It's not about the house.

Friday, January 15, 2010

More or Less Bunk, Part II: Among the Thorns

Continued from previous post.

Here’s how Johnny and I usually find our next car:

“Hello, George? We’re ready for our next car.”

Actually, that’s not entirely the truth. Because George is our mechanic as well as one of our best friends, he usually knows we need a new car before we do. So the truth is, this is how Johnny and I usually find our next car:

“Hello, Johnny? I’ve lined up your next car.”

The last time that happened, we got Francine. A cherry-sweet, wine-red, 1990 (this was in 2003) Cadillac Sedan DeVille, with a V-8, 4.5 liter engine. She was mint in every way except a little bit of tearing in her wine-leather interior, and a whole lot of nothing in the brakes. We got her for $300, George taught her how to stop for another three or so, and we were off.

Chuck (TFT) came from George as well, but in a different manner. This time, while I was still happily tooling around in Francine, Johnny arranged without my knowledge to purchase George’s own old minivan for $600. I was annoyed, to say the least. Not because of the money – although in retrospect I can’t believe he cost the same as Dear Francine – and not because it was a stupid minivan (George has twins; we don’t). Not even because he’d done it behind my back – a boy does, after all, like to pretend he has some say in things once in a while – but because we didn’t need two cars with just (ahem) a single driver. Johnny countered this by swearing he would get behind the wheel.

And he did, too.

Came a day not too long after, see, when Francine needed repairs that would cost more than she was worth, even with George doing them and getting parts at cost. He gently advised us to put her down, but he agreed to go ahead and perform heroic measures because he knew I loved her so. He had her for more than a week, spending precious after-work hours tending to her wounds with Johnny as his hand-me-that-wrench assistant. It was touch and go there for a while. But he has magic hands, does our friend George, and with his patience and dedication she pulled through. At long last one evening he stepped back, declared her cured, and – with characteristic, fanfare-less humility – ducked into the head to wash her innards off his hands. At which point Johnny mustered his courage, took the initiative ... and drove poor old Francine right off the lift into the wall of the garage.

Good night, Francine. Hello, Fucking Truck.

(Oh, man, you should hear George tell the story. He was actually speechless when he brought them home, but with a twelve-pack of Heineken I greased him up: “There I was,” he says, “I’d already washed the grease off and was taking a piss, so I had my dick in my hands when I heard this horrible kruuunncchh from the garage. I turned around when I heard it and pissed all over the floor! I said to myself ‘Nah. He didn’t.’ But then I thought: 'This is John we're talking about' [George has never said ‘Johnny’ in his life], so I knew he did. Just knew it. I opened the bathroom door to check he was all right, and he was. Just sitting in the driver's seat, looking stunned. I said ‘You ignorant motherfucker,’ closed the door, and left him there. Went back in to finish pissing -- in the toilet this time -- and to wash my nasty hands. Took my time about it, too. Ignorant motherfucker...”

We paid him anyway, of course. He didn’t want to take it, I insisted. And Johnny was so embarrassed about the whole thing that this is the first time I’ve ever told that tale to anyone, except for maybe I told Dr. One Friend.)

But this go-round, I didn’t want to do that. I mean, don’t get me wrong: I would love to drive the Fucking Truck into the side of a garage – I’d just like to get some say in the backup plan.

But it was unfortunate timing, coming in the middle of the freak snow-season we had last fall and everything. George works for a city garage, see, so he’s on the clock more or less 24 hours a day when the snow falls – and since nobody expects it to start falling in October, their plow-and-salt machines weren’t even ready for the season, so they had to work 48 hours a day to get them there. He knew the Fucking Truck was dead, he’d been fixing it every two weeks or so all summer, but he also knew that we were poor and so he thought we weren’t looking. When we called him to announce we were, he said he didn’t happen to know of any Francine-y types lying around, and until the weather cleared he wouldn’t have time to so much as make a phone call on our behalf.

But I couldn’t wait. Without getting into myriad maudlin details again, I was back and forth to Worcester lots those days, several times a week by then and rising. And every single time I did it in the Fucking Truck, it gave me agita. I got to the point where I was only begging Chuck (TFT) to get me there, and gave him carte blanche to break down on the way home. But bless his heart, except for that one time when the muffler fell off, he just kept right on (barely) hanging in.

Until, like some kind of miracle – just as I’d taken to skimming the windshields of every used-car lot I drove by, looking for something that read “Not safe in the rain! Radio broken! Air bubble in the gas tank! Leaks everything! $600!” – the magic phone call came.

And not from George...

To be continued. But in the meantime, why not tell your friends to go read (and, if they should feel so moved, comment about) the silly story I wrote about a (not) candy dragon? Or read it and bid on the dragon here? Only four days left until it's gone! The dragon, that is. Not the story. The story will go on and on and on and on and on -- not altogether unlike this one!


Anonymous said...

Damn. See, if I bought a car, I'd write "I Bought a New Car". THis way is much more exciting :)

DonnaStaf said...

I almost peed myself when I read "Johnny drove the car off the lift and into the wall of the garage." EGE, ya gotta just laugh...