Jason turned slowly out of the carwash on to the corner of 7th and Beach. He didn't know what to think. What had started out a bad day had recently become frankly ridiculous. First, came the teenager in the Marilyn Manson T-shirt, flipping him the bird and saying "Nice, Car, butthead!"
Why was he listenning to Marilyn Manson, Jason had wondered, seething at the attitude this young punk in the piercings had tossed him. Marilyn Manson was my generation! Jason had loathed Marilyn Manson, but that was Jason's generation! He had a right to loathe Marilyn Manson. This kid had was too young to usurp that. He was too young. He probably listens to Justin Timberlake loudly while his parents are at work.
So, Jason had floored it, popping the clutch so as to let out an audible squeal. If he did it properly, his best bets were the insolent clod would be covered with mud from head to foot. But no squeal prevailed. No mud flew. However, an audible thud loped throughout his engine module while his car came to a lurching halt. The engine had stalled. The kid was watching him with a sneer and Jason dared not make eye contact. Instead, he restarted the engine and floored it again, hoping to save face by jetting out of there.
This time the car jetted forward all right, spraying the fateful mud upwards and sideways all over the car. Not a drop landed on his sneering target. Up ahead was indeed, the community greenhouse, and Jason had to slam on the brakes or risk slamming right into a garden of begonias, cucumbers and tempered glass. The car came to a skidding halt and then the engine failed The punk had whizzed right by on his rollerblades, baring his butt, and grooving to whatever he was blaring on his music player. Justin Timberlake.
It was with some considerable effort and many attempts that Jason got the car restarted. It had to be his transmission, he figured. That's going to cost a dime.
He turned onto Seventh limping along, the engine coughing, sputtering and dying every time Jason braked. Finally, he saw the carwash as a chance to at least clean the car's exterior. Regroup.
The regrouping, of course, did not happen. In his rearview mirror was the pockfaced man who had carjacked his malfunctioning covertible. The intruder was happily chewing gum while gazing out Jason's rear passenger window, The intruder's bowtie was crooked. The intruder's bowtie was red with white polka dots. The intruder's bowtie was stained with coffee.
"Hello?", said Jason, looking into the mirror.
The man didn't respond.
"Lucky? Is that your name?"
The man, holding his chin on his elbow, whistled at a pair of teenage girls passing by.
"Sir!", exclaimed Jason, turning around to meet his carjacker.
"Oh, Tuck.", said the man, "Call me Tuck. Lucky's Car Wash is on 8th and Lakefront. Man charges too much money. Scares people away. Guy's a real Hershey's Mars Bar, if you know what I mean."
"Well, Tuck, listen.", spoke Jason, with all the warmth of a Frigidaire, "You probably want to steal someone else's car. This one's had it. If you're looking to get away from someone, be it the police, Interpol or your crazy ex-wife, you're not going to get very far with me. So, look, get out of my car, I'll pretend this never happenned. And we'll both go on to do whatever it is we have to do"
Tuck looked at him for a moment and became wide eyed.
"Listen, Bubbles, you don't understand. It's not as simple as that. That car wash is like the Holy Grail! I've been doomed to stay there, my family's been doomed to stay there until something very unique happens.", said Tuck , his voice dramatically shifting as if every sentence held someone's life in its hands
" For generations, we've waited with baited breath, watching with keen eyes", continued Tuck, leaning over the driver's seat, wafting Jason with a malodor of Bubblicious and nicotine. He popped a bubble just outside Jason's right ear and looked wistfully around him.
"Hey, Hot Rod, Why aren't we going anywhere?", he asked.
"Because I'm not exactly sure where, you, or your story is going!", blurted Jason , who had found himself sitting with his body slumped low in his seat, his head in his hands. It was as if Jason was doing a performance Art movement called "Existentialistic Depression."
"Jokes, Superman, jokes! Fella's gotta have a sense of humour. Look, Mu-chach-o, the thing is, I'm late for my sister's wedding. Cab's gonna take an hour. You know the cabs in this city. Well, maybe not, you got yourself some wheels. Whatever your pleasure, Big Shooter! I'll give ya twenty bucks. It's just down the road."
"It's going to take more than an hour to get there!", exclaimed Jason, throwing his hands up in frustration, "My car won't leave second gear"
"Yeah, but I'm in the car anyways and we're already a block closer, so cool it, Big Rig.", said Tuck with a wink, "It's a nice day. I'm late as it is. Car wash is on me."
"What about the gun?", stammered Jason, "You're planning on bringing a gun to your sister's wedding? What kind of a...oh my Lord....I've lost all sight of reality. I'm starving. This is just too far out there"
"Yeah, I could use a bite. Good idea, Porkchop. Let's stop at a drive thru.", said Tuck, scratching his whiskered chin, "Oh, the gun? You didn't see the orange tip at the end? Jeez, it's a water pistol, see? Buddy, you really oughtta lose some weight."
And with that Tuck sprayed water out the window, Then he squeezed his tuxedoed frame over the passenger seat and into the front of the car causing Jason's soft top to contort like four cats in a burlap bag. Panting and wheezing, he methodically strapped on his seatbelt, caught his breath, said "Phew!", andlooked at Jason while bouncing up and down ,patting his hands on his knees with a measure of giddy excitement.
"Now, drive, Dale Earnfart, drive", giggled Tuck, gaping a toothy grin at poor Jason, who in turn, wished for some type of prescription pain relief.
"Wanna play the name game?", Tuck chirped.