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Here Kitty Kitty - A Guest Post by Anna O'Keefe

Today's guest post is Anna O'Keefe

You can follow her on Twitter here: @ReneeHawk1956

"The Trouble With Mountain Faeries" is a collection of her words in short story format that has been published in an anthology called "Intersections" by the Frederick Writers Salon and can be purchased through Amazon.

She also writes blog posts for the online publication, Luna Station. A female centric sifi, fantasy, alternative worlds magazine.

Her current WIP is a novel about a town where no one dies they just disappear.

From the author:
"I am a girl who loves words. I love reading them and I love writing them. I truly get excited when I string a bunch of words together that make sense enough to tell a story."

Here Kitty Kitty
One woman's life long love of the classic 1972 XK-E Jaguar
A Guest Post by Anna O'Keefe

I paused to look through the floor to ceiling glass wall, at the entrance to the dealership. Daring a glance back at the turntable that slowly revolved with the most incredible thing I had ever seen. So red and shiny it nearly took my breath away. With that deep black convertible top made this car perfect and I shivered to be so close. Sleek, sophisticated, and way beyond me in every aspect. The 1972 XK-E Jaguar had captured my heart. I would have said my Kitty was sexy if I had known what sexy was at the time. I had talked about nothing else for months.

My friends had long since stopped trying to  understand this obsession. Sure, being obsessed about boys, clothes, and how much we weighed but being over the edge about a car was just crazy. I disregarded their protests. Even having no money and not knowing how to drive were just small matters and easily brushed aside. More than getting my ears pierced, more than a push up bra,
more than red nail polish, even more being allowed out past 10 pm. I simply longed for the
XK-E, my Kitty.

I sighed. Here I was barely 16 and extremely naive even in a world without cell phones and internet and head over heels in love. I was just moments away from realizing my deepest
desire. I opened the double doors and strolled in, book bag hiked on my shoulder, full of all the
courage I didn't think I possessed.

Stopping at the first occupied desk and in my practiced adult voice, I pointed, “I want to speak to someone about that XK-E.”

The man at the desk looked up from his racing form and peered over the top rim of his eye glasses. An expression wavering between irritation and boredom.


“That XK-E, the red one, right there. That turns around all the time. That Jag there. The
convertible” I pointed because I was certain this guy had no idea he was sitting in a Jag
dealership. Not to be deterred, I was already in the door. There would be no turning back.
His response was to huff in a slow annoying way adults do when a kid is bugging them for no
apparent reason. I waited for what seemed like an hour for him to catch up. I thought perhaps I
would try again, this time using his name or at least what I thought was his name. Johnny
Cummings was on a nameplate at the front of the desk.

“Mr Cummings,” I started. After all my parents raised me to be polite and respectful to my elders. I got no further as Johnny C cut in.

“Where did you come from?” His face seemed pinched, like he was in pain. Not taking his finger off the horse in the 4th race or putting down the pencil he had been taking notes with.

“Off the bus.” Now long out of sight I pointed in the direction the big yellow school bus had gone. Another deep huff accompanied by a roll of the eyes. Both of which would have gotten me sent to my room. I began to feel sorry for Mr. Cunnings, who wasn’t very bright . The request was straightforward. I know, I had practiced it hundreds of times in the mirror. He can’t be a sales person. Wouldn't The Jaguar Cars Limited , or JCL as I was now calling the company, import all their salesman from England ? How could an American know how to sell such magnificence?

How could THIS American sell any cars? ‘Soldier on!’ my dad would have said. And so I did. Looking back at me was no Englishman. Not that I knew what an Englishman was supposed to look like. I had seen a few in movies. Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn and Julie Andrews were English I knew. The Beatles were English, but they were from Liverpool and they did not sound like the same kind of English as Cary Grant. This man in front of me just looked like a normal looking old guy, maybe pushing 30, but I was no judge of adult age. From the pictures on his desk maybe just a normal dad too. Yuck just not cool. No way, no how was he a salesman for JCL that I was certain.

“You want to talk to someone about the XK-E?”

“Yes Sir, its my birthday.”

“Good for you. What? You writing a book report or something?”

“No, sir. I want to know what it cost to buy one. That one. I have some money saved.”

