You take your old car to the oil-change place. They tell you oil is streaming from a hole in the oil pan. They recommend a repair shop two blocks away. You wonder if it's owned by their brother-in-law who needs a new boat.
The dealership to which you have the car towed calls and says a new engine is $3,000-$5,000; the current value of your vehicle is $50.
Three days later, you're driving a new car. New to you, that is. It could have been worse-- the car you located had 13,000 miles, great price, great condition. They also guaranteed to remove the Cigarette Smell to your satisfaction.
When you pick up the car, you can no longer see the air inside and the Smell is down to a whisper. You drive 200 miles blasting outside air through the cabin.
The next morning the Smell lurks and the big-city dealership is hours away. You hang a tree-shaped car deodorizer labeled New Car Scent from the rear-view mirror, open four boxes of baking soda, mist the seats and carpet with Febreeze, then blast outside air as you drive about your business.
When you next open the car, the Smell is overlaid by an aroma like rotting mango crossed with hot plastic. You remove the New Car Scent tree.
New Car Scent-the Smell permeates the garage. You leave the garage door open when you go to spend $50 at the auto parts store. When you get home, you change the car's air conditioning filter. You squirt Auto-Febreeze until your finger cramps, douse the carpets with baking soda followed by vacuuming, put new soda cartons in side pockets, and add pronged odor-eater deodorizers to all air vents. You roll down the car windows so that the seats can dry of Febreeze.
You've banished New Car Scent but the Smell rises every time you get in the car. You are not personally religious but you think perhaps the car is demon-Smell possessed. You persuade a friend to "borrow" a bottle of holy water. You hope you won't have to spray so much that you create a Mold problem, which might be worse than the Smell.
And then you ask your friends: Any other ideas?
Copyright 2009-2010 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.