I'm Gonna Even The Score With Some Uppity MechanicsCommentary • ISSUE 34•06 • Sep 9, 1998 By Jim Anchower – The Cruise Hola amigos. What's the score? Me, I've been wiped out with a capital WIPED. First off, I've had a bad cold for the last week or so. I don't know where I got it, but I haven't been able to shake it, because I just got this new job working in a meat locker where they keep it at 35 degrees. I spend all day hauling around big tubs of pork chops and beef flanks to be packed, wrapped and carted off to restaurants. I can't complain too much about the job, though: I've been eating like a king since I started working there. I just shove a few chops down the pants before I punch out, and–voila–I've got a feast. Hey, I know what you're thinking, but it ain't like that. It's not like I throw meat in my undies without wrapping it in plastic first. I ain't unhygienic. Even though the job scenario has been okay, you just know something was bound to go wrong somewhere. (It's called Murphy's Law, my friends.) Sure enough, my landlord is tossing me out on my can at the end of the month because they're building some fancy new condos or something. That really gets me. I'd been living at that place for three years, and all that time I'd been working hard to transform it into an environment that was uniquely mine–the Led Zeppelin T-shirt display, the corner shelf for the bong (used only on special occasions), the beat-up couch, the Nintendo, the rebel flag, the tower of beer cans, the Jenny McCarthy centerfold. Now, I gotta pack it all up and haul it to another place. I dunno, man. It's gonna be hard. That place was more than an apartment; it was a pad. I'm totally bummed. As if that weren't enough, I've had car problems. Last Monday evening, while Ron and I were out cruising, I lost a bunch of nuts from the driver's-side front wheel of my car, a crappy '86 VW Golf I bought for $350 off this guy I know. Actually, they weren't nuts, they were bolts. So it wasn't like there was a nut holding the tire onto the bolts that popped out of the wheel. No, there was one shit-eating bolt left holding that tire on and nothing else. That car was shaking like a motherfucker by the time I got it over to the side of the road to check out the damage. If I had listened to Ron, we would've wound up a 60-mph ball of flames going down the highway. "Ah, don't worry about it," he said. "These old cars always shake." Not like he needs to know anything about old cars, since he's got his dead grandma's '96 Buick Skylark, which she only drove 5,200 miles before kicking the bucket last year. Even though Ron's got the newer set of wheels, we always end up taking my car, because he's afraid his mom will get all mad if he drives the Buick too much. That dumb-ass. Anyway, losing all those bolts ordinarily wouldn't have been much of a problem, but it happened five miles away from the nearest town. (We were on our way to this bar called Petey's out in the middle of nowhere, 'cause Ron heard they had quarter taps of Miller on Mondays.) We did what we had to do, torquing that last bolt as tight as we could and driving about 10 mph to a gas station in Hendersonville. We woulda gone faster, but as soon as we broke the 10-mph barrier, the car started shaking like a hoochie-coochie dancer. After about half an hour, we rolled into this gas station that looked like it was just about to close. I got out of the car, and these two mechanics gave me this look like I was covered head to toe in shit. I figured I just needed to show them that I could walk the walk, so the first thing I did was look at their name tags on their coveralls, figuring I could fuck with their heads if I called them by their names. They'd be all like, "Man! How'd you know my name?" I said to them, all cool-like, "Casey. Russ. I am having some car problems. Do you think you might be able to take a look at my vehicle?" Well, someone must have swiped my idea, because not only did Casey and Russ not look impressed; they looked pissed. Since the well-being of my car was going to be in their hands, I decided to lay off. Ron, meantime, was goofing around with the air compressor, making a huge racket by blowing air under his shirt. Instead of yelling at him, though, they kept giving me the stink eye. "Don't pay attention to him," I said. "He's half-retarded." They looked at me some more and finally got around to asking what the problem was. I told them I had to drive 10 mph because I'd lost all but one of the bolts on the front driver's-side tire. They asked why I just didn't take some bolts off the other tires and put them on the bad tire so I could have driven faster. Thinking fast, I said, "We didn't have the right tools." One of them replied, "You might check in the trunk. I bet you got a tire iron in there," and the other one just started laughing his ass off. I couldn't think of anything to say, so I just went, "Yeah, well, it's the wrong size." They gave me another look and then the big one, Casey, said, "Well, I don't think we have any bolts like this. We don't have much call for parts for sauerkraut burners around here." That made me pretty steamed. Ordinarily, I would be right there with him on the American-made front lines, but a man's gotta drive what a man's gotta drive. And there's no reason to kick that man when he's down, especially when he's the kind of man who'd rather be behind the wheel of a '67 Mustang convertible. I woulda said something back at him, but just at that moment, Ron knocked over a stack of tires. "All right," Russ said. "Let's get this over with before your friend busts up our shop." They got started, and I went over and smacked Ron one for being such a feeb. Then, just as they got the tire off to realign it, Casey yelled, "Jesus! I hope you're not driving home on this thing!" I asked him why not, and he showed me that there was a bulge in the side of the tire the size of a grape. He popped the trunk to get the spare, but it was gone. I'd traded it for an eighth of weed, but I wasn't going to tell them that. "Aw, man," I said, "who took my damn spare?" Russ kept digging in the trunk and pulled out the tire iron. "I thought you said this was the wrong size," he said, and they both busted out laughing. By that point, I was so steamed I was just about to pop my cork. "Just put my damn tire on so we can get the hell out of here," I yelled. They laughed even more at that. I just stewed while they put the tire back on. They told me not to drive too far or fast with that bad tire, but I just wanted to get the hell out of there. I paid them $10 and peeled out into the road. I got about a mile away before I realized I forgot Ron. Now, Ron isn't the best guy in the world, but I'm not the type who leaves a friend without a ride, so I turned around to get him. He was just walking down the road looking pissed when I pulled over to pick him up. He started in on me, and I promptly threatened to kick him out again, which shut him up. It's a good thing I had to go back, anyway, 'cause it gave me the chance to peel out in front of that garage. Man, someday, I'm gonna ride in there with a totally hot car and a totally hot babe, and I'm gonna say to those two dipshit mechanics, "You know what? I don't know why I'm here. I don't need anything. To hell with you and your crappy shop." Then I'd drive away as fast as I could, knowing I got the last word. I could get back at them by just kicking their asses, but there are two of them, and Ron is a big pussy. Maybe if I waited until they were separated, I could take them one at a time. Then again, I've got better things to do with my time than wait for shit like that. Hell, if I had that kind of time to wait, I may as well wait for Ron to not be a puss. Like that'll ever happen.