Skip to content

C200: How to Steal a Car

2011 April 8
by Brice Maryman

< Georgetown, Washington D.C; photo: paulaloe via Flickr >

The secret was to put the key in the accessory position so that the steering column turned freely. Then the little blue Honda was free to slip stealthily under the silent limbs of the pin oaks, a shadow moving into the night. And Mom never never did wake to shadows.

When you were half-a-block down the street, it was safe to crank the ignition. Turn on the lights, make note of the gas gauge. You’re on your way.

Drive the the six lane boulevards bounded by stripmalls to collect your friends, steer the volume higher on the stereo and turn toward the city.

1am: Georgetown is always first. Since Smash is closed, you wander around among the student housing, hoping for an invitation into an open door. More often than not, you just climb the Exorcist steps before turning onto Key Highway, swallowed by the city.

2am: The clubs are closing. Youthful yells and sloppy sex spill out on the street. Congressional aides hike their discoball skirts, and duck between dumpsters to relieve their bladders. At the time you couldn’t figure out why they didn’t go in the club; now, having been in a few, you know; the street was safer and cleaner. Smart girls; doubtless Democrats.

3am: The night is winding down; the voyeurs are heading home, taking it slow. Cops would ruin the night. Your arm, dangling out the window, is cooled by the exhaling Canal Road canopy. The double yellow line extends beyond the headlights and into the night.

4am: Why did you never learn? You always ruined the night with Denny’s. Refill the engine, not too much. Drive past your house, a bit up the hill. Line it up. Kill the headlights and put it in neutral. Let your eyes adjust, let out the brake, and drift on home.


Brice Maryman no longer steals cars. Honest. He is now gainfully employed as a landscape architect in Seattle and is the past board chair of Great City.