Lamentations of a Chevrolet Impala in E Minor by Beatriz Seelaender
The droppings of a thrush, through the tangent of the wind, brushed against a sedan’s door in a healthy thud, minimally splashy, on a Saturday morning. That could have been the end of it had the car’s alarm not taken offense at the acts of the poor thrush. The panic was reasonably quiet at first, expecting consolation from a nearby owner whose hands had caught it by surprise. Once the machine realised its master was nowhere to be found, it launched its every system into a histrionic lament, a cry for help heard by the entire neighbourhood.
Connor’s self-righteous corgi Lori Jo, fully awake on a Saturday morning, covered the perimeter of the apartment in her toothpick legs, thinking that if only she could bark louder than the car’s wheezing the problem would be solved. Lori Jo alerted the more cowardly canines who had not thought themselves up to the task, but now would happily join the urban symphony.
Across the street, Randolph woke up wheezing along with the car in an imperfect harmony. His wife Mary handed him a scented wipe in which to deposit his early phlegm. Fluid in his lungs? No, this was from the smoking, concluded Mary as she turned back to sleep. Might as well have been smoking too, got all the second-hand smoke problems from Randy, none of its comforts… Randy got up for a pee and made himself some Earl Grey.
The building’s administrator Erin was already deep in conversations with city council, trying to get to the bottom of this. To whom did the car belong, and how high should the fine be? The city councilman with whom she spoke, still in her pyjamas and not yet fully caffeinated, was unsympathetic to Erin’s plight, perhaps because she could not hear it. I’m sorry this woke you up, said Clare the councilwoman, the slight alliteration completely unintended. Erin was now deeply offended that anyone would pin her down as a slacker.
A student crossed the street just in case someone assumed she had anything to do with it. Wrong place, wrong time. She needs to watch that Amanda Knox documentary she told her friends she had seen.
Monica heard her mother exclaim colourful expletives from her room. Thankfully the dog resting on Monica’s feet had not been inspired by the vitriolic revolt led by his species against an inanimate object. That’s unfair. We rebel against inanimate objects, too – the atomic bomb, for one. Do we need any more examples? Miss Atomic Bomb, a song by the Killers. If only she could reach her phone now she might be able to drown out the noise with some music or at least muffle it. Then again, it was still early. She could fall asleep again, like the thrush waste that had started it all… Once you grew to know the patterns of desperation in the sedan’s cry, it was easily assimilated into the rest.
Beatriz Seelaender was born in 1998 in São Paulo, Brazil. She's had essays published by websites such as The Collapsar and The Manifest-Station, and her short stories can be found in Psychopomp Lit Mag, The Gateway Review and others.