"But I want
"But I'm in
love with the car, Charlie."
"So marry it.
But dun t'buy it."
I brought the car
to Charlie's shop. He contemplated it dubiously. He stuck a finger up the tail
pipe and looked at the black smudge that resulted. Dubiously. He lifted the
hood, picked up a yard-long stick of wood, pressed one end to the engine and
the other to his ear, and listened, dubiously. The stethoscope effect, I
thought to myself cheerily, admiring Charlie. "What do you think of her,
Charlie?" He arched his eyebrows, hunched his shoulders and curled down the
corners of his mouth, all dubiously. "It runs," he said. Then he walked
For a modest
investment of $2,000 I became what is known in some quarters as a Bugattiste. I
experienced instantly what might be described, in transcendental terms, as the
"novitiate's bends." I finally had my hands on the Ultimate Automobile.
And I felt I now stood in the presence of some Final Revelation.
The Bugatti did
everything in its power to encourage this deception—by continuing to run, for
example. In buying it I had also become a member of what must be the world's
most exclusive key club. The ignition keys of most of the later-model cars are
identical. A distinct touch! Un vrai beau geste! What owner of a Bugatti would
conceivably make off with another's machine?