The New Car
by BJ Neblett
© 2008, 2012
“That was the Jive Bombers with a moldy oldie… ‘Bay Boy’… 95… W-I-F-E… the station you’re married to! Hi there… This is BJ… your morning bad boy… reminding you there is still plenty of time to get in on the big Wifey Treasure Hunt… Just collect the items listed on the 95 W-I F-E web page… That of course includes a clear… unencumbered… title in your name… to a new DeRosa! That’s right… the new super sports car everyone is talking about! The first person to bring his or her completed Wifey Treasure Hunt list to the Wifey studios next Friday… wins the big $20,000 cash prize! Are we crazy? No! But anyone who’ll shell out a hundred-thou to win twenty grand must be!
“Wifey time… 9:36… time to check in with Alison… she’s out there broadcasting live… from Durango Motors…”
“That’s right BJ… we are here with the Wifey Wagon… at Durango Motors… kicking off their big…big… BIG month long tenth anniversary sale-a-thon… and… you know Durango Motors is the home of the no credit check… no down payment deal! Now here’s Dizzy Dan Durango to tell you all about it…”
“C’mon down! Now y’all heard the purd-day ‘lil lady… she’s about as right as rain in a Texas twister… They say I’m crazy… shoot… I ain’t crazy… I’m just dizzy… dizzy with all of these new cars! And they all gotta go! I wanna see every hombre behind the wheel of a new car from Durango… and when I say no down payment and no credit check… dang if I don’t mean it! Your valid work pay stub is your ticket to your choice of any new or used vehicle on my lot… and yes… that includes that sweet ‘lil heifer… the fantastic brand new DeRosa super sports car… the car everyone is talking about! Am I crazy? No… just dizzy! We’re open ‘til midnight… every night… so… c’mon down!”
A broad grin crept across Tommy’s face as he reached over and switched off the radio. Despite himself he laughed out loud. Then, forcing a stoic expression, Tommy wheeled the Cadillac Escalade into the dealership parking lot. Checking his looks in the rear view mirror and stealing a quick wink, he bounced out of the vehicle and sidled into the building.
A gleaming yellow-twist DeRosa sat regally at the center of the large showroom. Tommy slipped into the bucket seat of the expensive sports car, inhaling deeply the heady aroma of new car smell and rich Corinthian leather. He fought back a smile as he settled back into the body hugging seat, his fingers playing across the Brazilian walnut steering wheel.
“May I help you?” The pretty blonde in a pink suit carried the scent of orange blossoms. Leaning into the passenger side, she flashed Tommy a dazzling white smile. “It is something, isn’t it?”
Tommy stroked the leather and wood clad dashboard dreamily. “That she is…” Snapping out of the momentary reverie, he popped out of the car. “Yes, perhaps you can be of service.”
The woman shuffled nervously over to Tommy, a thin tanned arm outstretched. “I’m Ms. Allen, Junior Assistant Sales Person… Mr.…”
Tommy reached for the woman. “Assistant!” he said indignantly.”
Just then the woman let out a startled cry, jerking away from Tommy. “Why… you!” she screamed. “You… how, how dare you!”
A half dozen heads popped up from behind a half dozen cubicles like prairie dogs. A porter who was waxing a sedan looked up from his work. The small, surprised audience watched with amazement as Junior Assistant Sales Person Jenny Allen cracked Tommy a resounding slap across the face. “Why… you… you… oh!” She flailed about, registering a second stinging blow to Tommy’s cheek. In a frustrated huff, tears streaking her thick mascara, Jenny Allen bolted for the lady’s room.
Tommy wiped a tiny trickle of blood from the corner of his mouth. Making the most of the incident, he bent forward, covering his nose with a handkerchief, then straightened up, tilting his face skyward.
“My God, she broke his nose!” a stunned on looker muttered aloud. The comment made Tommy smile.
“What’s going on here?” An officious man in a yellow blazer and white slacks shoved his way through the gathering crowd. “What’s happening… what’s… oh my God!”
Tommy eyeballed the man. “Is this how you treat your customers?” he barked through the handkerchief with a nasally whine.
“Certainly not… Mr. Henderson, show this gentleman to my office, please, while I get to the bottom of this.” A bow-tied salesman took Tommy’s elbow, steering him towards a row of offices. They were met by a blue haired woman with gold rimmed bifocals and faded pearls. She glowered at Tommy, tossed her wrinkled face into the air and hurried past.
