TheGoodMuse Explains: How 2 Sell a Car on Fire

(And get over Kelley Blue Book) I’m not a big car person. Just don’t care. Wish I didn’t have to drive one. A car is the last thing I ever want to think about.

That being said, I should never be allowed to write anything about a car. However, I did manage to sell one, on fire, for over Kelly Blue Book. So maybe I deserve a page or two?

Regardless of the fire, the fact that I was able to sell this particular P.O.S. for over Blue Book is amazing. I had driven the thing (for to call it a car was laughable) into the ground. Among the most endearing features my 12 year old black Honda CRV were: a broken interior light from a run in with a surfboard, a missing back mud flap that fell off in the Mojave desert, coffee and soda stains that actually gave the seats their color, and a shaking/gasping/coughing transmission.

For those not in the know – in 2000 the Honda engineers, while designing transmissions, wandered into a field of red poppies and fell asleep.

The CRV was in bad shape, but I loved that worry free car. Like a really heinous date no one was ever going to try and steal it. If it wasn’t for fear of damage to my person I would have left the keys on the roof every night so I wouldn’t risk losing them in the apartment.

When the CRV finally reached the point where sale was the only humane option I reluctantly slid behind the wheel to drive the car to Auto Sales R Us*.

I was a mile from the dealer when I noticed smoke during a pause in the song I was singing to. Quickly, pulling over I debated what to do. Mmmmm… Call my brother. He loves cars.

Brother: What did you do?

Me: Hi, to you too.

Brother: What’s wrong?

Me: Why does something have to be wrong?

Brother: It’s the middle of the day and you’re wining.

Me: The cars on fire.

Brother: I knew it. How could it not be.

Me: Come on.

Brother: What color’s the smoke?

Me: White.

Brother: Where’s it coming from?

Me: Probably the engine.

Brother: Pop the damn hood!

Me: I can’t it’s stuck.

Brother: Well, that’s not good. What does the smoke smell like?

Me: CREED Jardin D’Amalfi. What do you think it smells like?

Brother: Fine. Is it a lot?

Me: No.

Brother: How far are you from your location?

Me: Less than a mile. (pause) Downhill.

Brother: I’m willing to risk it. Coast. Use your emergency flashers.

Me: Thanks for your expertise Brain Storm.

Brother: Stop calling me during the day. It’s weird. (Click)

10 minutes later I rolled into Auto Sales R Us’ and parked within view of the sales office. Smoke was now rolling from under the hood. Great. To the sales office…

But now I was loose. I honestly had nothing to lose unless they charged me for parking it on their property. $10 would probably be a fair price.

Receptionist: Can I help you?

Me: I need to sell a car.

Receptionist: Is the car here.

Me: Yes.

Receptionist: Is it in the lot?

Me: Yup.

Reception: Okay which one is it (tries to look around me).

Me: I don’t want to say it’s the one on fire behind me. But it’s the one on fire behind me.

She rolled her eyes and picked up the phone like this happens at least twice a day.

Receptionist: Can I get an appraiser to the front desk?

After evaluating and appraising the car the inspector asked me if he could talk me through some salient point before giving me a price.


Inspector: The car has well over 100,000 miles.

Me: Yup.

Inspector: And it’s over ten years old.

Me: Yup.

He pops the hood.

Inspector: If you look through the smoke here, by the way it was on fire, you see a crack in the engine.

Me: Caught that.

Inspector: I mean you’re really not going to get a better price than we’re going to pay you. Anywhere. I mean I would take whatever the salesman offers you.

Cue chipper salesman who slips up behind me - waiting for his moment.

Me: I completely agree. I mean the only other thing I could do was scrap it and of course I know the price for that.

Inspector and salesman look at each other.

Me: Yeah, big money.

They cracked up, then offered me over scrap and over Kelley Blue Book. I think the moral of the story is – always operate like you have nothing to lose and know how much it is to scrap a car.

It’s a shame my little car had to go in such a manner, but she did leave me with a great tale, and that just proves how well she knew me.

*Named changed because blah blah blah