So, there I was just minding my own business when along comes this car.
Cough, cough, splutter and a loud grinding high pitch whine, then BANG- before it’s all over.
Now it wasn’t that late and dangerous that I couldn’t afford a look at what was going on.
What surprised me was the faces- I blinked; I pinched, then blinked again.
No it just couldn’t be. There in the car, apparently in some heated discussion were two of the most, well, to my age and generation of slightly mature fellas, and not a few gals too, desirable personalities of the TV and movie screen, Alyssa Milano and Jennifer Love Hewitt!
Now by now I was wondering what was coming next? As I stood outside my immodest apartment complex first Jennifer, the driver, and Alyssa from the passenger seat, got out of the car ready to check under the hood. Now the dusky blue with silver pinstripes auto seemed to have suffered what is euphemistically called an aberration; but was in all appearance to me a severe meltdown.
Sounds like the turbo has gone ladies, I offered helpfully as they politely ignored me and went hood under. Jennifer kept looking, but Alyssa turned and asked if I was serious. I said in my best Southern drawl, “Yup”, and left it at that. She smiled pleasantly and turned back to J who was uttering her own interpretation of car mechanics abilities…
I caught,” just been f…n ripped off again” and other stuff a gentleman wouldn’t normally expect from a lady of her status and parentage.
She was straight on her mobile calling I don’t know who when the “cheap scum-bags” comment came out. Alyssa kinda looked embarrassed and I just stood, and watched. More language ensued as Alyssa came over and asked quietly, “so do you think we stuck here then?”.
“Yup ” I gave again but this time dropped the Southern twang. ‘Sorry to say but I’ve had a few go on me in the past, and I’d say that turbo is fried.” Car will need to be towed.”
She looked anxiously at J who was redder than her skirt. Alyssa explained,”Jennifer just got it back from an overhaul today as we’re on our way to Santa Barbara for a night out…”.
“Whoa” says I. “You girls were goin’ the wrong way then and well off track”.
“Oh no, I mean we are picking up an old friend who lives up here somewhere,” she explained sweeping her arm,: and then on to Santa Barbara for a night out. Well, we were…”
“Well if you’d like any help, ah Miss Milano, I’m happy to oblige” I said honestly, with some degree of enthusiasm.
“Oh please call me Alyssa, sorry, I wasn’t sure we’d be recognised. A bit embarrassing isn’t it… I guess you also know Jennifer then?”
“Not well,” I smiled, “but if her mechanic caused that then he’ll be happy to pay for it to be kept quiet. Reputation is everything in this town- even for low life auto boys, but I guess you know that already!”.
“Yeah, a little she replied. “Jenny, come over here… Jen, this nice man has offered to help us out, and he thinks your car will need to be towed because the turbo has gone.”
“Yes apparently. I just spoke to the lame ass who was supposed to have repaired it- sorry Miss Hewitt my fat ass… all he could say was they’ll have to pick it up tomorrow. I have to call back with the address. Where are we?”
Thinking how wrong you are my girl, no fat on that there ass, as much as I could tell and had seen from photos anyway.
“1795 Alberton” I said. “Well this is a pretty good neighborhood but I wouldnt leave my prized possession on the street overnight. We get the cruisers and the clowns who will want to steal and junk it even if they cant move it” I said to them both.
“Perhaps you’d like me to garage it for you…I have a spare here” gesturing to the complex.
“Oh I couldn’t ask you to do that” Jenny said, perhaps more wary of me ripping her off than anyone else. She was immediately on the mobile again and after another 5 minutes another “Bastards” came out.
Alyssa was on the phone as well, calling their friend apparently. “Kara will be down in a few minutes- her brother will drop her off and we can take his car she said”.
Jenny didn’t sound any happier and she sighed heavily. “Well those idiots think I’m going to pay them $250 cash to pick up the car in an hour.”
“Hell why so much?” I asked.
