It was 1989 in a neighborhood that used to be called Hells Kitchen in New York City. I moved in to my first apartment. I was 19 years old.
One used to be able to park a car on the streets of Manhattan. I did just that. My friends and I called her “The Beast”.
She was a Yellow 1978 Toyota Celica. She had many scars due to the fact I had cut my driving teeth on her gears and wheels. She’d been flipped, raced, banged up and ridden hard. The marks were proudly displayed and indented upon her body and frame. That engine, as any car enthusiast would know was the 20R motor. The car had a heart of gold.
She was parked on 48th street between 11th and 12th avenue. Back in those days, car break ins were prevalent. ‘The Beast’ had already one window smashed in from a thief taking some trinkets.
Given the high crime rate in my neighborhood, I decided to leave the windows slightly open and the doors unlocked so as to avoid another broken window.
Late one night at around 2am, I ventured to the local bodega to get a pack of smokes. As I walked up the street and looked at my car, I was not quite prepared for the scene. A hooker was giving a guy a blow job in my car.
“HEYYYYYY!!!!!” I yelled “What are you doing?!?!?”
The inhabitants seemed slightly startled and thought I was a police officer. They had no response.
“That is my car!!! What the fuck????”
The whore responded “ohhhhhh we thought it was abandoned!”
I was still incredulous and shouted “THAT’S MY CAR!!!”
They slowly wandered off and I felt as if the beast was tainted for life. I washed her down with a lot of bleach Lysol type cleaners. I kept her locked up from that point on.
On a side note, that car lasted until 350,000 miles. I drove it up from Bangor, Maine to Daytona Beach, Florida.