Owning an auto repair shop in the demilitarized zone of East
“May I help…” I began, when what to my wondering eyes did appear, but the index finger of his extended left hand, jutting toward me in the universal wave off, can’t you see I’m on the phone gesture.
At that moment, the only thing keeping the young gentleman from being pulled through his driver’s side window was the comforting knowledge no matter what he said, or what he offered in payment, the chances of my ever touching his POS hung in the category of ice-cubes in hell. After a moment of suspended animation, where I bit the inside of my mouth hard enough to draw blood, the fellow told his caller to hang on, and then graced me with an irritated raised eyebrow look.
“When can I get a tune-up, and how much will it cost me?”
I gave him the wait one gesture, and went into my office, pretending I was in search of an appropriate estimate for his request; which in a way, I was: an astronomical one. I returned to his Buick with a polite smile and gave the gentleman the quote. His now bored expression turned immediately to outrage.
“You can’t charge that much for a tune-up,” he informed me.
I looked confused for a moment, and ducked outside, looking up at my building sign as if confirming something. I returned again to his driver’s side window.
“You are mistaken, young sir,” I explained, as his face reddened like a ripening tomato. “This is still my one-man shop, and I’m the only one quoting prices here, so if you want a different price, you’ll need to ask at a different shop. Have a nice day, and thanks for stopping.”
I turned away from him, and walked to my awaiting Ford truck. As I slid stiffly under the vehicle, I dislodged the last cooling raindrops from the undercarriage, my bare neck reaching out for them like a magnet. I heard the POS start, and felt the floor vibrate from the Buick’s blaring music system. The Buick owner pealed out of my shop driveway in a cacophony of sound. All was again right with the world. :)