I dared a peak towards the turntable. Oh, just being that close made my heart skip. My palms a bit sweaty. My newly minted lady parts felt dewey and quivered just a little bit. I was not sure exactly what all these feelings meant, but I knew I liked the way the XK-E made me feel. This was my rock star, football captain, bad boy rolled into one. At that very moment the sun broke through the heavy gray clouds and bright rays cascaded down, dancing all around it. Beams bounced off the deep red finish, glinted on the black cloth top. I was certain I heard angels singing. So deeply in love, and all that stood between me and realizing my affections was this man, who didn't seem to understand my simple request. He most certainly did not belong in a car dealership. Well certainly not in THIS dealership.

“Hah. Just so I understand, you want to talk to someone about buying an XK-E? Is that right?”

“Yes, sir. That one on the turntable. I would like to sit in it, please. I’ve been saving my money.”

“Have you now?” Johnny C smiled from the corner of his mouth. I didn’t think it was a very pleasant smile. “Well you’re in luck, little lady. Our Sales Manager, Marty, is in his office and I am sure he’d like to help you himself.” He picked up the phone receiver on the desk and
punched a couple of keys.

“You need to come out here. You’re not going to believe what I have here for you. Someone interested in buying the XK-E we have on display.” He paused. “Nope, I understand it’s going to be a cash transaction.” He looked up at me and I nodded my agreement. Johnny C went back to the racing form but kept one eye on me, allowing glances at an office door in the middle of the showroom. Sooo, glad I was not dealing with him. He gave me a creepy feeling.

I took the time to look over at my beloved once again. Over the months since I first laid eyes on this Jag from the school bus window. I had gone to the library and squirreled away copies of “Motor Week” and “Car and Driver” magazines under my sweater. GQ magazine had pages completely ripped out before being returned to the circulation desk.

Taped pictures of the XK-E were on my ceiling over my bed. Some of the pictures where from James Bond movies and I decided if I ever met Sean Connery I would ask him to teach me
how to drive a Jag. He seemed to know his way around cars pretty well.

The office door opened and out walked a dashing man. He was well dressed in a suit that fitted him perfectly. And his wavy jet black hair was groomed and matched a mustache that was full but not bushy. He had chocolate brown eyes that twinkle and the loveliest shade of olive skin.

Before he even made his way to Johnny C’s desk I got a faint whiff of something woody, spicy, manly. For a brief moment my young lady parts got confused. I had no idea why this grown man affected me so. I had to reminded myself and my lady parts as firmly as I could what we were at the dealership to do. Whatever was going on when I looked at this sales manager was not it. I blew my bangs out of my face and refocused on my life’s purpose.

Marty stopped at the desk and looked a bit puzzled. Those brown eyes took me all in and smiled warmly. Not removing his gaze from me, he asked, “Johnny, where is the customer
interested in the XK-E?”

Johnny C looked up with a broad smile on his face. “You’re looking at her. Says she’s been saving her money. Wants to buy one.” yellow #2 pointing towards the turntable.

“That one.” I corrected. Just incase Marty was thinking any car would do.

“Oh” was all Marty said for a minute, deciding his next statement.

“What the hell, it’s been slow today”

He stuck out his hand for me to shake, as the salesman in him popped out. I had never shaken an adult hand before, and wasn’t sure what to do, but Marty was a pro.

“My name is Marty and your name is?”

I must have blurted out Anna but I don't remember. I just stared at his offered hand. With ease he diverted the shake into a pat on the arm.

“Let's go take a look at your car, Anna, shall we?” He turned and walked towards the turntable.

I looked over at Johnny C whose eyes were huge. Marty’s long stride had him across the floor before I even got my legs to move. He turned and beamed at me.

“Come on! We have a lot to go over if you’re going to buy one of my Jags.”

We spent nearly the next two hours chatting. After admiring my XK-E on the turntable, we moved on taking a look at the other Jag in the showroom the XJ6. I was impressed with its
wood dashboard and leather seats. Marty ran through all of the options of the XJ6 but I wasn't
paying much attention. It looked like an old person's car to my young inexperienced self. No
matter, my ears were buzzing for something shiny and red. When we stepped outside to a
silver XK-E my education really started. The silver looked gray to me and was minus the
adorable rag top. I think I pouted just a little bit because Marty was quick to assure me those
were the only differences from my cherished red number.

Marty seemed surprised at my knowledge of the XK-E. Not that I knew what any of the stats meant, but I knew them just the same. He popped the hood and gave me a view of the engine and all the shiny new parts homed under that long, lean bonnet. The engine was very
impressive, even for my untrained eye.

