An Early Ford Mustang
by Eric James Stone
Unfamiliar keys in hand, Brad looked at the ketchup-red 1968 Mustang convertible
in Uncle Fritz's garage. Then he re-read the note that accompanied the bequest:
Maybe now you won't be late for everything. I trust you will be a responsible
driver. But be careful of the curse.
Brad understood the first part. His girlfriend, Denise, joked he would be late for
his own funeral, while Uncle Fritz had never been late. If anything, Uncle Fritz
had been early to his own funeral, dying at only fifty-eight. He'd owned the
Mustang over forty of those years.
And the bit about being a responsible driver was obviously a veiled reference to the
time Brad had gotten drunk at a party in high school and had stumbled out of his
friend's house to go home. Just as Brad was trying rather unsuccessfully to unlock
his car door, Uncle Fritz happened to drive past and recognize him. On the way
home, he'd gotten an earful about the perils of drunk driving. Since then, Brad had
kept his promise never to drive drunk, and as far as he knew, Uncle Fritz had kept
his promise to never mention the incident to Brad's parents.
But the part about the curse had to be a joke. If Uncle Fritz believed the Mustang
was cursed, why did he drive it everywhere? Maybe he meant not to drive with the
top down -- Uncle Fritz's skin had really taken a beating, so he'd looked more like
seventy-eight than fifty-eight.
After putting the note in a back pocket, Brad unlocked the door and got in. The
Mustang started right up with a smooth roar. Uncle Fritz had kept the car in great
shape despite its age.
"Hey, baby," he said, patting the dashboard, "Whaddaya say we go for a spin?"