- A Serialized Novel -

Sorting out Carson's legacy only leads to more questions.

Author’s Note: I had a bit of this in mind from the beginning, though the characters took it in a bit of a different direction from what I’d planned. That’s okay, though. It more than works.

A Real Find

“Excuse me. I think I’m lost.”

“Well, if you’re looking for the highway, it’s about thirty miles southwest of here, and the nearest gas station is another ten miles in either direction. If you wanted to get yourself lost, you picked a good place to do it.”

Carson nodded, trying to get a better look at the person under the truck. He hadn’t realized the overalls belonged to a woman until she spoke, and he didn’t know what to think now. That was what he got for trusting Carrie’s internet search. He should have looked the place up for himself because this could not be it. Another farm, rundown and ramshackle, holding on because of a family’s sheer stubbornness, not because this kind of work turned any kind of profit. Judging from the truck she was working on, this place had seen its last heyday when his grandfather’s had—more than forty years ago.

“I know where the highway is. I think I got bad directions. I came out here looking for Mac Gilreath. I guess he has some kind of… auto restoration place, but my sister-in-law must have been mistaken.”

“Why, because she’s a woman?”

“Um,” he said, hoping he wasn’t about to get involved in some kind of debate over sexism because he didn’t have the brain for it at the moment. “No, because I’m not entirely sure she likes me. I kind of—Well, to put it mildly, most of my family thinks I’m one step away from the looney bin.”

The woman slid out from under the truck, studying him. Her hair was covered by a scarf that was more grease black than the blue of the fabric, and she seemed smaller now that he could see more of her, a trick of the shadow under the truck and her overalls, a set he didn’t figure had always belonged to her. “You don’t look like some kind of psycho, but then looks can be deceiving.”

He forced a smile. “Yeah, that’s true. Is there anyone named Gilreath around here or am I on a wild goose chase?”

The woman dragged herself up from the ground, and now he knew why her bandana wasn’t the stereotypical red—it would have clashed with that hair of hers, a shade that crimson had to be dyed, right?

“I’m not sure if I should hit you or not.”

“Why would you hit me?”

She held out a hand. “Mac Gilreath. Should I call you a chauvinist now or later?”

He grimaced. “Sorry. I had no idea. Carrie gave me a name and an address, and I made a bad assumption. I didn’t look up the information myself, I should have, and I shouldn’t have—Okay, on that note, I’m going to leave. We’ll just… forget I was that stupid and call it a day.”

“Well, to be perfectly honest, the original Mac is, in fact, a man, and he would have been around if you’d come a few minutes earlier, but he’s of the old generation, you know. Church on Sunday, like clockwork.” She shrugged, wiping her hands on a rag. “I’m Mackenna, his granddaughter. So… you did come all the way out here, and most people don’t. What were you interested seeing Grandpa about?”

Carson gestured to the trailer. “That. Apparently, I got left that by my grandfather, and I have no idea what to do with it.”

She put a hand to her head, knocking the scarf off as she moved closer to the trailer. “Wow. Where was this?”

“In his barn.”

“Right. Should have known. You can see the effect of the animals on the paint. Here and there. Their sweat does things to a car after years in storage,” she said, running a hand along the fender. “This is almost all original, isn’t it?”

“I don’t know. You’re guess is a hell of a lot better than mine.”

She shook her head. “A near complete Maxwell, probably… 1908, maybe 1909. This is incredible.”

“This is… complete? My brothers figured it was junk.”

“Your brothers are idiots.”

“I won’t argue that.”

She looked up from the car with a grin, but her attention went back to it a moment later. “It doesn’t look like much, not like this, but this is a find, Mister…?”

“Koslow. Carson Koslow.” He gave the car another frown. “I don’t have the money to restore it. I know that. I guess I was just hoping to find someone who could tell me about what it’s worth and help me get a fair price for it.”

“You’d sell it? Just like that?”

He let out a breath. “I… I don’t know. I’m not sure why my grandfather left me it. None of us even knew he had it, and I thought—Never mind. That’s a long story I won’t bore you with.”

“Okay, fine. Just tell me the story behind this.”

Carson stared at the hole that she’d pointed out, a strange gap in the frame. “I… You’re the mechanic. That’s… rust, right? Went through the fender there. I mean, that metal looks kind of flimsy compared to what we have, so it must be.”

She shook her head. “Flimsy metal’s got nothing to do with rust, and I would have said that was a bullet hole, but that’s me.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *