I heard on the news that PETA and animal activists around the world are celebrating today that the Naugah has been removed from the endangered species list. For those of you unfamiliar with this docile animal, the Naugah is from South America and resembles a Yak only hairless. Killed by the millions back in the seventies for their soft, multi-colored hides, they were made into furniture called Naugahide. If not for the fact that it soon went out of style by the early to mid eighties, the animal would long be gone. That fate came to the Corinthian. Also throughout the seventies this moose like creature from the Boom Bala Peninsula of Greater Southeast Baquay was destroyed in one decade alone to make the Corinthian leather interiors in Chrysler cars. Ricardo Montelbon raved about its elegant appearance on TV commercials and Lee Iacocca had no remorse or feelings of guilt about removing a species from the face of the earth, for interiors of crap cars that didn’t appeal to anyone. When’s the last time you saw a K car? Yup! Now I’m not going Paul McCartney on you about this, killing an animal for furniture and cars to me is wrong. But eating, is another story. The word Vegetarian is derived from the tribe of the Lost Fah-kowie Indians. The meaning was ‘One who cannot hunt.’ The term ‘Lost’ in their name came from the fact each time they came into town, they would chant “We’re the Fah-kowie… We’re the Fah-kowie.” But I didn’t have to worry about my part in animal cruelty. The only thing becoming extinct with my car was the car itself.
I had a blue 1974 Chevy Biscayne four door sedan. I had a old blanket covering the springs and cushion foam of what was left of the front seat. No Corinthian leather here. I decided to go out and meet my friend Otter MacPherson at the local watering hole. I went out to the car. The door made a metallic squeal as I opened it. The seat springs crunched as I sat and put the key in the ignition. A low sound of a buzzer became audible like a dying bee behind the dash as I turned the key. Two red lights flickered on the speedometer trying desperately to stay lit. The AM radio came on. This was irritating as the tuning knob was broken and it could only play a Spanish speaking channel. I turned the key to the next click. A slow grinding sound of the starter protested loudly as failed to reach its objective and stopped in a low whining moan. I stomped the gas pedal and tried it again, only to receive the same results. I tried one more time. The old six cylinder engine suddenly came to life, coughing, wheezing, and sputtering to get going. The rattling and chattering of tappets and lifters came from the old motor. The smell of exhaust came up from the holes in the rusty floorboards, blue smoke belched out the back. I turned on the headlights. The knob came off in my hand. One dim light aimed down in front of the bumper, the other shot its hi-beam up into the trees. the only working dash light illuminated the pedals down by the floor where it hung by the wire. I pressed down on the clutch pedal. Before I could get the column shift into first, the pedal broke off beneath the dashboard. The radio was playing ‘La-Kooka-Rah-Cha’ as I assessed the situation.
“Well, that’s that.” I said turning off the ignition. The engine convulsed, dieseling and gasping in a last ditch effort not to quit. Hard to get it to start, now can’t get the damn thing to stop. I couldn’t get the knob back in to turn off the lights, so I tossed it in the back seat. I got out of the car thinking the battery should be dead in another ten minutes anyway. I went back into the house, opened a beer and turned on the TV. Just as luck would have it, a commercial for a car dealer started.
“Hi folks! Are you in need of a new or quality pre owned car? Come on down to Krotchpheeler Chevrolet. We are conveniently located downtown next to House of Wang Mexican Food Emporium. Test drive any vehicle in our inventory and receive a coupon for a free sesame chicken taco. Bring the Wife and Kiddies to meet our sales team Dewey Screwem, Ann Howe and our sales manager Ben Dover. On Saturdays we have free ice cream, prizes and balloons. Fun for everyone. Tour our state of the art service department. Our Service Manager Ben De Bumper and his associates Denton Fenders and Louis Screws will be available to answer all your questions. Our bad luck is your good luck. Do to a problem with our paint booth, We are offering a huge sale on select models. Just because the colors don’t match doesn’t mean it’s not a good car. Save big. Krotchpheeler Chevrolet where you’re not only our customer, you’re our friend. This week only we will give you $5,000 for your trade in, any condition. C’mon down”.
Well that did it for me. The next morning I was up to go meet my new friends. Superglue and Gorilla Tape got the clutch pedal back on good enough to work. With a jump start on the battery, I was off to get a new car. As I turned left into the dealership, the turning signal arm broke off and the light continued blinking as I pulled up and parked. The light kept blinking after I turned off the car. I got out, walked back and opened the trunk to make sure I didn’t leave anything. I looked in and saw the parking lot and my feet, no floor.
