The Car Had A Rattle

In my story, Scorpion Hunting, I told you I had another Bill Carney story; this one is about his brand new car. It was a 1970 Dodge of some sort—kind of sporty—because I remember thinking it was a pretty racy car for an “old” guy. I think he was in his late forties or early fifties, but to a twenty-year-old, that was ancient.

The car was a Dodge Charger, if I remember correctly; not the four-on-the-floor-big-engine model, but the four-door family version. It still seemed out of place sitting in Bill’s driveway.

Bill was a meticulous guy; he could fix anything, and was constantly tinkering with something in his garage. He was the kind of guy that would take something apart just to see how it was put together. He stepped over the line though when he tore that new Dodge apart.

I lived right across from the Carney’s at the time, out at the El Paso Natural Gas pumping station, near Arlington, Arizona.

I stepped out onto my front porch one Saturday morning about three days after Bill had bought the Dodge. My eyes nearly came out of my head as I surveyed what appeared to be a total catastrophe; the seats and carpet that were supposed to be in the Road Runner were scattered all over Bill’s front yard. I walked over and found Bill squatting inside the car, spraying some kind of foam all over the bare metal floor of the brand new Dodge. When I peaked inside the car, Bill said, “Mornin’.” He had this grin on his face—probably there because of my shocked expression—but in my mind, I thought old man Carney had gone off the deep end.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

He paused his spraying efforts then gave a shot into a corner, before saying, “The car had a rattle.” He grinned at me again. I thought the fumes coming from whatever the stuff he was spraying were making him high. This was crazy!

I looked back over my shoulder at the seats and carpet scattered around the yard then looked back into the car at Bill; he’d resumed his spraying. “Did you find the rattle?” I asked.

“Oh, sure,” he said, still spraying.

“What was it?”

“Loose bolt on the back seat mounting bracket.”

I glanced over my shoulder again then said, “So you dismantled a brand new car’s interior to fix one loose bolt?”

Bill laughed then said, “Don’t be ridiculous. I took all that stuff out so I could spray this foam. It’ll really cut down on the road noise.”

I stared at him for a minute, as he met my gaze, still wearing his goofy grin, then I shook my head side-to-side and said, “You’re nuts, Bill.”

I got to tell you folks; I been to four hog-callings and a dozen county fairs, and I ain’t never seen nothing like that!


  1. Sherry Mashburn said

    Well, he was old, you know . . . that road noise can be very irritating to us old folks!

  2. Gary Williams said

    I never heard that one but can just imagine him doing that. Was he any kin to you???

    • Nope, no kin. But I sure did like the guy. One of the nicest, most interesting people I ever knew.

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