Flights of Fancy: SuspectS Car Show at Historic Fort Wayne, Detroit, 8/13/17

This past Sunday I had the pleasure of taking Trundle to be a part of a weekend car show at the Historic Fort Wayne in Detroit. Sponsored by the SuspectS car club, the event raised money to preserve this historic Civil War site and drew about 150 special cars from a wide range of disciplines, from fully-restored classics to grungy rat rods, from traditional street rods to modern muscle cars and from tail-dragging lowriders to 4×4 trucks.  Trophies were given, raffles were had, a taco truck was on hand to feed the masses and extra kudos to the SuspectS for a music selection that was more than just a litany of oldies’ greatest hits for five hours!
Here, let us introduce you to some of our favorite cars from the show:

Sarah often said that she was expressing her identity as “a Buick in a sea of Chevrolets.” A select few people caught her meaning implicitly; the rest just shrugged and admired her purple taillights.


The man winked and grinned, revealing a gold tooth, and held up a business card between two fingers. “If he ever gives you trouble again, you give me a call.”

“Why?” Marcia snapped. “You planning to be my pimp instead?”

“I’m not a pimp, lovely girl,” he said, his voice like real maple syrup. “I solve problems.”


If Charlie thought Lord & Taylor’s menswear department was going to save him, he was badly mistaken. The big Cadillac turned the glass doors into a wave of twisted aluminum and razor-edged confetti and roared undaunted across the marble floor.

Every night, when the garage doors closed, the panel van stubbornly hunkered down on its suspension and concentrated.  The matte black slowly came back, pushing through whatever lacquer its owner had attempted to apply during the day.  The big Chevy was not going to be a trailer queen, thank you very much.

Old Joe keeps an eye on things.  Don’t let the wide whitewalls and that goofy smile as he hands out candy to the kids fool you; he’s the reason the gangbangers don’t come down this block any more.  His Chrysler lives in a garage in the middle of a community garden that used to be a crackhouse.

Jack installed a bunch of hardware–an automatic-creep system from a Jeep, the proximity sensors from a new Mercedes S-Class and the EyeSight from a Subaru, the automatic braking from a Volvo and a bunch of RFID-tagging devices from a Ford–and now that Econoline follows him around wherever he goes, like a big red puppy.  I don’t think he even drives it any more.

“This is the last time you try to summon a demon in a moving car, Janice!” Bill shouted.  “You’re just lucky it didn’t work.”

“Didn’t completely work, you mean.”

“Excuse me?”

“Um…never mind.”

“We can’t go out for picnics with Nana any more, Dad, she’s dead.”

“I beg to differ,” he said, and opened the garage door.  Sunlight fell on the hood of his mother’s Ford and winked in the chrome.

“All right, let’s DO this!” Knuckles screamed.  “First one to the top of the canyon and back again gets the crown AND the loser’s pink slip!  Are you in or are you out?”

A shaft of yellow, smoke-stained sunlight cracked suddenly through the blinds, and Dale looked up, seeing Gene peeking nervously out.  “Her dad still out there?”

Gene nodded slowly, his lips tight and scared.

A glance at the pattern turned into a stare; Jules saw cities, planets, universes.  Something like the whole of creation cracked wide in front of her, and the day dropped away as she fell into it and through it, her mind whirling from Neanderthal caves to the gleaming cities of silicon-based lifeforms a dozen light years away.  Two hours later she was still standing there, a rope of drool on her chin.

Gabriel didn’t think of himself as a recruiter; he’d long ago rubbed through that sheen of idealism.  No, in this battle for the sanity of the universe, he preferred to think of his task honestly: he was a one-man press gang.  He enjoyed one last decadent mouthful of orange Crush (from a glass bottle of course) before opening the door to approach his latest…candidate.

(Surprise excerpt from the new Empty Cradle book!) Spiker’s car was the only one that wasn’t silver; it was a faded green four-door with a rusty hood and a lot of dents.  He had big tires on it as well as gear strapped to the roof, and it ran on slurry instead of corngas like the other two.  He was self-conscious about his car not looking quite as good as the others did, but I liked the way it looked.

Claire didn’t care what the neighbors thought of her, or the state of her lawn.  She had decided years ago that she was a goddamn dowager empress, and she carried herself accordingly.  Since she’d made this her truth, it no longer mattered what anyone else thought.

“This is your last chance,” Rick said, cocking his pistol, “to get the fuck out of my dining room, before bad things start happening to people’s knees.”

“This is a garage, not a dining room, you psycho!”

“Fuckin’ pedants,” he muttered, and pulled the trigger.

“The truck’s there again,” Rose said.  “Right down on the street, in the taxi lane.  Can you see it?”

“No.  Is this the one you’ve been dreaming about, that’s telling you to quit the firm and go start a sanctuary for rescue animals upstate?”

Rose nodded, frowning.