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The Galaxy



(The prompt in this case was a crushed automobile being lifted out of a compactor.)

The old Ford Galaxy lay flat on its back at the bottom of the compactor. It’s single headlight looked up at the blue summer sky and it thought to itself -- I shall never see that sky again. I shall never cruise the thruways and turnpikes with my master at the wheel, with the radio turned up loud and his girl friend at his side, putting her hand on his thigh and suggesting they park awhile.

As the iron walls of the compactor closed in and pinched its fenders the Galaxy remembered football games and beer and making out on its comfortable back seat under the stars in summer time.

It had a hundred and thirty thousand miles on its odometer before it got turned back to thirty thousand and then sold to a high school senior in Hempstead.

Things went downhill from then on, the Galaxy was past its prime now, and was outrun at the light by livelier imports. It was left out in the rain and snow, its once glossy midnight blue finish grew dull, and dents, scratches and rust were unattended. It didn’t always start in the morning and when the high school senior graduated and left home for college he didn’t bother to take the Galaxy with him.

“I don’t want to bring that old heap with me, what will the other kids say?”

“It’s your damn old heap,” his father said. “You’re not going to leave that wreck in the street in front of this house.”

So it was sold to a man with a paper route who flung newspapers on the front lawns of suburbanites. He removed the front passenger seat to hold them and he crept along at five miles per hour leaving a trail of blue smoke and dripping oil, throwing newspapers and circulars through the Galaxy’s broken windows.

It was the last few miles for the old Galaxy, and like the milkman’s horse, it came to the end of the road, and one wintry morning it coughed once and died almost in front of the house it knew in its youth 130,000 miles ago.

The man with the newspaper route sold it for five dollars to the junk dealer at the edge of town, who in turn, stripped it of anything valuable and rolled it into the compactor.

It lay there now looking up at the bright blue sky thinking back, as we all do, to better days and the passage of 130,000 miles.


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