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....the V8 hummed his song against the cool breeze that half-heartedly threw itself at him on the track loosely lined with bushes and flowers. For hours the two of us had been meandering along the narrow country road at the end of the world and slowly I didn't care how it might have come about in 1972 to name this leatherette-covered steel box after an African antelope. For some time now the air conditioner only sucked in the smell of hot oil, which I tried to get rid of through the half-opened side window. I had just given up the idea when suddenly a washed-out sign rushed by the side of the road, which promised a break at the high horizon.
Half an hour later I turned into the entrance of an old gas station on the remote pass. It seemed to have had its best times behind it for quite a while. A station in diner-style, as they had been built in the 40s, 50s on almost every highway. Apart from an unshaven cowboy who probably belonged to the inventory for umpteen years, not a soul was to be seen. The cowboy was sitting in an office glazed to the street. He had made himself comfortable in an old armchair and seemed to think about whether it was worthwhile to take a sip of the long cold coffee or to light a new cigarette. When I nodded my head, he came out of his shed with a questioning look at the petrol pump and, shortly after my second nod, started to use it to refuel the car. While the pump started buzzing nervously and the scent of the surrounding orange trees mixed with the gasoline mist from the old pump nozzle, I stared thoughtfully into the warm sunset and enjoyed the view of the landscape flooded with copper light under the evening colored sky.
The cowboy still wiped the insects off the windshield of the car. He reminded me that the engine was lacking some oil and that the filter of the air conditioning system had probably broken at some point. The idea seemed familiar somehow. Asked if there was anything he could do about it, he waved me with a casual hand movement towards his workshop and went ahead while I started the car to follow him. The workshop had to be as old and original as everything here. Nevertheless it seemed to be tidy and halfway clean. When I opened the door, I was greeted by the usual evaporation of rubber and drying waste oil, which testified to the many years of screwing, painting, scrapping and repairing here. I looked around while the cowboy half disappeared in the engine compartment of the Chevy. Apparently he knew his way around, and there had been who knows how many cars gutted here. They had stood around abandoned, waiting for their fate, a repair or a new buyer. Old companion(s), with dry batteries and the not-burnt hope in their metallic hearts that the cowboy would give them one last chance. The chance to compete again with the fresh breeze of spring, the warm wind of summer, the autumn storms with their rains or the winter snowdrift. This was probably what the three large-volume sedans were hoping for, their roundish, bulky shapes half covered by tarpaulins. With flat tires, they dreamt of old times and endless highways in the back of the workshop.
But only one of us got back there today. At some point, in the middle of all that thinking, my car was ready again. I followed the cowboy into his office, which looked much bigger on the inside than I had estimated on the outside. The walls, painted white for the last time a long time ago, and the seating furniture with the fragile imitation leather upholstery, still exhaled this aura, somewhere between quietly evaporating solvent and old cotton fabric. The heavy wooden cupboards seemed to be filled to bursting with files full of invoices, delivery notes and receipts, which had probably been put in battle order long ago to account to some accountants. Today, they seemed to be of no more importance than capturing the age of this office with the smell of dusty, printed paper, as if in a photograph.
Through the window, the sunlight in the room with the dust fibres of the air danced on the once oiled wooden floorboards and I watched it until the clanging crash of the old, mechanical cash register took me out of my daydream. Friendly the cowboy held out his hand and took his money. I paid and thanked him. Then I said goodbye and went to my car. I had just left the garage when the cowboy appeared in front of my radiator. Smiling, he came to my window, handed me some kind of business card and tapped his Stetson with the index and middle finger of his right hand. Half a minute later the silhouette of my car, dull rumbling, plunged into the low sun on the highway to the next valley, while I lost sight of the gas station in the rear-view mirror.
When I woke up it was bright morning and the sun had set out on its way to its highest point in the steel blue sky. I could hear the noise of the city and was just about to get up when my gaze fell on a business card eaten by the sunlight, which I held in my hand. Still half asleep, smoothing out the slightly crumpled card close to my eyes, I deciphered with difficulty: ...inspired by Tom Ford, Grey Vetiver, EdP.