“The engine is a 5.3 litre, V12 with 253 PS. Lots of power!” I rattled off. “ the torque is 39.8 kg m@3500 rpm.” Eager to impress the sales manager.

Next I sat in the driver’s seat of the Silver model and closed my eyes for a moment and
breathed it all in. This version was not nearly as flashy as my kitty, but mine couldn't come off
the turntable so this would have to do. Marty said this was the car he drove for his personal use
and the inside smelled like him. Which was just okay for me and my lady parts. Moving the seat
all the way up, Marty showed me how to change gears. Even so, I still had to sit on the edge to
depress the clutch. All the while I kept up my litany of memorized facts from the car magazines.

“I know it can do 0-60 in less than 7 seconds.”

“You don't know the half of it, Anna. You have to hear what that engine does getting to 60 MPH. It really does purr.”

“Tops out at 150 MPH, right?” I looked at my instructor for assurance.

“It does and I see you’ve done your research. I like a well informed consumer.”

Of course I beamed. I mean what girl wouldn't?

Marty stared at me, eyebrow raised.

“Tell me, Anna you taking shop? Auto mechanics?”

“Nope. those are for the boys.” I crinkle my nose at the notion, even though I thought power tools were very cool.

“Pity, you would be a natural at it.”

With me safely back in the passenger seat, Marty started the silver Jag in a casual manner that left no doubt in my young mind the he knew how to drive this car. I sat transfixed feeling the power of that engine rumble under the seat. It DID purr. It was a day of so many new and unexpected feelings. Sitting in the silver Jag as it idled was no exception. I felt it purr through my whole body. A feeling I have tried in earnest to reproduce in my adult life. Failing

“Let's go for a spin” Slapping me on my thigh.

Nodding my head vigorously,I hoped it wouldn't fall off I was unable to squeak even a syllable.

“Can't let you drive, since you don't have your license yet.” Marty smiled and winked at me. As we pulled out of the lot, Johnny C was standing at one of the large windows,staring at us, racing form still in his hand, glasses perched on the crown of his head with his mouth hanging open. For sure someone needed to get him some help.

We drove to a nearby race track. Since the track was dark the deserted parking lot left long stretches of asphalt that Marty took full advantage of, putting the silver kitty through her paces. He sounded a bit like a TV commercial as he went through the gears and told me much more about this car then I could have ever learned from reading. The sound of his voice was very pleasant so I didn’t mind in the least. This was a car that needed to be experienced. In Marty’s most capable hands the car did exactly what he wanted it to. I had nothing to add to the conversation so lost in the experience. I watched his hands on the steering wheel and the gear shifter and was taken into another universe.

At some point during the driving demo Marty turned slightly towards me, “Any boyfriends?”

So taken with Marty’s command and ease with the XK-E, it took me a moment to register the question.

“Boyfriends, Anna. Do you have any?”

“Nope. Boys are too messy I think.”

“I’m thinking your opinion of boys will change at some point.”

“Can't imagine that. My friends are all crazy about boys. That’s all they talk about. I don't get it.”

“And of course you talk about Jags all the time and they don't get you?”

I made a face, not to him, just because I wasn’t sure what he was trying to say.

Marty chuckled softly, not for the first time that day, as if there were some secret joke know only to him. It was a pleasant sound and I enjoyed hearing the melody of it.

“I’ve been babysitting, cleaning houses, mowing lawns, a bunch of stuff to save money” Since I had opened the door of the subject of money, Marty, ever the salesman, jumped in.

“How much have you saved?”


That amount of money amazed me and I had kept it a well hidden secret and refused to use any of it for anything else. I was proud I had so much to put down on the Jag but now worried it would not be enough. Truthfully I had already knew it wasn't enough but needed to believe it might be just to get myself in the showroom door. I had seen the base price in Motor Trend. It was a bunch of zeros behind a pretty large number. I couldn't imagine ever having that kind of money. For a short time I had wondered if I could write a letter to Happy and Nelson Rockefeller. They had appeared on Life Magazine and seemed to have a lot of money. Would they be willing to help me with my request? I decided it would not be very polite to beg for money from people I did not even know. But still, just in case I kept the cover photo from the magazine with my extra jag pictures in my underwear drawer.

“Hum, well that certainly is a lot of money, but you’ll need a bit more than that - and a job to buy the XK-E.”

