There was a time, Don remembered, when V8s ruled the highways. Proper cars. Valiants and Falcons. Chargers. Now the streets were clogged to a standstill with putt-putts. That’s what he called them. And what good had they done. Bugger all for all he could tell. The summers were hotter than Hades. Winter was cold but dry. The whole city drank recycled piss for God’s sake. And if a fella like him wanted to, if he hadn’t had his licence taken from him years ago, he couldn’t drive a decent car.
Lenny arrived. The kid was a disappointment. He worked for the government for a start, some sort of scientist. It was Lenny and that Clara who’d put him in this place.
Against my will, Don grumbled as Lenny straightened the photos on his dresser. What sort of family…
You been taking your pills? said Lenny.
Those pills ‘ll kill me, said Don.
You wanna live like this? said Lenny.
Whadda you think. You tell me.
Take the pills Dad, said Lenny. They’ll either kill you or make you feel better. You can’t lose.
Bugger you, said Don. He knew the score. He’d been at the home longer than anyone. He’d watched the others arrive like him, defeated. He’d seen them come over all smiles for a while. He’d watched them getting taken out.
Happy, happy, happy, die, he said.
You’re making it up, Dad, said Lenny.
Am I? said Don. And you with your government job. Don’t talk to me about making things up.
He closed his eyes. His head filled with the scream of a big donk hauling steel from nought to a hundred in the time it took to smell rubber burning on tarmac. All the good things were gone now. Outside the last of the dying pine trees was being taken out. They’d planted cactuses.