“I wonder how long ago I lost my spare tire and jack?” I murmured closing the lid. That’s a problem for the next owner. Then a voice came from behind me.
“Hi, welcome to Krotchpheeler Chevrolet. I’m Fast Ernie. What do I have to do to get you into a new car today?” He said with a overly aggressive handshake.
“Hi.” I replied rather noncommittal. “I would like to see your sales manager Mr. Dover.”
“Well, I can assist you myself in any way.” He smiled eagerly.
“OK then, what’s your lowest price you’ll take on that yellow Malibu SS over there? Rock bottom out the door lowest price, period.” I asked.
He hesitated a moment with this surprise, puzzled look on his face. He looked over at the car, back at me, over back to the car and shrugged.
“Let’s cut the crap.” I said. ” This whole game of psychology, holding me hostage for hours running back and forth to his office, acting like my advocate to get the best deal ever. I want his lowest price. Then I either buy it or not. Either way I’m out of here in 5 minutes.”
He froze, not knowing what to do. I honestly thought the poor guy was going to piss his pants. He just put up his hand extending his index finger in a sign to wait a moment, then ran into the building. I walked around looking at some cars. I get a kick out of the marketing they use. No prices on the cars, just how much down and how much a month. One car stated $249.00 a month. That’s it. Is that for two months or two hundred? That would be some handy information to know. Then out the door comes my new best friend I saw on TV last night.
“Hi, Ben Dover Sales Manager. Can I have your name, address, phone and email? Glad to meet you. Have a job? Good credit? Three references? Which car are you interested in?” He asked with another overly aggressive handshake.
“What’s the bottom line on the yellow SS?” I asked.
“Do you have a trade in?” He came back.
“What’s that got to do with it? What’s your best price?” I repeated.
“Well, are you a serious buyer, will you buy it today.” He started (the dance.)
“Like the trade in, what does that have to do with giving me your best and only price?” I asked. (If we’re dancing, I’ll lead.)
“Uh-are you paying cash or financing?” He came back.
“All you need to know is I’m buying a car and you’re getting the money, period. Anything else is irrelevant. No extended warranties, gap insurance, paint protection, rust proofing, dealer add ons, special financing or anything else your finance manager comes up with. Bottom line, lowest price and sign the papers for only that. How much?”
“You won’t sit and discuss your purchase with our finance manager?’ He asked somewhat confused.
“Especially that. Only sign the papers. Point to where I sign, no communication.” I demanded.
He stood there perplexed, confused, baffled, stumped and bewildered. Like the salesman, he held up his finger to wait a moment, and made his way back into the building, bumping into the door before opening it. He came back out shortly.
“I met with Mr. Krotchpheeler and we called our district office of General Motors. Sorry to say without the information to the questions I asked you, we have no idea how to price the vehicle. We recommend you make your purchase from a private seller or CarMax.” He said. As I was leaving I noticed a guy I haven’t seen since high school walk on to the lot. Thinking quick, I approached him with a offer to good to be true.
“Bongo-lips… Bongo-Lips Bruebaker.” I called out. We called him that because his lips were the size of Kim Kardashian’s ass.
“Hey, how’s it hang’n?” He greeted me.
“Buying a car today?” I asked. He assured me he was. I asked if he had a trade in. He shook his head no.
“How would you like to take $4000.00 off the price of any car with a trade in?” I asked.
“Sure, but how?” He inquired.
“This week only they are giving $5000.00 on any trade in. That’s my car over there. Give me $1,000.00 for it and you can trade it in and get $4,000.” I said.
A broad smile came to his face. He took out a wad of $100.00 bills, counted out ten as I signed my title over to him. As I was leaving the sales manager came running up.
“Did you just sell that piece of crap to that guy with the bad cologen job for one thousand dollars?” He asked.
“Sure did.” I replied, putting the money in my wallet.
“That’s genius, I want you to work here with me.” He said.
“Well, only if you can tell me what the best price is on that yellow Malibu SS with my employee discount?” I smiled, leaving.
Seeing I was downtown I walked over to ‘Stazlowski’s Polka Palace’ on Adams St. Actually the place didn’t have anything to do with polkas. It was a strip club. I inquired on it once and was told if you ask anyone of polish decent what a ‘pole dance’ was, they would say a polka. At least that was what my Uncle Stanish told me. He was a Polish psysic. He only predicted the past and was 85 percent accrurate. He married my mother’s sister Gert. I sat there with a beer talking to ‘Runt’. She was the day shift bartender She was a midget, or to be politically correct a dwarf or size challenged. Who can keep up with that crap. OK you’re offended. Get over it, there’s a lot bigger stuff in this world to worry about. Her real name was Antoinette O’Houlahand. We would spend hours discussing various subjects such as world economy or devaluation of the Canadian Loon. She knew all the names of the ‘Munchkins” from the Wizard of Oz. Their real names. I remember the first time we met. I came into the bar and ran right into her.
