“What is it again?”

   He dropped the buckets and shook blood back into his hands. “A ZL1. The fastest car America ever built."

  “What's the engine?”

   “427. All aluminum.”

   I laughed. “All aluminum. Does it fly around and shoot laser beams?”

   He looked at me, annoyed, and I wondered what the hell the joke was. How could a Corvette be faster than a Hemi Superbird, for instance. Or a big block Cobra?

    “How many are there?” I said. Since I’d been at the shop, we’d worked on a convertible ‘Cuda, one of two hundred and fifteen, and a ’67 Z/28, one of seventy three.

   “Two,” he said, and I realized he thought I meant how many buckets did he have left to bring out.

   “How many ZL1s, I mean.”

   “I just told you,” he said. “Two.”

   “This car is one of two?”

   “Careful you don’t ding the paint.”    

                                                     -From The Spark and the Drive

   It was the remnants of a Waterbury oddity called HOLY LAND, USA. I’d read that in the sixties a hundred thousand people every year made the pilgrimage here, some from overseas. Its name had even issued from the Pope’s holy mouth, I forget why, but now it was just a bizarre Road Warrior vision of the Bible. Crosses were covered with spray-paint, nearly every statue decapitated. The Arc of the Covenant lay half charred and upside-down under the archway for Eden.

   She led me along a path that must’ve been a lawn at one time, though what grew now grew out of magazine pages, cigarette packs, McDonald’s wrappers, broken glass, plastic bags. The weeds looked mutated they were so big, and there were briar bushes and poison ivy and tamarack trees that didn’t know where they were, flying a ripped flannel shirt like a flag, the leaves yellowing underneath, other limbs broken by a tire, a rusted tricycle. And the crawling and flitting bugs didn’t know where they were either, hovering down to a rose petal that was really a torn Doritos bag.

   There was a stucco table with stucco benches in a clearing where gravel and concrete kept the plant life down. You could imagine a family having lunch here long ago, but now half the table had been broken off, its rusted chicken-wire skeleton showing underneath. When I lifted a damp newspaper off the bench on my side, two firey centipedes came to life and I knocked them away.

                                                      -From The Spark and the Drive

1969 ZL1 Corvette

Holy Land, USA

Holy Land was listed as #20 out of the 38 Most Haunting Abandoned Places On Earth. Click here to see the article.