Page 21 - WTP Vol. XI #5
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of now is my familiar old Toaster, I’m lucky.
 Back home, I called our mechanic of ten years. Was he interested in buying my Scion? My first shot at try- ing to sell Toaster, and I actually succeeded.
The following Monday I told Tom, “I can’t wait to go to work and show everyone my new volvo." The sen- timent was as intentional as my humor.
I asked the mechanic: “Rats?” “Sure looks like it,” he said.
"When Maa was alive, she and
Mil were my yin and yang. When I had too much
of Maa’s eccentricities, I looked forward to Mil’s calm pragmatism. She’s a wholesome, frugal woman and the diametric opposite of my bawdy, goofy, spend- thrift mother."
The morning of my Volvo’s first California oil change, the mechanic made a unique discovery. A large glob of what looked like dryer lint was attached to my cabin filter, and the compartment where it resided was lined with fur, lint, and dead leaves.
I wasn’t upset. Rats nesting inside warm air filters is common in Southern California—especially when they lay fallow for months. I watched as the mechanic vacuumed out the debris and replaced my air filter.
Suddenly, it hit me.
 No way could I explain my giggle fits to the mechan- ic. Nor could I share the strange phenomena I’d been experiencing over the last few weeks with a straight face.
Rats had built a fuzzy nest inside my volvo!
Sometimes my volvo smelled a little like rotting meat.
Sometimes my volvo made a funny, high-pitched squealing sound.
My secret fear had been assuaged. Those smells and squeals had been real. I wasn’t delusional like my mother. Oh, Maa. If only you survived and stayed healthy enough to hear my Volvo jokes. You’d prob- ably say, “Laurie, stop! Please! Before I piss myself!”
Dumbo and Toaster had been good cars, but they couldn’t be half as entertaining as my new Volvo.
 DiGangi's fiction and creative nonfiction has been published in The Chicago Reader, Denver Quarterly, Fourth Genre, Asylum, Atlanta Quarterly, Cottonwood, Two Hawks Quarterly, and Under the Gum Tree, among others. Her essay “Pretty Fingers” recently received honorable mention and was published in Tulip Tree’s Stories That Need to Be Told 2022.

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