at least for any distance, was a Ford Ranchero. It was my cousin’s car and we would drive it to the stock car races on Sunday nights. His was, I believe, a 68, and it had a three on the tree. he liked that because his girlfriend could scoot up to him on the big vinyl bench seat and sit next to him while driving. I suspect he also got a certain amount of road head too.

Anyway, we’d go to the races and watch his older brother race- me in the gateseat, him driving, his girlfriend squooshed between us. She would get all het up at the race, and be all over him like stink on shit on the way home. We didn’t ever leave the track till the wee hours, so they would go into the back of the truck where he had some indoor/outdoor and an air mattress, and have me drive back. Usually it was warm and dry, but this happened more than once under a tonneau top.

I was tickled to get to drive the distance, it was nearly a hundred miles. I swerved around a lot on the gravel roads, kicking up dust behind us and giving the two lovebirds a rollicking time- she loved the motion and the noise, he just didn’t care so long as he was getting his wick wetted. I liked driving because my license was still a couple years in the future, and there would be no cops along the route we’d take.

The column shifter on that old ranchero was sloppy and had been abused a lot. And that rugged old toploader had taken a beating. So it wasn’t uncommon to have it stick in a gear, and when it did, you took the big Craftsman prydriver out from under the seat, lifted the hood, and snapped the shift lever back into position. I’d yell through the split back window and pull over, and get’er done while trying not to look in the back. And then head back on down the road.

One night, tooling along the country roads listening to gospel stations and the overly vigorous emanations from the bed, something happened that I didn’t know could happen. I downshifted to 2, rounded a turn and upshifted, and the transmission stayed in 2.

And also went into 3.

This is an untenable situation for a transmission, so it did what all transmissions do when in two gears at once. it stopped.

Since the transmission was connected to the rear wheels of the Ranchero at the time, the ranchero stopped. To it’s credit, the toploader didn’t shoot all it’s internal components up into the passenger compartment, and the driveshaft did not self destruct. We just came to an amazingly abrupt halt.

And my cousin’s head came through the split back window. Accompanied by his girlfriend’s knee. And, God help me, his foot. I looked to my right to see this menagerie of improbable body parts, and she let out a little squeal of pain. The body parts were extracted from the window, not without some difficulty, and I got out to try to rectify the transmission issue.

When I had done so, I returned to the car and they had dressed and joined me. We drove the rest of the way back in silence, the incident putting a halt to their amorous activities.

Cousin had a bruise on his collarbone and a matching one on his pelvis, his girlfriend showed up the next day with a black and blue calf and a rugburn on her ear. To this day I cannot imagine any physical position they could have been in that would a: Result in the improbable combination of body parts that attempted to join me in the cab, or b: result in the injuries they sustained. I do know they were less mad than amused, though the pain probably tempered the amusement.