“Oh, I’m sorry. Are you alright?” I asked, reaching down to help her up.
“I’m not happy.” She replied.
“Oh? Which one are you?”
Man did she get pissed. But after time we became good friends.
“Hey, lookit dis. My Kemosaube. What you do’n here dis early?” It was my pals Hurley and Ricky. The sat down at the bar and ordered beers.
“Heard you got a job.” I said.
“Yeah, started last week.” Hurly replied.
“What do you make?” I asked.
“Plenty of mistakes and a few improper remarks.” He said.
“No, I mean how much do you make?” I asked.
“I don’t make nothing. I work in a office.” He replied.
“I mean how much are they paying you?” I was now getting frustrated.
“Hell if I know, I haven’t got my first check yet.” He shrugged. “By the time they take all the deductions out, I don’t know what’s left for me.”
“You working anywhere?” I asked Ricky.
“I had a interview this morning with this good looking gal.” He laughed.
“How did the interview go?” I asked, thinking this should be good.
“She asked me why I want to work at Goodyear Tire and Rubber.”
“And you said.”
“It would be good year before I’d get too tired to rub her. Besides, I want to fly a blimp.” He exclaimed.
By this time the place was starting to fill up for the afternoon show. We took a table across from the stage, against the staircase. We got another round of beers as the show began. The first gal out I recognized worked at the Waffle House outside of Spooner on Old Hwy 41. I remember that missing front tooth when she would smile and give me my check. She took off her clothes like she was going to take a bath. When the music started she began this river dance thing with her arms dangling down her sides and her legs going like crazy. Then the others came out. If you like boobs flapping, veracious veins that look like street maps of a major city, more stretch marks than a taffey pull, and cottage cheese cellulite, this was the place to be. Don’t get me wrong, I believe every woman is beautiful in their own special way. It’s just some should give more thought about becoming an exotic dancer. Then who should I see come walking in but the sales manager at the Chevy dealership. My new buddy. He must be off duty as the cheap tie and Sears Sansabelt slacks were replaced with a Rolling Stones t-shirt and shorts. He stopped as he walked by the table.
“Hey, my new partner. Who are these guys? Ben Dover, how you doing? Hey Ben Dover, got a job? Youse guys need a car?” He asked, shaking their hands. “Good credit, bad credit no problem. Hey, that guy with the plunger mouth that bought your car? He bought the yellow Malibu SS.”
“How much did he pay for it?” I asked.
“Search me, all those numbers on all those forms confuse the hell out of me.” He shrugged.
“I don’t need a new car, I need a new dog.” Hurly said.
“You need a new dog?” I asked him. “What about Ol’ Nitro?”
“He’s way up there in dog years. Instead of barking at strangers, he stands at the front door, pees the carpet and wheezes.”
“Hey, you wanna trade him in for a new car? We’ll take anything in trade, including a asthmatic dog.” Ben said. “You gotta job?”
“Yeah, I keep sex out of the movies.” Hurly replied.
“Oh, a censor?” He asked.
“No a usher.” Hurly answered with his usual humor.
“How much you make?” He asked.
“NO, WE’RE NOT GETTNG BACK INTO THAT!” I interrupted.
We assured him we didn’t want a car and he was off bothering other tables, handing out business cards like a priest giving communion wafers.
“Who was that Asshole?” Hurly asked.
“Sales Manager at Krotchpheeler Chevrolet. Forget him.” I said.
“Car dealer? My apologizes to any Assholes who were offended by my comparison.” Hurly laughed.
“Hey, I just ran into Bongo-Lips.” I said.
“Bruebaker? No shit. Last I heard he got his lips caught into a trumpet mouthpiece. Took six doctors fourteen hours to free him. For the next two weeks his lips were puckered up like a fish.” He laughed again. “Looked like he was applying for a job at a kissing booth in Atlantic City.”
We continued watching the show. When the song ‘Copa-Cabana’ by Barry Mantilow started playing, a couple girls came out flinging their arms and legs and bumping into the other dancers. The whole thing looked like it was put on by the same people who produced the old Jerry Lewis Telethons. In fact some of the customers watching called the bar and pledged money. We ordered another round of drinks. Just as we got our beer the phone rang.
