After Listening To The Woman Wails Mechanic Offers To Help.

Story by Pamela Jenkins

“Well, ma’am, we don’t have the part in stock. We’ll have to order it. Take about a week…”

I couldn’t believe what the mechanic was telling me. I would have to give up my pickup for a week? But I need that pickup. I drive myself to work. I load the back with groceries, feed sacks and bales of hay. I pull a livestock trailer behind. I pick up the kids from school and take the dog to the vet. How could I live without my means of transportation for a week?

The mechanic listened to my wails and seemed to understand.

“I can give you the use of a loaner till we get your truck fixed. We don’t have many right now, but I think there’s one that will hold your family.”

That’s how I came to be standing in the dealer’s parking lot, keys in hand, looking over a little gold car. Not bad looking, I thought to myself. It resembled one that my grandmother used to drive. I could almost imagine her short frame sitting in the driver’s seat.

My children opened doors and started getting into the little car. As I put the key in the ignition, I warned them, “We have to keep this car clean, kids. It isn’t ours, we’re only borrowing it for a little while. Make sure your feet aren’t muddy and…”

It was then that a rich, baritone voice said, “Please fasten your seat belts.”

Instantly, the car filled with silence. The back seat looked like a tree full of young hoot owls as my children sat wide-eyed with surprise.

“Hey, did this car just talk to us?”

“It sounds like James Bond!”

“Does it say anything else?”

We found out that, indeed, the velvety deep voice that sounded like Sean Connery had quite a bit to say. Much to the kids’ amusement, it also reminded me when I’d forgotten my key in the ignition, left the windows rolled down or failed to turn off the lights.

On the drive home we realized that the car didn’t have much speed. About 45 mph was its limit. Anything faster than that caused it to shudder violently. This didn’t make much difference in town, but on the highway driving home we were passed by faster vehicles. The occasional honk from other motorists was a bit embarrassing. Still, it got me where I wanted to go.

By midweek, our family was beginning to wear tight-lipped grimaces instead of smiles when car talked to us. Whispers of “blabbermouth!” could be heard from the back seat when the car tattled on someone who opened a door before the engine died.

That weekend, I decided that I couldn’t take much more of that irritating, fishwife nagging. Over supper that evening, I complained to my spouse about my troubles during the week.

“All he does is criticize! On and on and on! I forget to buckle up, or leave a turn signal blinking an instant too long! And forget about driving very fast…”

Spouse looked at me with a puzzled expression. “Who complains about your driving?”

“Sean Connery! Who else?”

Near the end of the second week my nerves were frazzled. I dreaded the drive to work. As I putt-putted down the highway, cars passed and honked. I slumped lower in the seat and pulled my head down into my coat collar in embarrassment. As I peered over the dashboard, I felt like my own Grandma.

When I could take no more of the harping, I called the mechanic. I was going to return the loaner because, Agent 007 or not, there’s only so much a person can stand.

“Good news, ma’am. Your part came in this morning. We should have your truck ready about three o’clock today.”

Feeling much better, I told myself that I could stand driving the little car for a few more hours. This time I made it all the way to work before that deep soothing voice told me that I had unbuckled too quickly before turning off the engine. I pointed a finger at the dashboard and admonished, “Hey, you’re not the boss of me!”

Finally, three o’clock arrived. I parked the car in the dealer’s lot and walked to the office. There I handed over the key and wrote a check for the amount on the bill. It was a bit more than I had expected.

Driving past the little gold car on my way out of the parking lot, I turned and gave it one last look. Maybe it was a trick of the sun shining on a headlight, but it almost looked like it winked.

Then and there, I decided that I would have paid twice that much to have my pickup repaired.

You can’t put a price on peace and quiet.

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