So I had this pickup truck. I bought it brand new, kept it for ten years, and put nearly 350,000 miles on it. I really loved that truck but as it aged it began to do weird stuff. For example, I once pulled up to a stop sign and the radio, dash, and dome light went out, and then after a few days I stopped at another sign and they came back on. Later, on a cold Missouri night, the heater went out and the power window wouldn’t go up and I had to drive home with my head hanging out of the window so my breath wouldn’t freeze on the windshield. I clearly remember that it was 11-degrees outside and that it took 37 minutes for my face to thaw out.
Anyway, I decided that I was tired of the problems and traded the Ford in for a Jeep Cherokee. I really liked the Jeep and felt that I had made a good deal until I noticed that, on occasion, some sort of fluid leaked out of the back of it—near the gas tank—and ran down over the tire.
Concerned, I took it to my mechanic friend who looked it over and couldn’t find anything wrong. It didn’t seem to be leaking from anywhere, he said, and mentioned that if it happened again I should get under the car and mark the exact spot that it was coming from. He also said that I should smell the substance to determine if it was gas or something else.
So, a couple of days later it was back; that same leak coming from around the gas tank and running down the tire. Taking my friend's advice I approached the jeep, got down on my back, slid under it and…nothing. There wasn’t any fluid up there that I could see and I looked everywhere.
Next I slid back out, wiped my hand across the wetness on the tire, brought it up to my nose, and smelled it. It had a familiar scent but I couldn’t quite place it. Perhaps a little more saturation would help, I thought, so I wiped my hand across the tire again, brought it to my nose, and…looked across to see a neighborhood dog lifting his leg on my neighbor's tire.
And from across the street, laughter.
Then the sound of a door closing...
...and it was just me…
...with a handful of dog pee.