“RICKY, IT’S YOUR MOTHER..” Runt yelled from behind the bar. We could only see her arm holding up the receiver.
“Who’s mother would call her son at a strip club?” I wondered aloud more to myself than anyone. I watched the expression change on his face, then he tossed the phone back to Runt and headed for the door.
“Damn, got to run. I forgot I had a date for lunch with the daughter of my Mom’s best friend. Be back as soon as I can. Have my beer.” He exclaimed, running out.
It was a moment later Hurly bummed a cigarette from a guy at the next table. I watched him light it and my curiosity got the best of me.
“What are you doing? You don’t smoke.” I said. He didn’t say anything, just looked at me then up at the stairs. I followed his gaze and standing right above us was Ben Dover, getting a better view of the dancers. I looked back at Hurly and he got this sinister looking smile on his face. I looked up again and saw right up Ben’s shorts leg. He wasn’t wearing underwear and his left testicle was hanging in clear view. Hurly took a long-deep drag off his cigarette getting the tip glowing red. He wiggled his eyebrows at me and raised his arms in a fake yawn, carefully moving the cigarette up between the stair rails and inside his shorts leg. When the hot tip touched his testicle all hell broke loose. Ben let out with a blood curdling scream that drowned out the music and crowd. He sailed right over the rail, cleared the bar and landed on the stage in front of everyone. He did cartwheels, spun around the poles still screaming and did moves the other dancers couldn’t keep up with. Everyone began cheering. Within a minute he ran to our table, grabbing the Beer Ricky left and sat down placing it under the table, soaking his scrotum in it. He couldn’t speak, just sat there wide eyed.
“What was it, a bee sting?” I asked.
“I-I-Dunno!” He replied unblinking. “I smelled something burning.”
He placed the beer on the table, carefully tucked his junk back in his shorts and made his way to the men’s room. It wasn’t a moment later when Al Packa our former high school guidance counselor came in and sat down with us. He looked just like Simon Cowell from American Idol, only he didn’t have as nice of a personality.
“Well now, what are you two losers doing here?” He asked.
“Ah yes, you haven’t stopped instilling young minds with the cofidance to succeed ” I said, recalling the speech he gave at our commencement ceremony. Standing before the graduating senior class wearng a t-shirt that read, ‘Today is a good time to GIVE UP.’ He spoke:
“Today after graduation, You might as well enlist into the Armed Services as the high school dropouts already beat you to the best jobs.”
I slid Ricky’s glass of beer to him.
“Here, Runt brought it by mistake.” I smiled.
“Can’t turn anything down free on my salary.” He mused.
I was really impressed with Hurley that he could keep from laughing while Mr. Idiot downed the beer a car dealer soaked his scrotum in. Then a sudden commotion erupted with screaming and cheering when a dancer spun crazily upside down on a pole and lost her grip, somersaulting off the stage and crashing behind the bar. The sound of glass breaking, loud laughter and applause filled the place. Runt and the other girls tried getting her dressed before the paramedics arrived, so they wouldn’t be too shocked or scared to help her. When the Paramedics did arrive Hurly and I tried talking them into taking Ben Dover too. They saw him sitting at the table with his shorts down around his knees and a bar rag on his lap. They were not interested in getting involved with a guy’s crotch area in a strip club. We ended up taking Ben to the Urgent Care ourselves to have his junk checked. He was alone and couldn’t drive. I did feel somewhat responsible seeing we caused the problem. Hurly believed nothing was sacred and nobody’s safe. If there was a laugh to be had, everybody’s fair game. We waited outside the curtained off area where he was being seen. The doctor on duty was a female urologist, Dr. Tess Tickles. She was a looker. We listened through the curtain as she treated him.
“Mr. Dover, I’m afraid we have to have a discussion on your over impulsive, masturbation habit.”
“Why Doctor, will it eventually hurt me?” He asked worriedly.
“No but I can’t help you while you’re doing that.” She answered.
Right then Hurley and I were asked to leave by a large, burly, mean looking nurse who didn’t find the situation as humorous as we did. We figured Ben could find his own way back and Hurly took me home. We agreed to meet for breakfast.
The next morning Hurley Picked me up bright and early with Leland Lardnutz, Oily Miller, Otter McPherson and Ricky.
“Where do you want to eat?” Hurley asked.
“Anywhere but the Waffle House. I don’t think I can eat there anymore.” I said, thinking of the dancer last night. Hurley laughed and agreed.
