Around the corner from where we live, someone is offering to sell a 1949 Chrysler Club Coupe for $5,500 — only a few thousand dollars more than the car cost when it was new. Not being in the market for a car, I haven’t stopped to study its condition, but I’m still tempted. The body is in good shape, and painted a nice dark blue. One of the windows is down several inches. This could mean the owner is trying to keep the interior from getting too hot, or that the window is stuck. The vehicle looks roomy enough, about twice the size of many of the currently popular overpriced four-door models. It isn’t stylish at all, but it’s better looking than most old Chryslers, which I suppose isn’t saying much.
The strange part is, I can picture myself driving the thing. This doesn’t happen very often anymore. Cars nowadays bore me. I still like Corvettes, but I doubt I’d buy one even if I could afford it, because once I was inside I’d probably become paralyzed and wouldn’t be able to get out. Very bad for the image. But an old Chrysler with a roomy seat, jumbo steering wheel, and two-pane windshield wouldn’t pose that problem. When I arrive at a fancy restaurant to discuss my latest big deal with my crooked, high-powered agent, I can step out and immediately impress people with my grandeur. Or I can drive to Wal-Mart and have plenty of room in the trunk and back seat to stash a load of Chinese-made goods that are systematically impoverishing American workers.
Of course, it would come down to the horn. If it sounds like a freight train, as many old horns do, then I’d almost have to buy the car. The horn on our van, while sufficient to surprise car-wash personnel, is an embarrassment. So. What to do. The thing is, I don’t trust myself. Already, I want to sell the van and buy the Club Coupe. And once I do that, then the obvious thing to do is to drive the car on a leisurely tour of the country. Granted, I’d prefer doing that in a black 1957 Cadillac, but a 1949 Chrysler would do.
Chrysler. Wasn’t there a Fritz Chrysler, and wasn’t he a famous violinist?
No, no, you idiot — Fritz Kreisler was the famous violinist. He was born in Austria in 1875, and died in New York or some such place in 1962.
What about Fritz Chrysler, then? Who was he?
I don’t know. Does it matter?
No. Not really. What I’m more concerned about is that I seem to be talking to myself again.
Well, I wouldn’t worry about it, unless you actually answer. If you answer, then it means you need professional help.
And if I don’t answer?
Then you need a Chrysler.
I see. You know, I’m glad we’re having this little discussion. May I ask what you’re driving these days?
Certainly. I drive a Kreisler.
(At this point, the tape runs out. What a shame.)
Also by William Michaelian
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Another Song I Know
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