Sarabande No. 3

Help you.

I had twenty-five on pump six.

Pump six? Twenty-five. Thank you.

Thanks.

Help you.

Just this.

Four and sixty-seven cents for the lady.

Thank you so much.

You are so welcome. Help you.

Pack of Camel Lights, please.

Five sixty. Thank you. Help you?

Y’all hiring?

Nope. You only the third person come in here this morning. Third or fourth.

Okay. Just these, then, I guess.

Three forty-five.

Thanks. You know anyone else round here hiring?

Naw. Wish I could help.

Thanks anyway.

You bet. There you are.

Sorry. I overslept. Couldn’t believe it. I never do that.

Time for my lunch break.

Go on, I got it.

Hey. Hey there. Taking lunch?

Yeah.

You got a light?

Don’t smoke, sorry. We’re still not hiring.

I got a job, actually. Just looking for something extra.

Good luck.

Yeah. Say, is that your car?

Which one?

Right there. The only one in the lot. The blue Honda.

Yeah, why?

Nothing. It’s just –

What?

I think there’s something wrong with it.

There’s a lot wrong with it.

Yeah, but I think there may be something really wrong with it. Like, you’re driving down the road and your wheels fall off. That kind of wrong.

I guess I’ll get someone to look at it then.

I could.

You could what?

I mean, I could look at it for you.

Told you we’re not hiring.

Yeah, the store isn’t hiring.

And I’m not hiring.

Okay. I mean, that’s my job. I’m a mechanic.

Okay.

I could take a look at it for you.

You gonna answer that?

No, I’ll call back. Look. I think your axle is screwed up or something. It’s sitting funny.

Okay. I’ll get someone to look at it.

I’d be happy to. Really. Not a problem for me at all.

That’s okay.

Okay, well. Look, I’m out and around, so if you want I can swing by later.

I’ll think about it.

Cool. You have a good day.

Yeah.

You back?

I guess.

I dunno why they scheduled both of us. Ain’t like anything’s happening.

Yeah. I guess I’ll cut out then.

That’s fine. You still want to play a few hands tomorrow night?

Yeah, just let me know. Oh Christ.

Hi. Hey! Hey, wait up.

Ain’t nothing wrong with my car, kid.

Okay, but just look at it.

Look at what? I gotta go.

Look how it’s sitting. Leaning way over like that. Aargh. Hold on. Can you just hold on for a second? I’m trying to help you out here. Hello. Yeah. Yep. I’ll be — okay. I’ll be there soon. I know. I know. Yeah. Phew. Bosses, right?

Right.

This guy — I mean, it’s crazy. Been working in this garage for like six months, right? And he’s just on my ass all the time. Sorry. But you know what I mean. Always harping at me about losing sales. Here I am, out trying to just scare up some extra dollars, you know? I mean, I got a baby on the way and everything. Scary times, man.

Yeah. Well, I wish you well and everything.

Look. Come on, I just want you to look. Crouch down with me. See how the bumper’s not level with the pavement? I really think you got something wrong with your axle.

Okay, well, I can take it in sometime.

You don’t understand. You got a loose axle, your car could just fall apart right in the middle of the road. No warning or nothing, just pow. Could be bad.

Then I’ll take it in.

Look, let me slide under there real quick. Take just a second. It’ll save you the trouble.

…All right.

Great. Kay. Lemme slide up under here and — well, that’s okay and that’s tight and — ah.

Ah what?

Well. You want the good news or the –

Just tell me.

Well, like I thought. You got a pretty loose axle. Could come out any moment. Surprised it hasn’t already. You got — you got a ratchet in your trunk?

Yeah. Hang on.

Son of a — yeah, hello. Yeah. Yes. I’ll be there. I’m working on it. Yes. Yes. Fine. Wow. He’s getting all kinds of worked up.

You got it?

It’s getting there. How about a Philips head? You got one of those?

Here.

Thanks. Okay. That should do it. Let’s see. I dunno. Still looks crooked but it’ll do.

I appreciate it.

Hey, no problem. Shit.

What?

I just realized. I gotta get all the way across town. In like no time. Can I –

I’ll give you a ride. Least I can do.

Long as it’s no trouble. I wouldn’t want to put you out.

No problem. Hop in.

Thanks. Comfy. This yours?

Yeah, it is.

You read it? All of it?

Couple of times.

You sound like you’re pretty smart.

I do all right.

I bet. I bet you got a house full of books.

I got a few. Where we headed?

Across town. Corner of Heller Ave and 129.

Oh. I know where that is.

Yeah?

Yeah, it’s right down the street from a house I used to live in. Once upon a time. What’s the garage name?

Garage — oh yeah, it’s called Russell’s.

Russell’s, yeah. Used to play poker with Russell. Haven’t seen him in a while. He your boss?

No, it’s another guy. Russell hired me though.

Yeah? How’s he doing?

Doing good. Looked kinda peaked the last time I saw him though.

Peaked?

Yeah, just a little run-down. I dunno. You probably have a better idea than I do though. Shit. He’s gonna eat me alive. My boss. Not Russell.

You’re doing your best.

Ain’t good enough some days, you know? I mean, the second he gets there he’s gonna lay into me about losing a customer.

That ain’t your fault.

Tell that to my boss. Oh man. I’m glad I did it and everything, but now I kinda wish I’d just let you drive on.

I’ll give you some money.

Naw, that’s okay.

No, I’ll give you some. Be happy to.

Really, all he’ll do is yell, it’s okay.

The thing you did. The repair. What would Russell ask for it?

I don’t know.

Come on, what’d he ask for it?

I really don’t — I dunno, well, if you figure the labor, that’s a two-hour job so that’s a hundred fifty right there, and he’d probably swap out something just to say he did something, so that’s another fifty. Plus probably twenty for disposal fees and stuff.

Two-twenty to tighten a bolt? Russell must me losing at the table a lot. Right here?

Yeah, right here, if you don’t mind, thanks. Times are always tight, I guess.

I guess. Well. I got sixty on me, plus I can write you a check for another forty on top.

That’ll be fine. You don’t have to.

I insist. I appreciate you helping me out. Here you go.

Thanks. I really appreciate it.

Say hi to Russell for me.

You bet.

Hmph. The hell’s this? Okay. Okay. Okay, I hear you, kitty. Dinner time. Hey, it’s Terry Ingram, Russell there? Yeah, just tell him I called when he gets in, no rush, just wanted to see if he wanted to join us for poker tomorrow night. Yeah. Thanks. Hello? Hey there. I’m doing all right. Just wanted to see if you wanted to join us at the table tomorrow night. Ken’s hosting this week. That ain’t what I hear. Well I heard different, that’s all. From that kid you got working for you. That kid, you know. I didn’t even get his name. Yeah, you do, he said he worked for you and some other guy at the garage. You ain’t got no kid there? What’s that supposed to mean? You mean that kid — aw, son of a bitch. Son of a bitch. Well, yeah, no, he made off with — never mind. Just never mind. Yeah, come on and play with us. Yeah. No, I’m just sitting here, kid left some cans of compressed air in my car and — yeah, I know. Old tricks. Don’t tell no one, okay? Okay? All right. All right. I’ll see you tomorrow. Yep. Son of a bitch. Son of a bitch, kitty. God damn people. People suck, kitty. All right. All right. Behave, kitty. Be good. Help you.