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Margot Tremont never actually made it to Hollywood. What happened to her? Well, she fell in love.
Perhaps I should mention that due to the influence of that magical place known as the Midway, she didn’t fall in love with a man. No, not a woman either, by the smirk in your eyes. Margot Tremont fell in love with a car.
The pie was delicious, and she had been persuaded by the waitress to wash it down with a tall glass of milk, though she hardly ever drank it these days. With the food in her belly, mixed with the homey atmosphere of the diner, and Margot began to think about her parents…her father particuarly. He loved taking the family to places like this, part of his nostalgia for the 50s. Before she turned 12, Margot knew all the words to every Platters song ever recorded, listening to them in her father’s ridiculous Cadillac Coupe de Ville as they cruised the town. She shook her head slowly and smiled in fond remembrance.
Outside, in the parking lot, the air crackled with…possibility.
Margot noticed something odd about her old cabriolet as soon as she got in. The driver’s side seat felt bigger…more roomier. Which, of course, was impossible in the mid-sized car. She shifted a little, got comfortable, and shrugged it off.
She put the key in the ignition, turned it, and flinched a little when the sounds of “Twilight Time” suddenly blasted from her car stereo.
''Heavenly shades of night are falling It's twilight time Out of the mist your voice is calling It's twilight time''
She turned the music down a few notches and pulled out of the spot, glad that she was finally getting reception out here in the middle of nowhere. She had spent the last few hours on the road with nothing but her thoughts to keep her company. And those went in circles and circles these days.
''I count the moments darling Till you're here with me Together at last at twilight time''
Margot found herself singing along without realizing it, as she maneuvered the car onto the highway. An hour or so passed, one oldie after the other, and eventually Margot’s performance became marred by yawns. “Sleepy,” she muttered thickly to herself. And it didn’t look like there was a motel in sight. Rubbing her eyes, she spotted a sign for restrooms a mile or so ahead. She pulled into the small plaza, grabbed a blanket from the back seat, and began to doze off. Hell, truckers did it all the time, right?
The dream was…interesting. There was an old car, all chrome and top down, and there was a man behind the wheel. He looked similar to the New Castle mechanic, all grease-stained overalls and charming smile, and a little bit like an old picture of her father, pompadour hair and cigarette box rolled up in his t-shirt sleeve. And she was standing on the side of the road, sun beating down on her neck. There was a conversation about “needing a ride,” in that allegorical way that only comes out of dreams, and she had hopped into the passenger’s seat.
The speed was tremendous, wind whipping her hair and fluttering away at the buttons of her blouse. She felt a tingling sensation at the base of her spine each time he shited gears, which he seemed to do more often than actually possible. The landscape began to blur, or was it that her eyes were rolling back in her head? The engine revved in time with her breath, suddenly heavy. A thin bead of sweat trailed down her collarbone. She let out a cry of intense pleasure, just as she woke to a similar sound echoing over the Texas plains. A bird, most likely.
Margot shook off the dream, used the bathroom quickly, and got back on the road. She didn’t notice the cabriolet’s hood had lengthened and that fins had grown on the trunk.
The old car was handling much better, Margot mused. She scoffed at her paranoia that she had damaged it when…She couldn’t quite remember what she had been so worried about now. She was on the road now and on her way, and that’s what was important. The radio played “Hound Dog” as she passed into New Mexico.
She did find a motel that night, but had some trouble sleeping, twisting and turning in the uncomfortable bed. She got up and stood looking out the window down at the moonlit parking lot for a few seconds before grabbing a couple of pillows and climbing into the back seat of her car.
Her license plate now read MAGGI’S.
Margot sped through Arizona. It was just so easy! The slightest touch of her foot to the gas pedal and zoom! To an outside observer (and there weren’t many this day, except a few dimwitted roadrunners), bits of the car seemed to slough off from the acceleration. The sensible dark gray paint job, for instance, was whipped off like a hat in the breeze, revealing a bright pink. And at one point, the top of the car itself simply detached, flew into the bright blue sky, and vanished.
Margot took no notice that she had to shift gears to get the car up to top speed.
Hollywood! Los Angeles! The Dream Factory! Home to thousands of aspiring actress, who were all apparently sitting on the same freeway as Margot and tying up traffic.
Margot honked the horn impatiently. “This is ridiculous,” she said to herself. Bobby Darin answered on the radio with “Beyond the Sea.” Margot smiled at the idea and managed to squeeze out onto a nearby off-ramp. She navigated the side streets instinctively and soon found herself motoring along the Pacific Coast Highway. She took in the salty sea air and kept driving.
Her and the love of her life.