By Gerald Hausman
Santa Fe, NM, USA

Sometime ago our 1993 Ford F150 truck was stolen.
Gerald Hausman

One morning, when we looked out our front window, it was gone.

That same day, a detective with the Santa Fe Police Department saw the truck, captured the thief, and handcuffied him to the steering wheel.

The following day our insurance company declared the stolen truck a complete loss. When we asked why, we were informed that the vehicle had been stripped of parts. In addition, it had been dented with a hammer and spray-painted black. Adding insult to injury, the thief had also posted Valentine graffiti all over the headliner before he ripped the dashboard apart and removed the computer.

We considered the situation on a heartfelt rather than a material level. The truck was gone. Our old best friend had been killed, so to say. And in a lonely scrap yard in Albuquerque, New Mexico, that old friend was soon to be sold for scrap metal. The engine was all that was left in salvageable condition and the insurance agency was going to sell it.

Then a writer friend called to say he’d written the truck into a dystopian novel. The truck in the novel had gone through hellfire to save the world and it was without question the hero of the book.

That was some consolation. And fitting too.

We recalled how the truck had gotten us through Hurricane Charley. This was a natural disaster that packed horrific wind power. Some gusts reached 170 miles per hour. Before the storm our son-in-law told us to park the F150 with the front bumper wedged against the outside garage door.

On the inside of the garage, he suggested we park, bumper-to-door, our John Deere tractor, which we did. Charley came and tore down every telephone pole in our town. He decimated homes and upended vehicles.

But the F150 stayed exactly where we’d parked it, and our life savings – in stored books and collectibles – stayed protected on the garage shelves we’d built. The floor of the garage remained dry. Across the street our neighbor’s Cadillac and his travel van were crushed flat.

The F150 had kept all that we owned, safe and sound. And as for the truck itself, there was not a scratch on it.

That was then, and this is now …

I guess we are at peace with the missing, the stolen, the disappeared. Sometimes you have to let go, and so we did.

But some things, material and spiritual, are not meant to disappear. Our truck seemed to be one of these. Although the F150 was materially gone, we wondered if it might yet return, as it had in the novel.

Some months after our claim to the insurance company was validated, stamped approved and full value disbursed to us, we received a mysterious phone call.

It seems the magical F150 had reappeared, and then been “totaled” once again. Our insurance company notified us that our truck had just been in an accident in Albuquerque.

“Let’s settle this claim by phone, right now,” our agent said.

“The claim’s already been settled. You paid us quite some time ago. The truck was declared, by your adjuster, a complete loss, so we accepted your offer of full Kelly Book value.”

“When was that?” the agent asked.

“Months ago.”

“Hmm. Something’s funny here.”

“Funny, you say?”

We waited for her return call, and when it came, the facts were clear as mud, but nonetheless, facts. What we came to understand is that our truck had many lives, and this last was the most mysterious of all.

Whoever was driving what was left of the vehicle used our insurance company to reapply for replacement. Very tricky but it happens.

It might’ve worked, too. But the agent tracked the claimant and in the end, we accepted that there’s no road so straight there isn’t a crook up ahead somewhere. Either that or life is but a dream and we don’t go merrily, merrily down the stream. Either that or don’t look now, here comes your F150 once again. I’ll go with that one. She’s coming back soon. We’ll keep you posted.   

(Gerald Hausman photo credit: Mariah Fox)

Gerald Hausman
Gerald Hausman at Stay Thirsty Publishing


Gerald Hausman is the author of Not Since Mark Twain - Stories and a regular contributor to Stay Thirsty Magazine.

All opinions expressed are solely those of its author and do not reflect the opinions of Stay Thirsty Media, Inc.