“He grabbed her!” she whispered into the yellow jacketed man’s ear. “Mr. Thompson, that… that man reached out and grabbed Ms. Allen right in the… in the…” Her face blazed the color of her fuchsia blouse. “He grabbed her right in the showroom! And I can’t repeat what he said… I’m a lady!”
Thompson gave the woman an incredulous look. “Are you sure? Did you see it happen?”
“Well, err… no… but, she told me! Poor Ms. Allen is in there right now in tears. She told me… just ask her!”
Annoyance showed on Thompson’s face as he looked around the small gathering. “Does anyone know what happened? Did anyone see anything?”
Finally the porter spoke up. “I seen it… she done hauled off and let that man have it, bang!” He let out an unrestrained giggle. “Then bang! She let him have it again.”
“But did you see what happened before that?”
A puzzled look crossed the porter’s face. “No… I can’t say I did.”
“Again, I’m really very, very sorry about all of this Mr. Hemphill. I promise we will get to the bottom of this mess.”
Tommy sat in a fake leather chair in the painted office of Stan Hemphill, Senior Sales Manager of Durango Motors. Wiping his bloody nose a final time, he slipped the handkerchief into his camel hair jacket, giving the salesman a vicious gaze. “I should sue…”
Stan Thompson jumped in his desk chair. “No… no… no need for that, Sir.” He cleared his throat nervously. “Please, I promise you I will handle everything.” Painting on his cheery salesman face, he beamed over at Tommy. “Now, what can we do for you today here at Durango Motors, home of the no down payment, no credit check deal?”
Stifling a smirk, Tommy looked the man dead in the eye. “Well, I did come in here to buy a car…”
Thompson slapped the desk, sitting straight up at attention. “Yes… of course… the DeRosa, a fine automobile. I could tell right away you’re the sports car type. It’s an excellent choice.”
Tommy quietly reveled in the salesman’s ebullience. He permitted himself to laugh out loud. “No, no I’m afraid not, Mr. Thompson. Not that I wouldn’t love to own the DeRosa!” His sighing expression was most effective. “Maybe someday soon… when that big raise and promotion comes through. No… but I am interested in a new convertible… something in blue.”
The grin nearly split the salesman’s face in two. “I think I have just what you want! Now…” he pushed a form in front of Tommy, “if you’ll just fill this out.”
Tommy shot the man a suspicious glance.
“Oh, rest assured, Mr. Hemphill, it’s just some basic information… for the contracts and title… name and address and such.” He slid the form further, holding out an expensive fountain pen.
Tommy’s stare relaxed. Reaching into his coat pocket he pulled out a payroll check. “I was on my way to the bank,” he said, accepting the pen and handing over the check. “I think you’d like to see this.”
Stan Thompson’s eyes lit up like a pair of runway lights at the figure printed on the check. “Yes… yes, of course. This will take just a minute while I verify employment.”
Tommy nodded and began to fill out the one page form.
Half an hour later, Tommy Hemphill strode into the private accounting office of Morrison L.L.C. An attractive middle aged woman looked up from her desk. “It’s about time…”
“And a good morning to you too, Ms. Pleshette…”
She frowned. “I was beginning to worry.”
Tommy rubbed his still sore red cheek. “Everything go ok here?”
The woman cracked a half smile. “They called just as you said. I told them you worked here eight years and were a valuable employee.” She shook a finger at Tommy. “I told you I wouldn’t lie for you.”
“And you didn’t. Technically I’m still an employee for another five and a half hours. Just as long as you didn’t mention I’d been laid off… permanently.”
“They didn’t ask and I didn’t volunteer.” Her expression changed. “Did you get Mister Morrison’s Escalade back into its parking spot in one piece?”
“Yes! Don’t worry. Old man Morrison’s in Florida. He’ll never know.”
“Well, get out of his camel jacket before someone sees you.”
“The old skinflint…” Tommy said bitterly, hanging up the expensive sports coat. “I should keep it, that’s the least he could do for firing me… after eight long years!”
“Now… you know… you were just caught up in the merger with Beavis Company.” The senior accountant shook her head. “Besides, you did alright, three month’s severance pay, plus unused vacation salary. By the way, why did you want your pay in two checks, one third on one check and the remainder on the second? And why did you have me post date the second check for next week?”
“Oh, you know how I am,” Tommy replied. “All that money… I may go do something crazy,” he winked at her, “like buy a new car.”
