It’s been more than a decade since the humor column, “Andrew Klees and the Limo” first appeared in the Kaw Valley Senior Monthly. In the story, a master auto mechanic named Andrew Klees rescued a wrecked stretch limousine that was going to be junked. On his farm near Letongaloosa, Andrew Klees lovingly restored the limo and drove it all around the county.
One day a couple of men came to the barn where Andrew Klees was polishing the limo. The two were wearing long black cowboy dusters over their suits. They were members of an organized crime syndicate that had sold the wrecked limo. The men were looking for something they thought was hidden in the car.
The two thugs tried to drive off with the limo but it wouldn’t start. They forced Andrew to press the starter. The engine started. The two made Andrew drive while they searched for the object.
After a while there was silence in the back seat. Andrew looked in the rearview mirror and saw the two men apparently asleep. Amazed, he stopped the car and opened the back door. He smelled ether.
“I put them to sleep,” said a melodic female voice that came from somewhere inside the dashboard. “Now please drive to the police station.”
Police found that the men were wanted in 10 states for murder and armed robbery. Andrew got a reward for capturing the two hoodlums.
For decades after that Andrew drove alone all over the county in his shiny stretch limousine. On warm sunny days folks in the countryside said they heard a woman’s voice singing whenever the limo drove by.
Meantime, lawyers for the syndicate sued to get the limo back from Andrew Klees. The case worked its way through the legal system. It took decades with appeal after appeal. Andrew was not involved in the proceedings. Others took up the cause. Some courts found in favor of the Syndicate, others found that the ownership of the limo was not in question.
Sam and Joe, the two hoods, having served their sentences, were released from prison. The case finally reached the Supreme Court on a legal technicality: the Court was asked to decide whether the car’s melodious voice was an artifact of the machinery or an unexplainable phenomenon. If it the voice were an artifact, the Syndicate would own the limo. If the limo’s voice were an unexplainable phenomenon then Andrew would retain ownership.
The Supreme Court ordered that the Limo be transported to Washington D.C., and appointed a panel of three justices to listen to the voice and decide whether it was artifact or unexplainable phenomenon.
The media got wind of the experiment and turned out in force at a parking lot where the test was to be carried out. Security forces kept the press and curious public at a distance while the justices climbed into the back seat and closed the doors.
“Press the starter,” said the senior justice
The junior-most justice pressed the starter.
Nothing happened. There was no sound, and the motor didn’t turn over.
“Press it again,”
Nothing.“!@#$%^&*(,” said the senior justice, who, when not on the bench tended to express himself colorfully.
“Don’t swear. It’s wicked” said a woman’s voice from the limo’s dashboard.
The senior justice’s face, which was usually florid, turned ashen. He tried to open the door. It wouldn’t budge. His security detail tried to open the door from the outside. It wouldn’t budge.
“Give me back to my owner,” said the voice from the dashboard.
“All right. All right!” shouted the senior justice. “Let us out of here.” ‘
The door opened.
“The voice is an unexplainable phenomenon,” shouted the senior justice. “Give this vehicle back to its owner immediately.”
Then he shouted: “Call the F.B.I! I want those syndicate criminals arrested and prosecuted.”
So, once again on sunny afternoons folks see that shiny stretch limousine driving along their country roads. But nowadays there’s no question in their minds where the singing is coming from.
Dr. Larry Day is a retired KU J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales from the Fourth Dementia is available from Lulu.com.