Saturday, May 17, 2008
I was parked in a strip mall in Palm Desert outside some sort of emergency medical centre. It was about 100 degrees. Behind me, amidst the usual American and Japanese ordinarymobiles, was an irridescent green Lamborghini Murcielago. It looked like an alien spacecraft, sitting there unnoticed by everybody except me and a soldier who walked around, whistling in envy and amazement. He caught me watching him and shrugged as if to express fellowship with another regular guy who could never afford such a car. I shrugged back to accept the offer. A while later I heard a terrible noise. It was a tearing, terminal coughing combined with desperate attempts to breathe. I could not see where it was coming from until, at last, I saw a paunchy, fortyish Asian man coming down the steps from the medical centre. He was just recovering from the spasm and noticed me staring at him. 'I'm dying,' he said and shrugged like the soldier, but this time as explanation and apology. His manner was so matter-of-fact and the coughing had been so appalling that I knew it was true. He walked out into the lot and climbed awkwardly into the Lamborghini. The car seemed to be justified. It was a last present to himself.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 2:50 pm