The Dream Café

Steven Brust: “A masterful storyteller of contagious glee and self-deprecating badassery” —Skyler White

The Catmobile vs the Snowplows


The following happened back in 1991. I thought it lost forever until my friend D.W.James let me know that, in fact, he had saved it as it happened (then posted on the old bulletin board system GEnie).

So, without even fixing typos, here, as it unfolded at the time, is the saga of the Catmobile vs the Snowplows

Category 8, Topic 17
Message 483 Thu Dec 05, 1991

Bill, it was *great* doing tunes with you. More! More!

So, for those of you who like stories, a funny thing happened today. Or, actually, is happening now (pause to go look out the window), yes. Well, you see, when I got home from Silicon, I found about fifteen or twenty more inches of snow than there’d been when I left. The Catmobile (the ambulence pictured on the cover of ANOTHER WAY TO TRAVEL) was burried. Not only that, but it needed a jump-start (I left the headlights on last time I drove it). Not only *that* but it was parked on what we Minnesotans call a “Snow Emergency Route”– the first areas plowed during a snow emergency, and you’d bloody well better not leave your car there.

So, there’s the Catmobile, dead, burried, and in the wrong place, with a nice ticket sticking out of the snow mound. Not much I could do about it right away, but I figured I’d try to get some help and move the thing this weekend.

Too late. About 10:00 this evening, the city towing service arrived, dug her out enough to attach chains and stuff, and started pulling. The Catmobile didn’t want to go. They argued. The towtruck lost. I looked out the window about 11:00 and saw the poor man standing out there, scratching his head. I went out to talk to him, and found out that his truck had burned out. No engine, no power, nothing. I invited him in. He came in and used the phone. Seemed like a nice guy.

The second tow truck arrived about midnight.

The third tow truck arrived about 1:00.

They retreated in confusion about 1:30, leaving behind the first truck, which was still disabled–in front of my driveway. Now, you can’t go and block someone’s driveway, can you? ‘Course not. I called the police, and explained that their was a towtruck blocking my driveway. They came by about ten minutes ago (as I was starting to type this message) and looked at it. I don’t know what they’ll do. They’ll probably get my car eventually, but she sure hasn’t made it easy for the bastards.

Category 8, Topic 17
Message 484 Thu Dec 05, 1991

As of now (03:31 zulu) the 4th tow truck has come…and gone. Heh heh heh.

Category 8, Topic 17
Message 485 Thu Dec 05, 1991

03:55 and tow-trucks number 5, 6, and 7 are there. Number 1 is too, still being attached to the Catmobile. Truch number 6 is a big flatbed–they’re pulling out the heavy artillery now.

This is all fun, but I hope they don’t hurt the car, or I will be seriously bummed.

Category 8, Topic 17
Message 486 Thu Dec 05, 1991

04:03 Truck *NINE* showed up–another flatbed, and they’ve finally managed to get truck number 1 out of there. Now there are two flatbeds and a regular truck standing around out there. Presumably they’re finally going to take the Catmobile away, but I don’t see them actually doing anything yet.

Category 8, Topic 17
Message 487 Thu Dec 05, 1991

4:15 Truck *ten* just showed up. Another flatbed. The last regular tow-truck has split. People, I’m not making this up. Now they look serious about towing her. *Sigh*

Category 8, Topic 17
Message 488 Thu Dec 05, 1991

4:31 Yep. Number 10 finally got her. I’ll probably go in on Friday and bail her out.


Afterword added 2/12/2013: One thing I didn’t mention at the time, but clearly remember: As they were towing her away going north on Portland (which is a one-way street going south, incidentally), a bit of snow fell off the left front headlight. I swear to God, it looked at though she were winking at me.

I retrieved her the next day, and I’ll bet to this day those people have never seen anyone grinning as much when retrieving a towed-away car.

Another Way to Travel Cover


Author: skzb

I play the drum.


  1. You called the cops on the tow truck. Of course you did. *cackle*

  2. Jesus, over 20 years ago. I remember reading that as it happened.

  3. hee hee hee….I read it and could hear your voice in my head. Which means I wasn’t sure whether it was going to turn out to be a true story or a joke until I got to the end. 😉

  4. Good timing on this tale surfacing, sez the woman who’s been shoveling her way out of 26″ of snow for the past several days.

  5. skzb

    Geri: Actually, hearing about the storm is what made me think of it.

  6. Dear tow truck drivers: There must be another way to travel…

  7. Too bad this didn’t happen in the age of ubiquitous video.

  8. What can I say, I know a good story when I read one.

  9. Best thing I’ll read today. Guaranteed.

Leave a Reply