, I started to cry.

I passed the emmisions place and flipped them off as I went by. I hated that place, and I was there at least twice a year. Little did I know this year, it would be three.

Turning on Mckelleps road, bout 15 minutes later, I reached my destination. I turned off the radio, and grabbed my smokes as I hopped out of my Burban's cockpit.

The place seemed dead. No cars in the garage. Good I thought to my self. Mabye we'll get done faster. I walked through the front door. The man at the front desk was busy, so I was greeted by the mechanic. An old white haired balding man.

"Good morning, how are you?" He said with a smile.

"Fine". I said as I handed him my emmisions faliure notice. "I failed emmisions, and need to get my truck fixed." I said with half a smile.

He looked at my paper. "Be about 20 minutes Mmmkay?"

"Sounds good." I said as I took a seat on the red couch. I hated the wating process, but learned to live with it.

They moved my truck into the garage and the balding man came back in. He had my notice in hand.

"Umm, I didin't notice that this was fuel injected. Will bring the price up another hundred. That okay?"

I nodded and put my hands up. "Thats fine." Diagnostics, I thought to my self would be another 150 bucks.

I herd the familar rumble of my old friend. For the next hour, I would endure the pain of listening to them rev the fuck out of my truck. I felt like my kid was sick, and I was in the waiting room wating for a prognosis. Every time I head that accelorator get crushed to the floor, I heard screams. The sound driving me to madness. I was close. Close to bursting through that door and slitting their throats with my Spyderco. But I knew it was part of the healing process. I had been through this many times before. Silence. I ran out to have a smoke. I nedded relief.

The smooth smoke from the Kool seeped from my lips as I exhaled. I took another drag, deeper this time. The balding man appeared in the doorway. Expressionless.

"Looks like it's going to need a trottle body gasket." The bright sun penatrating his glasses.

"Oh yeah?" I said, taking another drag. "How so?"

" Raw gas all around. Plus your throttle seemes to be sticking." He said as he pushed his glasses up further. "Now I can put an additave in, but youll have to run 100 miles before you take it back, or." He sqirmed a bit.

"Or?" I asked.

He began to say somthing, but I cut him off. "Let's do it right the first time." I said as I crushed out my ciggarete. I followed him in to ring up the damages.

Another hour of reving and insaity. I tried to calculate the hours I had spent in repair shops, but drew a blank. I downloaded ringtones, and counted stains on the wall to pass the time. Smoked some more to pass the time, and paced. Picked at my fingers and farted. Picked my nose, and flicked my boogers. Passed more gass, chuged my soda. The balding man once more emerged through the doorway.

"I got it to idle better." He said.

I stood there and had a convorsation with him. I gave him the history of my truck. I said I was keeping it for sentimental value. He too was keeping a car as well.

"My wifes old Chevy Caprice." He said as he scratched his white beard. "After she died I just could not get rid of it".

I felt we had a connection. He understood how I felt where no one else had. We talked for awhile about my future plans for the beast.

"It's going to cost alot of money." He said.

"I know this." I said as I placed a hand on my guy. "I am willing to make that sacrafice."

I had him look at the KRS engraved in the side of the fender. He told me it was not stock. I knew then it was a gift to my mother. My father was unable to show emotions to my mother later in the mairrage, so he engraved his love for her in the fender of the truck he showed much love to. Kristine Renee Schussman, the love of his life.

One more test drive and I was about ready to go. As the balding man appeard back with my truck, I noticed a radiator leak. They alerted me by it and I just bit my toung.

It was about 11:30 P.M. when I regained control of my beater. I put the truck into gear, and 373 bucks later was on my way to test once again. Not knowing the perils I will face on my way home. Assurance that it would pass from them was not good either.

Arriving at emmisions, I opend my driver side door to collect my ticket, since my window was broke. It was a long line, and I did not feel like baking this late in the afternoon. To no avail, I waited in line, pumping my tunes and wating for the inevitable.

I finnaly reached the test. Tired and worn out from the day's events. They gave me the option of waiting in the booth, or slinding to the passenger seat as usual, so I took the passenger seat.

The guy reved my baby. I glared at him with eyes of fury. I fingered the Spyderco as he slammed the accelerator. I hated this shit sooo much. The idle test came. Thats where my truck fails. If it takes awhile, then it fails. It was taking awhile. I knew the outcome, and ripped into my thumb with my teeth.

The throttle man's buddy came back with a pad of paper and began to chat with him. They dissapeard. The throttle man soon came back and told me I had been randomly selected to take the transit test.

"What the hell does that mean?" I asked as I tried to shove off a headache.

