A man and a woman had a car. A car with a squeak.
Each time they started the car and pressed the pedal, the car squeaked its squeaky squeak.
Then one day the man couldn’t take it any longer. And he said, “we’re taking this car to the shop!”
So the next morning they drove the squeaky car to the local shop. They left the squeaky car with the mechanic with greasy hands and crossed the street to the grocery store.
The mechanic turned the car on and listened for the squeak. He lifted the hood, he looked under the car. He found the squeak.
“We’ll need to order a replacement part,” the Mechanic told the man over the phone. “I don’t know how long it will take.”
Then the mechanic called the Honda dealer in San Jose who told him this was a rare part he’d only find in Alpharetta, Georgia.
But the folks in Alpharetta, after commenting on the unusually cold weather they were experiencing this spring, told the Mechanic that he was going to have to call the factory in Tochigi for this particular part.
After waiting on hold for someone to pick up the old red phone in the Tochigi factory for nearly an hour, the mechanic hung up.
And that’s when it happened. Maybe it was the way the man had condescendingly called him “buddy” when he dropped off the squeaky car. Maybe it was something he had to prove to that girl from middle-school. Maybe it was the bean burrito he had for lunch. Who’s to say? But at that moment the man turned on his computer and bought a round-trip ticket to Japan.
“The plane food was weird,” the mechanic told his wife when he landed.
“I’m going to Tochigi Honda factory,” the mechanic told the taxi driver.
“I’m here for the t-42 brake pad,” the mechanic told the engineer at the factory.
“We don’t make those anymore,” the engineer told the mechanic. “But there is a small village on the top of that snowy mountain,” and he pointed a finger, “that will make you one.”
The mechanic hired a bearded guide to climb the snowy mountain. They climbed all day and into the night with only rice crackers and seaweed to eat.
“Will you make me a brake pad?” asked the mechanic, when they had reached the summit.
“Certainly, I will,” said the old man in his workshop.
And he did.
And the mechanic came back down the snowy mountain with a brake pad bundled in paper.
He passed through Tochigi in his taxi.
He picked at his weird food on the airplane.
He met his wife at the airport.
He went directly to his shop. He called the man, the owner of the squeaky car.
“It’s fixed! The squeak is gone! We took it somewhere else. You think we could wait 3 days for our car? I’m a busy, successful man!”
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