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Fried Egg To Toast This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Fried Egg to Toast by A. P., Old Orchard Beach, ME
Last August, I bought my freedom for $350. What my summer savings got me was four tires, four doors, an engine and a steering wheel.
It was my first car and I was proud of the tiny Dodge Omni. Rain, snow and even the coldest weather could not stop Omelet, she just loved to be driven. It was amazing to me how much fun having your own car could be. I planned to take my car everywhere with me for the rest of my teenage life.
This summer I was going to fix Omelet up for the commute to SMTC next year. A paint job, new bearings, four tires and lots of Bondo were at the top of my list of renovations.
She was loud, rusting and brimming with personality. Affixed to the hatchback was a bumper sticker which read "Unless you're a hemorrhoid, get off my rear."
And the dash board came equipped with its own "No Damn Smoking" sign. The steering wheel housed eight tiny, yellow smiling face stickers which I had unknowingly placed wrong side up.
After barely passing inspection in February, I decided to start doctoring Omelet earlier that summer. I took her for a check-up at the Goodyear Center and left with a list of things which needed help right away. The grand total came out to be twice the amount I was able to spend - $438.72.
I showed my mom the good news and we opted to start with two new front tires since the metal was wearing through the rubber on the current ones.
I left my house with mom's Sears card and a 5 p.m. appointment which included a four-wheel realignment. Omelet seemed to be in an exceptionally good mood that day because the fan belt had ceased its high pitched squealing. I stopped at a light just minutes away from the mall to find the air outside my car engulfed with thick gray smoke. The lady in the white Blazer next to me stared with bewilderment and pity. This told me that I was in big trouble and should get my car to a parking lot fast.
On my right I saw a sign which read "UNUM" and drove my smoking car 50 miles per hour through a parking lot while ignoring the "Wrong Way-Do Not Enter" sign. Just as I found a suitable parking space, Omelet died and coasted its way to a stop. I turned the key and jerked it out of the ignition with trembling fingers. After shutting the door I sprinted to the tinted doors that I knew would lead me to civilization. Cautiously I approached the man behind the front desk.
"My car is smoking real bad and I think you should call the fire department."
"Is it on fire or just smoking?"
"I don't know. Why don't you go find out?"
By this point l was scared, alone and just noticing that the entire parking lot was flooded with billowy thick smoke. The man dispatched someone to go look.
"Yep, there are flames shooting out from under the hood."
"Oh no," I thought to myself, "what am I supposed to do now?"
By the time my mom arrived I was suffering from acute anxiety disorder and had to go talk to the firemen. The tall man dressed in yellow smiled at me and handed me a pile of singed papers from my glove box and my half-melted bank book.
"We got the biggest kick out of the "No Damn Smoking" sign. The smoke was just pouring out of the windows." I laughed at this, happy to know that at least one person found my situation amusing.
When I got home I called my friend, Arthur, and he decided to pick up Omelet around 9 that evening. The sight of my dead car on the back of the ramp truck brought a chill up my spine and implanted an image in my head I will always remember.
My freedom took me a summer to earn and 15 minutes to destroy.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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