Mechanic Misfortunes

As I was pulling out of my apartment parking lot the other day in my hovercraft, I heard a sudden “WHATZIT” as I passed over a bump. “What the–?” I shouted, checking my rear view mirror in case any doodads had fallen off the bottom of my vehicle. But the path was clear. As I drove on, a distinct “ei-ei-ei” continued to make noise as my hovercraft jostled. “Crap.” (My vehicle didn’t say “crap,” that was me.) I had just bought the thing like a month ago, and now it was already acting up?

I decided to head straight back to the lot I nabbed it from to have them take a look at it. Fortunately, it wasn’t far. I pulled into the garage and before I even turned off my vehicle, someone was walking towards me.

“Keys?” the tool greeter asked. “Oh, here,” I said, handing her a key chain with a copy of my eyeball and a pink rabbit’s foot on it. “Ew!” she muttered, and I quickly added, “Oh, sorry about that, my aunt gave me the rabbit’s foot.” She gave me a sideways glance and I shrugged.

That’s when she looked over to my hovercraft, and as I followed her gaze to my back seat, my face settled in a neutral acceptance of how weird this all looked.

So, the reason why I had hopped in my hover craft that morning was to go to the grocery store. I needed some essentials, like salmon and diamond juice. Anyway, for the past year of grocery shopping, my roommates and I have been shoving our plastic bags in the crevice of our kitchen closet. The other day I decided to pull them out to see what I was dealing with, and there were quite a few of the suckers in there. I’ve heard of plastic bag drop-offs, so I consolidated them as much as I could in order to get rid of them. However, even after shoving as many as I could in other bags, there were still many several bags’ worth of plastic bags. I loaded them up in my back seat and made off… Immediately thwarted by our technical difficulty.

The lady frowned at what she saw. The entire back seat was covered in plastic bags. Plastic bags compacted floor to ceiling, pushed up against the windows, their chubby plastic cheeks were eagerly pressed to the glass. In fact, the vehicle looked as though it may burst at the seams at any moment, and the lady of salutations may have thought the plastic bags to be the unknown problem. The back even hung a little lower than the front.

I imagined what this probably looked like to her: actually, I couldn’t even imagine. I wouldn’t have any idea why anyone would ever have that many plastic bags in the back of their hover craft if I didn’t already know the answer, which was shrouded in a thick fog of plastic bags to this poor, concerned lady staring at my vehicle.

That’s when one of the mechanics came out. “What seems to be the problem?” the mechanic asked, stepping up to me. “No idea,” I told her, which didn’t seem to be what she wanted to hear. I explained what happened, which was also apparently unhelpful. “Do you know where the ‘ding-diddy’ noise is coming from?” she asked. “Uh… the hover craft,” I answered. “Well I’ll just try to recreate the problem,” she finally concluded, taking my keys from the first lady and getting in the vehicle. She used the copy of my eyeball (the patented Retina Recognition technology) to start the hover craft and drove it a few yards before shutting it off again.

“I know what that is,” she said, getting out of the car, and she walked up to the front of the vehicle. Reaching her arm into the engine, she fished around before pulling out a piece of Who-Piddle. “It’s your Whatever-Mahbobber.” Just then, the storm cloud of plastic bags in my back seat caught her eyes and her face contorted to a look of complete terror. Judging from the light that extinguished in her eyes, I bet she will have nightmares about this for a long time.

“Anyway, have fun with all that,” I said, and made my way to the waiting room.

Car repair service maintenance fix-it-up establishments always have a TV (usually playing some outdated sitcom or a trashy talk show) and a bunch of magazines splayed out (usually auto-related, as if anyone who needs a professional business to fix their car is actually interested in cars). Then there’s a little coffee bar, and if you’re lucky, they provide water, too.

I got myself real comfortable in front of the television. This outdated sitcom episode’s theme was menopause, so I got to become the honorary member of that drama. At the climax of the segment, the young girl cries out in the middle of dinner how life is hopeless because she’s going to undergo menopause and thus has nothing but misery to look forward to. Needless to say, at that point, I wandered to the coffee bar.

By some blessed act of the Cookie Lords, there were chocolate chip cookies on a plate. I immediately snatched up one of the morsels of goodness and took a bite, at which point in time Mechanic with a Name Tag I Didn’t Bother to Read called me over to the desk.

Not wanting to abandon my cookie (no, never abandon a cookie! That’s Good Cookie Karma Rule Number 1!!), but also not wanting to carry around my cookie like a pet rock so that I could abide by at least one unspoken societal norm that day, I shoved the cookie in my shorts’ pocket and frantically chewed the portion that was in my mouth, brushing crumbs off my face.

“Yes?” I asked sweetly, sliding over to the desk. “Your.. er– hover craft.. is ready,” the woman said, scratching her nose and looking up at me over her glasses, which had the shape of boxy old-school 3-D glasses. (You know, like the kind you wore when you saw Spy Kids 3 in 3-D.) She typed something into her computer and said, “All right, so you had a sprained Houdini-diddle on your vehicle… So with parts and labor, that’ll be $428,590,994 plus tax, which will be the soul of your first-born.” I pursed my lips and squinted my eyes. “Don’t I have a warranty…?” I asked. The woman shuffled some papers and replied, “The warranty only covers the cup holders and the cap on the windshield wiper fluid thing. Cash or credit?”

After I signed over every last possession I own except the hover craft, I was put on hold again, which gave me the opportunity to hurriedly turn around and finish my cookie. I will admit I slightly resembled Smegle as I pulled the cookie out of my pocket, brushed off some lint, and lovingly devoured the sacred sweet. I dug around in my pocket afterwards, collecting all the crumbs from my pocket, and used those for dessert. (Side note: That last bit definitely included consuming lint. There was just no way to avoid it.)

By that time, they brought my vehicle around and handed back the keys. I eyed my plastic bags as I slid into the driver’s seat. Hm… It looked like my plastic bags had been slightly moved around… How dare they. The entire interior of the front was also covered in some indeterminable brand of dirt or mud, which must have been what they considered their auto repair version of the “Olive Garden post-meal chocolate mint.”

As I rode into the sunset, the back of my hover craft scraping against the road under the pressure of my plastic bags, I decided to treat myself. Passing up the Walmart, I turned into the Acme parking lot and pulled into a nice spot in the corner, throwing myself into the cloud of plastic bags behind me. I cozied up, feeling content floating among the crinkly whispers of my restless plastic bags. After a long day of selling my apartment to afford fixing my car, I deserved to sleep in the Acme parking lot instead of the Walmart one, and all at once, these plastic bags suddenly found a fresh purpose in life: my new bed.

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