Well It happened. A dear friend just celebrated a monumental birthday and then gave up the ghost. Yep, my car is twenty-years-old and it marked the day by not starting. At first, I thought it was just being lazy. Hey, on my fortieth birthday I didn’t want to do anything either, but I spent the previous evening drinking heavily. So, I gave it a rest and tried again the next day. Nope, when I tried it, it started smoking. Hmmm and I would have thought vaping was more popular these days. Either way, I called the auto club and a big truck came and took my trusted friend away. Off to the mechanic where I found out it needed a belt and points. A belt? I never noticed its pants falling down, and after twenty years, I would have sworn it had earned enough points. But what do I know? I do know that after I found out how much points cost; I seriously needed a belt. The thing is, after I drank it, the problem still didn’t go away.
The real issue is; because my car is so old, everything it needs has to be special ordered. The belt would take a day or so, but the points would take four. This gave me time I wish I didn’t have. You see, when I get time, I do stupid things. Things that seem to be great ideas at first but end up costing me twice as much in the long run. In this case I went to the internet and found the points for my car, at a dealership, for half the price. They were trying to get rid of the old stuff. Well I called the mechanic, told him I could get the part faster, and was on my way.
The dealership in question was just over an hour away from my house. With adding the normal amount of construction along the way, my wife’s car made the trip in just under three hours.
Before I go on, I have to say something. In every city, I’ve spent any reasonable amount of time in, there is, what I call, The Theatrical Car Seller. That’s the dealership, where the owner is often seen riding an elephant, standing on his head, talking to puppets, and throwing money at the camera, promising to beat any deal you can come up with. Usually they are screaming at you, saying how crazy they are for giving such good prices. Often, they are losing sooooo much money because they were stupid and ordered way too many cars. You know the ones. The dealership I was going to was like this. Shipheard Motors, and Crazy Sam Shipheard would eat his idiotic cowboy hat if he couldn’t make me a deal. I actually didn’t trust him at all, but since I was only going to the parts dept. I thought going there might be okay.
The first thing I found was there was no way to the parts department except through the showroom. Well I walked in, keeping my eyes to the floor, I tried to cross to the parts area without being noticed. Nope. The Shipheard showroom was like the seven levels of hell as described in Dante’s inferno.
First, there was The MAZE of shiny new vehicles, that made it impossible not to notice. I avoided temptation by keeping my eyes shaded and focused on my single goal: the cheap part I came for. Breathing deeply, I struggled to maintain my strength until I hit a space blocked by two open doors. I had to touch a vehicle to get past. The simple act of closing that door sent me to the second level.
They had DISPLAYS. Sitting on top of the car was a life-sized picture of a very scantily clad lady promising me, “Pretty girls love guys in a Shipheard ride.” Turning my head, I noticed the displays were everywhere. I took a moment to look around and that was my downfall. The SALESMAN was on me in a moment. His mouth salivating, at the thought of making make the sale. I tried to avoid him but he struck faster than any cobra. And as twice as deadly to my savings. He had a silver tongue and in mere seconds he hypnotized me. My car was old, the evil me thought, and I would look great in this new one.
I shook my head and mumbled, “Back demon!” Then out loud I told the man I could not afford a car at this time. He took me to the ACCOUNTANT, and she was ready to crunch some numbers. I’m not sure what that means but, in a flash, I was ready to sign. As I felt the pen in my hand, my phone notified me that I had a text. That small ding saved me. Seeing the text was from my wife, who would never understand me purchasing a new car without her, I came back to the present and realized my sins. I jumped up fled from the office, and down a dark hallway labeled Parts.
The hall was long and dingy like I had entered the underbelly of the place. It came to me suddenly. I was entering The FORBODING HALLWAY, likely designed to make a weaker man want to turn back to the lighted happy showroom. Voices in my head whispered, “You don’t want to be here. That part isn’t the end of all needs. Go back. You really want the new car.” The words repeated over and over, but I was strong. I kept walking until I arrived at The CITY OF DIS. Or was it Dat? No, I’m sure it was Dis.
More precisely, it was an open window in the wall were an old guy, wearing a greasy shirt sat, organizing all the parts. It was a gloomy place of boredom, and looked like it had not seen the light of day in years. I asked for the points I needed and he spoke in tongues, “Oh, you must be the guy who asked for the 14522837/D. That’s an old part my friend…” He just kept talking. Not moving a single inch from his spot, he told me stories about auto parts going back to the beginning of time. This was obviously a place of great desperation. Sadness overtook me.
Before I was completely enveloped by despondency, I ran. Back through the tunnel, to the lighted showroom, but my ordeal was not yet over. I ran into The OWNER. Sam Shipheard himself was blocking my way. He smiled and I feared for my life. He said, “Now son, I’m not letting you outa here without a new car?”
I panicked. I dialed 9-1-1 and told the lady I had been kidnapped and they wouldn’t let me leave. She hung up on me and Sam showed me the door. Then he smiled strangely and said, “You’ll be back, ha ha ha”
That’s it. No matter how old my car gets, I’m keeping it. I’m never going back to a place like that again. Although, I did look good in that new car.