He knew nothing about cars but he liked this place anyway. It was like a museum, the old fords and chevrolets with their sun baked patinas and curling clear coats long flaked away. He would sneak in and walk through the cars and trucks thankful for the silence and shadows of the night. His headlamp make the world smaller and more pointed like the beam of light it cast. Its funny how having a light on your head makes you feel like the rest of the world disappears when your not looking that way. The desert wind left a layer of thick dirt on the old cars windows- when he pulled two fingers across the glass of this old white car without emblems he stopped and looked inside. The red leather seats were beautiful! The outside weather beaten and dented but the old hard body car was like a tank. He opened the door and slid onto the back seat, long and smooth the bench and interior were enormous. As he closed the door the dirt fell from the car doors windows and it shuddered a little. The junk yard cars were balanced on old tires and crude steel stands. He sat forward against the front seat examining the old radio and dials of that day. The knobs were simple and the trim beautiful. These old cars really had detail, the oversized steering wheel indicated it was before power steering. He rationalized that the cloudy windshield and glass had protected the cars interior and tank like as it was the was really well preserved. His headlamp scalded the rear view mirror shined back in his face blinding him. As his eyes refocused he wondered how long it had been since he had a place that was his? A pace nobody wanted, it was more than a secret- it was an escape.
He went often to the old white car. The Yonke fence was close to his house and he could crawl under it easily. After a long day at work and short run he would disappear into his “office”. He had cleaned the red leather till supple and slick. He made a little fire in the dirt beside the old car and sat back wondering why joshua trees burned so poorly. This smokey bastard of the fire he wanted was put out until he could bring better wood. The next time he filled the trunk with nicely cut bundle of tinder and logs and a notebook. The next day the workers drove their machines and people picked over the parts as usual but nobody noticed the fire stubble or the old white car. Curiosity got the best of him one day and he paid to go into the Yonke in the daytime just to get a feel for the place and see the owner. His Spanish was weak but he enjoyed the ambiguity. In his mind he had asked permission and paid a rent. He walked the lanes and ignored his office curiously walking like he was meeting his neighbors. When night fell and as he rolled under the fence he held his bourbon and headlamp out of the sand. His fire was modest and the night was beautiful. Tomorrow was Sunday and he figured he would stay his first night in the Yonke. The door was open and his feet were warmed by the fire as he read an old magazine he had found in the trunk. There were toy cars he had lined up on the dash, they looked as worn out as the cars around him. He drifted off to sleep. The morning came with a startle as a truck pulled down the lane his car was on. He reached over and shut the door knocking the dirt off the window just in time for a man in a big hat to come knock on it and ask him to step out. The two men talked and walked and the owner listened bewildered. He offered to buy the old white car if he could keep it in the junkyard. He explained how special this place was to him and the old man understood. They decided to move the old car closer to the hole in the fence beside his house. Sometimes after work the old man would come and sit with him and they would have a little drink, poke the fire and talk about their families. He never said the words out loud, but he liked to call it the red leather hideout.
Yonke is spanish slang for junkyard: pronounced like “donkey” but with a “y” (Yonkey) This story was born after a dream I had: it was nearly complete when I woke up- the character had no name, I assume it was me experiencing it but I don’t know for sure. Inspired by my days in El Paso junkyards no doubt and desert camping trying to burn joshua trees in California. Its funny how dreams reassemble your life into new stories. This would be a fun children’s book to illustrate. Might be a crappy children’s book but it would be fun to draw pictures of. No matter, I needed to write it, hope it inspires the Salvor to write.