The message machine popped a beep that echoed across the vast void of a silent universe. The tone of the beep then drowned into the vaporized fumes of a glassful of Crown Royal. The caller sounded like he had one too many as it was. The message machine hissed in the background as the voice faded in.
“…So …I got this number and your message. Apparently you called earlier about the ’69 Nova I had for sale in the classifieds. So, yeah, I’ll give you some answers on what you wanted to know and you can call me back. I still got this Nova SS. It’s a true ’69 SS, not some slapped together junk Nova made up to be like an SS. This one is all original. I know there are guys out there that’ll slap the SS emblems on the fenders and grill and try to pass it off as an original but this one is a true SS model. It’s got the original 396 big block and four speed transmission and yeah, it’s all numbers matched and I can provide you the paperwork.
“Yeah sure, it’s got some road weariness for a hundred and twenty thousand miles but she‘s still running strong. I made sure to change the oil and filters every two thousand miles. Now, you gotta keep in mind that Chevy only made something like a little over 17,000 SS models that year. Then from that number, you only had about 5,000 of these with a 375 horsepower 396. You gotta ask yourself: how many originals are still around today and I mean complete originals. Hell, most of ’em got raced to death on the local tracks around the country or blew a motor or kids beat the shit out of ’em then scrapped ‘em. You know what I mean though. There just ain’t that many originals left.
“On the interior, it’s all black with bucket seats. You won‘t believe what kinda shape the interior is in for being original.” A long pause. There was the soft sound of a Zippo lighter being lit and the soft sounds of a cigarette being puffed to life.
“Well, can’t really think too much else to say…wait, there is actually. The only part that’s not original is the bumper. Maybe I shouldn’t say this but I believe in being as honest as possible. I was on a cruise around the city and was on some narrow road. Some stray fucking dog ran out in front of me and I hit it. God damned it was one big-assed dog! The bumper got damaged. It got bent and twisted and had a few cracks. I did replace it though. It’s all the same bumper from one model to the next so it shouldn’t affect any collector value.”
There was another long pause.
“So, anyway, I think that’s about it. If you want, you can come over and take it for a spin. I’m going to be around the house for most of today. You can call me up or swing by 1620 8th Ave North. It’s over by Lancaster Boulevard. Look forward to seeing you. Oh! Before I forget. The price is firm. I would keep it but I’m looking to relocate back to Colorado. I hate to sell it truth be told. It’s been a great car. Anyway, my old lady is out trying to get some packing boxes and materials so it’d be nice to talk this car over with someone that’ll appreciate and care for it. Anyway, looking forward to hearing from you.”
Clint listened for the beep that said the message was over. He leaned back in his chair and thought for a long moment while sipping on a small glass of Crown Royal. After all these long months of searching he had finally found the owner of the ’69 Nova. He inhaled on his cigarette then blew out a thick plume of acrid smoke. He was sure now. A year and a half had passed since the day of the accident. A red 1969 or early 70’s Nova SS had hit a bicyclist. The bicyclist was a young woman of twenty-six and was married. Only an old man had been a witness to the accident but he had passed away several weeks later. The police had searched for months for the Nova or a suspect and had come up with nothing.
No one had seen any sign of a red 1969 Nova SS since then. His wife had died alone on a cold blood-soaked, dark asphalt road under a moon-filed sky.
There were moments the anguish was more than he could bear and he had thoughts of taking a pistol and ending it all. Then the phone calls began. For several weeks afterward, he had received phone calls from a man whose voice was smeared thick with alcoholic fumes. The man’s voice had repeatedly whispered he was sorry or how he had tried to avoid it from happening. When Clint had tried to re-dial the number, he found it led to a phone booth on the opposite side of town. He had begun his own hunt once the cops had deemed it a cold case. He carefully searched the classifieds and attended any car shows looking for a red 1969 Nova SS. He knew the owner of the car would eventually want to sell it to further distance himself away from the crime scene.
Clint picked up a heavy barreled S&W .357 revolver by the nightstand next to him, checked to make sure his six hollow-pointed buddies were all accounted for, then tucked it into the waistband of his trousers before putting on his jacket. He smashed out the burning embers of his cigarette in a nearby ashtray then marched out the door. He was going to go pick up his 1969 Nova SS.
He had already paid blood for it anyway.