A week later Tommy stood in the showroom of Durango Motors, admiring the gleaming yellow sports car. “Ah… Mr. Hemphill, good to see you again. I hope you enjoyed your vacation. We have your car all ready for you. The paper work and keys are in my office.”
“Yes, well,” Tommy shook the man’s hand with a sheepish simper. “I’m afraid there has been a change of plans. You see… remember that promotion and raise I mentioned?” Pulling out the second check, Tommy dangled it in front of Thompson like a carrot. “I think I’ll take the DeRosa after all.”
Thompson stood mesmerized. Visions of huge commissions, a fat Christmas bonus, and an extended vacation danced in his salesman brain. The fancy sports cars were eye candy, window dressing to lure customers into the showroom. Sedans and SUV’s were the company’s meat and potatoes. His boss would kiss him for unloading one of the overpriced, hard to sell, ugly machines.
“Excellent,” Thompson managed through controlled breaths.
“What the hell is he doing here?!”
Thompson turned with a start. “Ms. Allen…”
Probationary Junior Assistant Sales Person Jenny Allen flew across the showroom. “Who do you think you are… coming in here… you… you…” she screamed, arms flying. This time she landed a pretty solid left hook to Tommy’s jaw before a passing salesman managed to hook an arm around her slender waist, pulling her back. But not before the point of her left pump connected with Tommy’s shin. “Come back for another feel… you creep?” She spit at Tommy. “You pervert!”
“Ms. Allen, you’re fired!” Thompson bellowed. “Clean out your cubicle!” The angry young woman was forcibly dragged away kicking and screaming.
Tommy wavered glassy eyed from the blow to his chin. He shook his head to clear the fogginess. “Why… what…”
“Mr. Hemphill, what can I say?” the stunned salesman said. “I just don’t know what got into that young woman. Are you ok? How do you feel? Do you need anything?”
Tommy rubbed his jaw. “Just my lawyer, I knew I should have sued the first time!”
“What in tar-nation is going on in my showroom?” Dizzy Dan stood in the doorway to his private office, the tips of his spit shined Tony Lama Boots reflecting his thick red drooping moustache.
“It’s nothing, boss, honest… everything’s under control.”
“Under control horse hockey…! Did I hear someone say something about suing? Bring that young fella thar in here!”
Tommy sat in a thick leather chair in the paneled office of the owner of Durango Motors. Adjusting his jaw with an audible pop, he pulled a cell phone from his jeans pocket. Flipping it open, he gave the dealership owner a wry gaze. “I’m going to sue!”
“Now hold on thar young fella. No need going off like a hair trigger six shooter. Let’s you and I chew the fat… err… talk.”
“The only talking I’m going to do is through my lawyer! That’s not the first time that crazy woman attacked me… in your showroom… for no reason!”
“Yes, I heard about that… now can’t we settle this thing peaceably like?” Dizzy Dan asked limp eyed.
“Sure we can… if you have half a million… no… a million… a million dollars handy!” Tommy replied angrily.
Dizzy Dan Durango jumped in his winged backed desk chair, clearing his throat nervously. “Now listen you man, please…” The thick cowboy drawl suddenly disappeared. “Be reasonable, son. I’m up against it! I’m in the middle of a big sales push. This is my busy season. I don’t need the publicity of a law suit. There’s no need to drag this thing out… make a federal case out of it that could last for years in the courts. And what good would it do? The dang lawyers would get it all in the end. Isn’t there some way you and me can settle this thing right here, right now?”
Tommy swallowed a grin and snapped the cell phone shut.
An hour later Tommy pulled up to a modest house in a quiet neighborhood. He beeped his horn. A pretty blonde in a pink halter and jeans bounced out the front door to the waiting car. She carried the scent of orange blossoms. Sliding into the passenger seat of rich Corinthian leather, she flashed Tommy a dazzlingly white smile. “It is something, isn’t it?”
Tommy’s fingers played across the Brazilian walnut steering wheel. “Not bad,” he quipped, “it’ll do.”
The blonde leaned over and kissed Tommy’s cheek. He winced in pain. “That’s quite a left hook you’ve got there Ms. Allen.”
“Sorry, honey. But you said to make it real.”
With a wink, Tommy twisted the ignition key. The lemon twist DeRosa fired up with a roar. “C’mon,” he said, slapping the expensive sports car into gear. “Let’s get over to the radio station and collect our twenty grand.”