He moved in closer to the cabin. " It means it will be a while."

"Great." I said and pouted in the passenger seat.

The two guys took off for awhile and then reappeard witn an older lady. They told me I didnt't have to take the test because it was a waste of gas.

I finnaly hit the last part of the test. They popped the hood, and looked under the truck. The guy at the last station told me to pull up to the yellow line. I knew what that ment. I had failed once again.

I pulled up to the side of the road and stormed in the the shack. I was taking no prisoners. A friendly girl with bolnd hair greeted me. She couldin't explain why I was failing, but knew one thing. I cound not get a waivier to skip emmisions because I was double over the amount.

Distrought, sad, and helplesly useless, I began my journey home. I felt like a looser. I work only to fix my truck, and I can't even do that. I tore open another hole in my finger. I turned up the music an began to scream. I don't care if people saw me. Fuck them, fuck them all. I work my ass off, and for what? To get ripped the fuck off? Fuck this. I lit up another cigarette, sulking all the way home.

The drive home was a usual. Traffic. I pouted all the way. I came up to a turn on Hunt Highway and let off the gas. Instead of slowing down, my old friend speed up.

Panic spread like a virus. I was going 55 and faster. I hit the brake. Nothing. In my mood of dispair, my own true love turned into a death machine. I swerved in and out of traffic trying to save innocent lives. Was this it? Was this the end? My life flashed before my eyes, and nothing. Nothing but an empty soul. Nothing but emptiness, and my hate for this planet. I slowly floored the accelorator. Speeding up faster and faster. If my truck was going to die, so be it. I would die with it.

I saw my grandfather. His cool brown eyes telling me to slow down. I hit the brakes. I snapped back to reality and tried to reclaim my life. My pathetic and lonley life. I began to panic. I had to call someone in my last moments of life. Three options came to mind. 911, my mother, or the repair shop that had just fucked me over. I called the shop, letting them listened as I died on the other line. At this time I was comming up to an intersection. In my insane panic, I can't really remember the convorsation I had with them, but I will try.

"Automotive Enginering, how can I help you?" The voice on the other line said.

"Yeah, I was just in your shop like an hour ago. My name is Lindsey, I had the suburban." By this time the intersection was growing close. There was a cop there. I felt relief. My brakes were stessed as I slammed harder and harder. I smelt them melt as I couldin't slow down any more. Not wanting to hit any cars, I flew into the turning lane, not intending to go that way. There was a cop in the intersection. Mabye I could get his attention.

"what seemes to be the problem?" He said with a cool voice.

I began to hate him very much. I figured if I was going to die, he was going to listen to it on the phone. Listen to me die on the phone bitch.

"Yeah, my throttle seemes to be sticking, and I can't slow my truck down." At this time, I was swerving in and out of the turning lane to save time. Motorists must have seen me frantic at the wheel, for they did not honk at my eratic driving. The light turned green. The cop had not noticed me. I became frantic.

"Well, thats going to happen alot." He said. "Did you pass emmisions?"

"No." I blared out as I flew threw the intersection and dodged a few more cars.

"You can go down and get a waiver." The line became silent.

"The girl said I couldin't because I was over double standard." I became irratated with this convorsation, and wished I had died already. I was running out of road. How could I keep taliking like this knowing my fate? Fuck him. I nedded to call my mom. Or 911 at least. My brakes would reach the ground. I could smell them burning.

"That girl dosen't know what she is saying." He slowing muttered out. I think he herd my screaming.

I became enraged with him and slammed my foot on the accelorator. I slamed down hader than I had ever had. I let off, and the mighty beast began to slow down. A sigh of relief, and dissapointment came to order.

"Yeah, it just stopped." I said, as I barley wet my pants. "I think I will go get a waiver. Thanks for your time."

Thanks for your time? Boy, was I the biggest pussy on the planet or what? I almost died because of them, and here I am thanking them? What the fuck is my problem? Who the fuck am I?

I was only 5 minutes away from home. I kept thinking, why did I not bail. Why did I not side swipe somthing? I relized then, that I loved my truck so much, that I was willing to die with it. This feling haunted me as I unlocked my door and greeted my dogs. Once more defeated.

Bad stories do have a good ending though. I enrolled in the state assistance plan, and 548 bucks, one catalytic converter, and many vacume hoses sealed, I have passed emissions. Thanks to CAR CLINIC on McKelleps road. I don't think I will have to worry about emmisions for awhile. And thanks to you dad for emptying all the beads out of my converter. I like horsepower to, but ya know it almsot got me killed.

Thanks for getting me through this one grandpa.

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