The other night I had a vivid dream that I was driving the Doomsmobile through Oakland and LA at night, which is something I used to do a lot in the early days of my living in California. I’d cruise around the East Bay at 2 am when I couldn’t sleep, sometimes with my cousin or a girl I liked, though often alone. I did everything in that car: search and rescues when friends got in a bad way, sat inside the warm cab with a head full of acid and surrounded by the fog on Grizzly Peak with a Trader Joe’s cashier I met in Silver Lake, smoked five hundred cigarettes up and down the coast to get to LA and back again, ferried dozens of strangers across the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge late at night to get them home for a little bit of money, served as a sort of tour bus for both McCune and this girl I was dating’s drum kits, and me always taking hard turns on those desolate streets in West Oakland at 50 miles and hour while blasting Boris, and on and on. . . .
For those who came in late, the Doomsmobile was my P-71 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, which was a decommissioned Fremont police car my cousin and I bought in Daly City. To paraphrase the Blues Brothers: it had a big V8 cop motor, cop tires, cop suspensions, cop shocks. If you slammed on the accelerator, the car would rocket away accompanied by the smell of burnt rubber. We spray-painted the doors black at the behest of an Emeryville police officer in order to keep it street legal, and it ended up acquiring a lot of weirdness both inside and out on account of its storied life, largely due to the fact that it was stolen four times, with each new thief adding or taking away some element of it.
When we first got the Doomsmobile, it looked like this:
That spring, my cousin and I had filled the trunk with strange and useless these we’d either bought or found in Oakland: a traffic cone, a wooden pizza paddle, redwood logs, hazmat suits, bear mace, and so on. We’d put some blankets and pillows back there since we often ended up sleeping in the thing, not wanting to pay for hotels in LA. We even mounted devil-shaped deer antlers in the back window.
The Doomsmobile had also acquired a massive dent on the roof on account of two girls rolling around making out on top of the car. Still, it was in good shape:
By the time my cousin and I drove it down to LA to cover the Electronic Entertainment Expo, it looked like this:
(What the hell am I wearing? I was totally fried on Adderall.)
The day I sold it, it looked like, in the words of my friend Tim, “a car Count Dracula would drive”:
The last time I ever saw it was late at night in downtown Oakland. Amazingly, I pulled up behind it headed in the direction of Lake Merritt. I knew it was the Doomsmobile because of the plates. The guy who had bought it had tinted the windows and completely redone the paint. It looked really good. I followed it for a few blocks out of curiosity, but it turned on Broadway, then another side street, and was gone. When I passed the side street seconds later it had completely vanished. It was very strange.
I always figured I’d die in that car somehow. Or anyway they’d find me dead inside of it, perhaps mysteriously. Laura prophesied that a fiery crack in the earth would open up, and it would be dragged back down to Hell, and maybe me along with it. At least for now, that has not came to pass. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if it came for me one day, being a cursed car that has put a curse on me, or else vice versa. I feel as though there is an unpaid debt I owe it, and eventually the bill will come due.
Anyway: Here in Berlin, I obviously don’t need a car on account of public transit being dirt cheap, and really you can get anywhere in the city, from one end to the other, and under an hour. That and I don’t want to contend with German drivers, who are insane. Still . . . I can’t help but admit that driving that stupid cartoon clown car all over the great state of California is probably the most fun I’ve ever had doing anything. I miss it very much, which is why I sometimes dream about it. I wonder if it misses me too.
If I ever ended up back in California, I know that it would be foolish to get another one. In addition to it being an extremely hated car, and for good reason, there is also like a 90% chance you’ll get your catalytic converter stolen on any street in Oakland.
Alas . . . !!!