He looked disappointed for me. We were making our way back to the showroom, but I couldn’t think of anything in my short little life that had compared to this time I spent with Marty and this Jag. Not at 16 and not now. It was the best birthday ever, even if my dream of buying that sweet ride had been dashed. Somehow, owning one was not as important in that moment.

“That's okay. I was thinking it wasn’t enough”

I closed my eyes for the rest of the ride giving myself up to the feeling of a high performance car humming all around and through me.

Back in his office we talked options and money, and as I gathered up my brochures with prices Marty had scribbled on the front, with his stapled business card in the corner. I was so happy I thought I would burst.

Marty held the glass door open, and as I passed by him he stopped me and kissed me on the forehead. “Happy Birthday, Anna. Come back and see me when you turn 18.”

“Okay, Marty. Maybe next time I’ll drive you around.”

He laughed again and said it would be his pleasure.

For all the places my life has taken me, and all the wonderful people I’ve met I will always remember how kind Marty was to that 16-year old me that day and how he spoke to me, not like a kid he was merely suffering through, but as an adult. He seemed to enjoy our time together as much as I did.

I was 20 when I found Marty again. And we spent some very fun afternoons together.
Surprisingly, we never talked about Jags or any cars for that matter. Come to think of it, we
hardly talked at all. As we said our goodbyes one afternoon Marty whispered in my ear, “I knew
you would change your mind about boys.” We both had a nice laugh over that shared memory.
Marty and the XK-E are encased in my heart and protected in my memories. The way he
owned that car still impresses me, but life moves on and as I followed the path life laid down
before me I kept the passion and desire for my lovely Jag in the back of my mind.

I did learn to drive a stick. I had been married, divorced and driving yet another of a lifelong line of very dependable cars. The latest one decided to give it up after only 200,000 miles. My friend Mary helped me hunt for my next very affordable and dependable car. It turned out to be a Geo Tracker: adorable little car. Kelly Green with 4 wheel drive and a 6-speed. Good price. But a manual transmission. I’d learned to drive years before but was clueless about shifting gears. What ever I learned from Marty had long since slipped into soft and loving memories. So far away from that hopeful 16-year old girl with her dreams of being one with the Kitty of her dreams.
Some people come into our lives with one purpose. Bruce was one of those people. A very sweet man with a ton of baggage, and for a brief time we had a lot of fun together. His purpose was to teach me how to handle a clutch. Not that either of us knew that at the time. Mary drove the car to my apartment and between she and Bruce, my education in smooth shifting gears without stalling happened over an intense weekend.

With Bruce there was an added advantage. We could practice shifting gears at night. I would lay on the left side of the bed and with Bruce on the right he would lend the use of his ‘gear stick’ to practice. We spent many a night starting in neutral and going through the gears. I would press the imaginary clutch and feather the break and gas pedals, shifting through the gears until I got up to the cruising speed. Bruce would supply sound effects: grinding gears, popping the clutch, making the engine whine when I did not shift fast enough. I would spin out, which would spin us into fits of laughter. In turn we would find other enjoyable things to take up the rest of the night.

There was only one, hard fast rule. I could shift into whatever gear I wanted, but I was never allowed to go into reverse. Concerned for the welfare of his equipment if I was too robust in my learning. I don't think these nighttime lessons really advanced my technique at all but we had tons of fun playing. He wasn't Mr. Connery, but that didn’t seem to matter in the least.

I smoothly shifted that little Geo for almost 300,000 miles. Well into my early 40’s. Well into the next marriage. I loved using a manual transmission. The power of knowing the car and how it responded to my commands even for a little Tracker. I had mastered the clutch and owned the road. I loved that little car.

Even so, the thought of the XK-E was never far from my heart. On summer afternoons, with the sun high in the sky I would choose a winding country road and with no other thought other than to feel the power of the car around and inside of me, I would glide my little Tracker down the many turns. Dappled sunlight would filter through the trees that stood on both sides of the road, tattooing my face with soft flashes of light cascading through the thick leaves from the
thousands of branches that hung overhead.

With Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D major in the tape deck, l let the music rush over me. It was like being inside the concerto. I adjusted my speed to match the tempo of the violin. For the length of that road I was driving my XK-E. The road, the music, the dappled light all became one with me and my Kitty. It was greatly satisfying and a way to enjoy my own secret passion.

