Cal gave the wrench a couple of final twists, his tongue flicking around his lips as if operating the tool by remote control. Looking up from his supine position underneath my car he yelled “Just a few more tweaks, Myrna, and you’re back in business.”
“No problem, Cal.” I smiled.
I relaxed in the metal folding chair for garage visitors and tried to find anything interesting in “Auto World” or “Automotive Today” while he finished.
Glancing idly at my watch I saw I had time. The couple to whom I was showing the Jefferson home wouldn’t arrive at my office for another thirty minutes.
I thought over the points about the house that I wanted to make; points I was sure would match up to the things they’d said they were looking for. It would be a nice commission and ought to pay for Jason’s first semester of college tuition next fall.
Finally Cal wriggled out from under the car and got to his feet, wiping his hands with an oily rag.
“There; should be good as new. Lemme just start her up and take a listen.”
Cal started the engine and frowned. The rattle didn’t sound good.
“Lemme check the oil and some of the other engine fluids. Just take a few minutes.” He checked and walked over to a large, floor to ceiling metal shelving unit in front of the car. Selecting a couple of cans from hundreds he returned and changed the oil.
Once again, the car rattled upon ignition.
“Lemme just put ‘er up on the rack and check it out. Shouldn’t take too long.”
Eeeeeeek! The rack squealed loudly and onerously for grease. I winced, covering my ears.
“Sorry, reckon she needs a lube job too.” Cal pushed the button, stopping the car’s ascent.
He fiddled around some more with the underside of the car, tightening a bolt here and there. He pulled his cap off and scratched his head thoughtfully.
“Hmmm... reckon I’ll bring ‘er back down and check the engine. Hope it’s not that.” Cal added ominously.
Eeeeeeek! The rack screamed some more as the car was lowered.
The platform was doing something strange. It was beginning to tilt just a little toward the front of my car.
“Eek! Cal...!” it was all I could manage to get out.
Cal couldn’t hear me over the noise and was looking away, still scratching his head.
The closer it got to the floor, the more the platform appeared to wobble and tilt.
Cal glanced up and saw what was happening at about the same time that the balance on the platform reached critical mass.
The next minute or so was sort of like watching a kind of horror/comedy movie in slow motion.
Helpless, I watched my beautiful automobile do a nose dive as the broken rack relieved itself of its load about ten feet off the ground. The car bounced once then lurched straight into the shelves of cans. Whatever bolts held the shelving to the ceiling didn’t stand a chance.
Cal and I watched with our mouths hanging open as his garage proceeded to destroy itself along with my car.
“Eek! Eek!” was all I could utter, over and over. Cringing, I covered my face with my hands. I was sure I didn’t want to see any more. I peeked through my fingers anyway.
The shelf unit succumbed and inclined slowly toward the rack. In a thunderous clamor hundreds of shiny red, gold, blue, black and silver cans flew out of the shelves; it was like watching a manic Disney cartoon. Bashing the car, they shattered windows and violently assailed the chassis and anything else in the way.
The shelf unit began to twist slightly as some of the ceiling bolts managed to hold. I realized suddenly that I was in danger.
“Eeeeek!” I squealed as loudly as had the rack as I scurried out of the garage. I was aware and relieved that Cal made it out too.
A crowd had begun to gather.
A much shaken Cal walked over, shaking his head.
“Myrna, I...I...don’t know what happened. I don’t know what to say. I’m sorry about your car. Of course, I’ll pay for it...”
I laughed out loud, a little hysterically maybe. “Cal, we’re both safe. It could have been worse.”
“I just don’t understand though.” he scratched his head.
“Grease, I think.” I picked up a grease can and held it out. “Just a little more grease, please!
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