We went over to Bedroll Betty’s Breakfast Round Up. We took a seat at a table and looked over the menu. As I was deciding between the Lasso Lunch or Breakfast Bonanza, a shadow was cast over from the waitress standing behind me.
“Howdy Pardners, what cha’ want?” She asked. I froze. I heard that voice and felt a chill run down my spine. I slowly turned and looked. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was the same waitress I had at that supper club with Emerck , the food critic awhile back. She was just as I remembered… big, blonde, and chewing gum with that disgusted look on her face. Only now instead of the hula grass skirt, cocoanut bra theme, she was made up in a Dale Evans – Annie Oakley type cowgirl outfit. I looked at her name tag. ‘Olive DeUdder-Raindear.’
“I’ll start.” Hurley said. “Gimmie the ‘Big Wahoo’ breakfast special.”
“What kinda eggs?” The waitress asked.
“Chicken,” Hurley continued, “Hard boiled, with the grilled ‘Hop – A – Long Ham’, a buckwheat waffle with fruit ruloo, and a side of the ‘Stage Coach Sausage Gravy’.” The waitress wrote it all down on the order pad.
“Toast?” She asked.
“Sure!” Hurley agreed with his usual humor. He stood raising his water glass and chimed “HERE’S TO YOU!”
I lowered my head and placed my hand over my eyes as the others stood, and clinked their glasses together .
“HIP-HIP-HOORAY” They shouted, then sat down.
She just kept chewing her gum, becoming more and more annoyed. She took all our orders and I knew it was all over when she asked:
“How do you want your check, all together?”
“HOW DO YOU WANT YOUR CHECK?” They replied, all together. Well that did it.
The order pad was stuffed in Oily’s mouth. She put her gum in Hurley’s hair, smashing it down with her hand. She took the glasses of water and threw them at Leland and Ricky as they ran like mad for the door, Otter dove under the table and then she looked at me.
“I see you are hanging out with normal looking assholes now. “ She gave me the finger and walked away.
So much for breakfast. Otter and I walked out, the others already left. We strolled down the sidewalk when Otter started talking.
“Hey, you know Thelma Thudthacker?” He asked.
“Yeah, thin, lanky girl, flat chest and freckles.” I answered. “What about her?”
“Her Dad’s gonna kill me.” He said.
“Well, we went out parking on Scray’s Hill last night. She got her foot caught in the horn ring on my steering wheel. I had to call the fire department.”
“Let me guess, she was in a compromising position?” I asked.
“Well I doubt her Dad will find it as funny as the firemen did.” He said. “After laughing and taking cell phone pictures, they got her foot out.”
My folks house was on our way and it was a while since I visited the family. I said good bye to Otter and walked to the house. My ninety seven year old grandmother was sitting on a rocker on the front porch. I always enjoyed the moments we shared. Curious on the good old days, I asked her how things were back in her day. She said she couldn’t comment too much on those times because she didn’t do much, and she was still a virgin.
“But Grandma, you had seven children. You must have spent some time in bed with Grandpa.” I said.
“That didn’t count because I didn’t participate.” she answered.
“Do you have any words of wisdom you can share with me?” I asked.
“When you buy a casket don’t bother getting the extended warrenty.”
Well so much for that. I walked around to the back of the house and stopped in disbelief. There parked by the garage was my old 74′ Chevy, only now it was painted bright pink. There was a large decal on the back window that said, ‘Mary Kay Cosmetics.’ I walked around in a trance. It was my old car alright. My dad came out of the garage shaking his head.
“Dad, what’s this?” I asked.
“I bought it this morning at Krotchpheeler Chevrolet. Reminded me of your car. Took it to Costco and had it painted.” He said.
“I didn’t know Costco painted cars.” I said, momentarily distracted.
“This one does. I just had one car painted, but I still had to pay for twenty five.” He said.
“What did you do this for? You already have a car, you didn’t need another one. And pink?” I was at my wits-end. I stepped over putting my arm around him thinking he lost his mind, when a thought struck me. “It’s Mother isn’t it?”
“Your mother told just about everyone in town she won a pink car for selling that damn make up of hers. She didn’t think down the line everyone would want to see it.” He said. “This was the best I could do on such a short notice.”
“Have her go to Ringling Brothers Clown College and sell that stuff. She’ll earn her own car in no time.” I assured him.
“That’s a great idea.” Dad said. Hey, you want a car, you can have this one.” He handed me the keys. So I drove the old Chevy home, listening to the news in Spanish, smelling exhaust coming up through the floor, with the directional light still blinking. Things seem to go full circle.