Updated: Feb 2, 2022
I was finally on the road, and I could hardly believe it.
It had taken me a whole year at my new job until I was finally qualified for paid time off. Which meant it was time for a much-needed vacation; a break from the everyday hustle of fake smiles, mediocre coffee, and cramped fingers.
Clicking the radio on, I stumbled onto one of my all-time favorite songs, “Don’t Stop Me Now”, by Queen.
“Cuz I’m havin’ a good time, havin’ a good time!” Freddie Mercury’s iconic voice bellowed in my ears as I cranked the volume up, my foot applying more pressure to the gas pedal.
Glancing over, I noticed my windshield was pretty dirty, so I tried clearing it up by pressing the windshield fluid switch next to the steering wheel. It made that annoying squeaking sound, only no liquid was coming out. I can deal with it, I tried to rationalize with myself. It’s only a nine hour drive.
As I zoomed down the road, I noticed an automatic car wash approaching in the near distance. I considered making the stop. It had been a while since I’d been in one of those things, but I figured what the heck. Let’s make these windows shine, I thought, turning into the parking lot.
The kid in front of me flagged me to scoot my vehicle up closer and closer to the tracks of the car wash. Immediately, I remembered how anxious I got during this part of the process. The person motions you forward, to the left or to the right, and I always worried about my foot slipping and hitting the gas, and ending up with a lawsuit and a side of jail time.
Thankfully, I made it onto the tracks just fine.
“Just the basic wash, or do you want the premium?” the kid asked me, after I rolled my window down.
“No thanks, just the basic wash,” I told the kid, handing him a five dollar bill. The kid stared at me, then nodded his head as I rolled my window back up. I nodded back at him as he walked over to a wall and pressed a couple of buttons. My car jumped forward, then started sliding smoothly along down the track, leading into the watery, foggy abyss.
For some reason, I was feeling nervous about the whole thing. It hadn’t been that long since I’d been in a car wash. Turning the music down to help calm my nerves, I glanced up at my rearview window and could have sworn that kid was standing in the distance, glaring at me.
My car lurched forward, and then all around me was being blasted with soapy water geyers, covering every square inch of my windows.
That kid wasn’t glaring at me. Was he?
Giant blue spinning brushes came down from the ceiling next as my car continued moving forward. The brushes, even in the soapy, misty haze, looked a bit worn for the wear. If I was being generous, they looked questionable.
I held my breath in as the spinning brushes came down, hard, and rotated aggressively over the hood of my car. It almost sounded like sharp knives scraping across the hood. Worried now, I glanced all around me in the car. What could I do if I needed to stop this thing?
The blue brushes pelted across the hood and crawled up my windshield next. The sharp bristles were like jagged teeth coming toward me, trying to swallow me up. There was a loud banging sound, and suddenly the spinning brush jerked forward, cracking my windshield.
“Hey! What the hell!” I shouted in my car in disbelief.
The angry bristles next ripped my car’s antenna, and both of my windshield wipers, completely off. The metal scraping sound continued as it made its way across the roof of my car, sounding like butcher knives on a chalkboard.
“Hey!!” I yelled louder this time, banging on my window. “Someone stop this thing!”
More spinning brushes appeared on all sides of me now. That long drippy noodly-like thing swooped in as well, slapping my windshield violently with a loud thwack.
A set of red brushes on both sides of me plowed through both my rearview mirrors, knocking them clean off the car.
The noise was so loud and deafening, I screamed for help inside my car, and couldn’t even hear my own voice.
Something had to stop this madness. My car was literally being destroyed in this soaking wet nightmare.
My heart was racing. I had to do something. I had to get out and yell at them for what they did to my car, my poor car. And my vacation!
The brushes continued angrily whipping and cracking at all of my windows from every direction, and it was at that moment I finally had enough. I unbuckled my seatbelt, unlocked my door, and pushed the car door open with all of my might. Soapy geysers immediately sprayed into my face, drenching me. I threw myself out of the car and into the wash, and immediately felt myself obliterated by the demon-possessed brushes.
My body flipped and twisted over and under the brushes, which sent me sliding underneath my car and onto the tracks beneath.
Looking down, I noticed with horror that beneath the track was oblivion: an endless dark chasm, seemingly leading to pure nothingness. I tried to hold onto the track, tried to pull myself up, but my hands were just too wet, too slippery…
Nothing could save me as my body slipped and fell downward through the tracks, and into the bottomless pit beneath me.
I kept falling, and falling, and falling, for what felt like an eternity, screaming at the top of my lungs, “YOU RUINED MY VACATIONNNNNNNNNN-“
* * *
The car kept inching itself, closer and closer to the exit of the car wash. It had been partially vacuumed dry by the suction devices near the end of the tunnel, and two teenagers with cloths came out to finish wiping off the rest of the vehicle.
One of the teens stepped over to the driver side window, and wiped a layer of condensation from the window. She peered inside at the driver’s seat and noticed me sitting there, slumped over and passed out.
The two teenagers laughed and finished drying off the car. The teenage girl stopped and tapped on the window, jolting me awake.
“You should have went for the premium wash, man," she said with a grin.