I lost my little Geo one afternoon when a teenage boy driving way too fast, convinced of his own invincibility,T-boned me. I ended up with nerve damage in my left leg which eliminated my ability to use the clutch correctly. I sustained many injuries from that accident, but I mourned the loss of manually shifting the most.. I wondered if that meant I would never know the yummy,
delicious delight of driving the XK-E? Of course, my XK-E was long out of production by then.
To this day, in darker moments of my life I could shake myself out of it by closing my eyes and
taking myself back to that afternoon with Marty. I had not realized until that moment that I
always carried a little hope inside of me that one day, someday I would know the joy of driving a

Few men in my life have completely understood my passion for Jaguars. When I married the first time, my husband came along with a couple of kids. We needed another car. We divided the search he went off to dealerships on one side of town to gather brochures and I on the other. He came home with half a dozen colorful pamphlets of dependable station wagons of all color, makes and accessories. I came home with only one brochure, having visited the same
dealership where I had admired my Jag 10 years earlier. I mean you can't blame a girl for
trying, right? The future ex-husband yelled, “I am not paying more for a damn car then my
parents paid for their house!” Well, of course nothing was the same after that.

After the divorce Jake came along. The new man in my life had gotten his hands on an iconic Jaguar hood ornament. Smiling like he was going to get lucky, he held his hands out and
offered up the ornament like he was offering Excalibur to King Arthur. I didn't touch it. I stood
there looking down at his extended hands, total confusion on my face. Without saying a word, I
stepped over to the window and peered out through the parted curtains. I looked back at him a
question in my eyes. “What are you looking for?” he asked, his smile waning a bit.

“The rest of the car.”

Who is to say if either of these exchanges in my romantic life had anything to do with both the marriages and the relationships not lasting long after these interactions, but I have wondered over the years if I could ever have a meaningful relationship with any man who didn’t
understand my deeply profound longing and appreciation for the XK-E.

My desires for this car was not limited to the front seat either. I often allowed my fantasies to take me into the back seat for some window foggy shenanigans with whatever boy I fancied at the time. After all I am a girl who believes in getting the most out of every opportunity in life.
Why should this car be any different?

I was recently forwarded the latest Jaguar USA promo photo of Graham McTavish, the well buffed, blue eyed, bearded and incredible sexy Scottish actor. He is leaning against a new F series Jag. Certainly not my classic Kitty, but a car with merit all the same. The one in the photo was a lovely sparkling shade of blue. Such eye candy needs to be appreciated. As a spokesperson for Jaguar USA, Graham has had many such photos of him standing casually against the bumper of a number of F series models. In each new image Graham appears as comfortable with the power of a Jag as Marty had years before. I no longer steal magazines from the Library or tape photos on my Kitty to the ceiling of my bedroom, but if I did these with Graham in front of the Jag F Type would be contenders. There is something quite appealing about these ads.

... So says my dewy lady parts.

I do have one small request for both Jaguar USA And Graham: Could the next promo Jag be a F-type SVR in Red? I mean if it makes no difference to you guys? And a picture of Graham far off to the right would be okay too. No offense, Graham but the F-type SVR really needs no distractions. And my not so new lady parts keep getting the confused when you are in the picture.

Over the years I have had Jaguar logo hats and T-shirts, luggage tags, license plate holders, jackets, earrings, stuff animal, key bobbs, die-cast miniatures and countless other items I can’t even remember now. Even a pair of cufflinks once although I have no earthly idea why, or even where they came from. I have none of that now.

After a lifetime of love for the classic XK-E, after all it has owned my heart like no one or
nothing else could, I find just the feeling I get when I see a Jag- at a stop light, overtaking me on
a highway, parked next to me in a parking lot- is enough. And I am happy with any type or
model Jag I see. It’s like seeing an old lover who still manages to look good after all these
years. The soft ,sweet memories make me smile and warms my heart. After all my desire for
this Kitty has seen me from adolescence into adulthood, through 2 marriages and countless
relationships, job changes, and good times as well as rough. I would still like to drive a Jag, and
inside my heart the hope and desires of a 16 year old still pumps.

I ponder all this while I am sitting at a very long traffic light. Across the intersect sits a brand new Jag XK Coupe. Temp tags still white on the bumper. I let out a sigh from behind the wheel of my latest very affordable and dependable car that just flipped over the 100,000 mile mark.

And as I sit there thinking about the XK-E, the check engine light cheerfully pops on. And I wonder if Jaguar has stickers? One would come in very handy, giving me something happy to

look at while I am waiting for that damn light to burn out.

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