“Well just because, ya know, it’s their busy time, and its 11 miles from downtown, and the truck could do three local tows in the same time…” she yawned.” I’ll bet if I’d offered them a fu…”, she paused,”well some, ahhh, I’d have a dozen haulers here in minutes”.
“Jennifer! ” screamed Alyssa. “You rude girl, wash your mouth out…” she grinned and slapped Jenny’s arm at the same time.
“Well I reckon you’d be right ladies, however, I’ve offered and since this is my place here I can’t really run away or steal off you- so again if you’d like to have me store the car for your haulers until tomorrow I’d be happy to oblige,” I said as dispassionately as I could.
It was getting dark now and we’d begun to step closer just to see each others faces. I walked up the drive and clapped my hand and the security lights flooded on.
“Hey neat trick” Alyssa smirked,” I’ve known a few guys who dance to that tune”.
“Eww, now who’s being dirty girl,” asked Jenny. Alyssa just laughed and squealed and looked at me- looking at them.
Just then a low slung hatch rode up and out stepped another femme fatale, golden blond dressed in a glitzy frilly, old fashioned type dancing ball-gown. She was the spitting image of someone. Her hair was up but her lace top was not- a breast hugging tube that for the most part was unsupported- or encumbered, by any straps or internal support- and thru the holes I could discern the tanned flesh… oh my I thought, what a night for some lucky lads!
Leaving the girls and their friend to talk, I removed myself and walked to the middle garage and remoted the doors- the doubles swung open and I pulled my 4x out- on the front a winch that I intended to use to drag the whacked turbo into my space.
“Hey Mr Thompson” came out of the blurry lights and I finally recognised one of the college boys from the area.
I shook his hand and told him he kept nice company. “Ah no, not me my sister Kara,” he cried. “She’s been staying with us since her marriage broke up a while back” he explained.
Then Jenny came up to me and said, “Seems you are the saviour Mr Thompson, of our delayed night out. Bill here says you’re a local personality and if I have to trust anyone it had better be you. So thank you,” she said offering her hand to me,”in advance for being so kind. Sorry I wasn’t too receptive to your kind offer before…”
“Please I’m just Roger now, and may I say at this stage the pleasure madame, is all mine” and I bowed slightly and turned her hand over to kiss it, not shake. This perturbed the poor girl, Alyssa let out such a laugh and Bill grinned ear to ear.
“Ok, so now that we’ve kissed and made up…” Alyssa started smiling broadly and flashing those teeth in the lights…”perhaps we can move on- the night is awastin’ as they say ladies”.
I think Jenny was blushing by now, and I’d finally let her hand go I noticed when she said “Well, if there’s anything I can do to recompense you for, um you know, your kindness tonite, and of course I should get your number to give my garage, those ah, scum bags I was talking to earlier.”
Figuring it was now or never I went at it, “Well for myself it’s been a pleasure to meet you both- however I have nieces who are huge TV and music fans and I know they’d appreciate an autograph or photo perhaps as a souvenir of this meeting.” I gave her my business card and said anytime s convenient.
‘Which apartment is yours?” she asked quietly. I waved and told her that one, pointing at the upper story, adding,”but I own the complex, so all of them really. But I live on the upper hill side so I get the best views,” I didn’t say what of mind. “I’m semi-retired actually” .
“Oh” Jenny exclaimed. “And you’re a, a, an auto mechanic as well, Roger” she saw as she read my card. “I’m sorry I shouldn’t have been so insulting earlier. I was just so elated to get the car back and have a drive, then to have this happen tonite…”
“That’s Ok,” I said meekly. “I knew exactly how you felt”. There were a few times l let vehicles go out that didn’t feel right and caught heck for it when I was a boy. Since then I’ve learnt if it’s going to disappoint someone, it better be you, not the customer.
“Yes I was a mechanic, owned and managed my own business fro 20 years and now consulting to the big boys. RT Autos is now owned by the car company because they wanted a well run example dealership to use as a franchise base. Now I only work part time as a consultant, unless I really want to get my hands dirty. Speaking of which, Bill will you get the hawser for me?” and I smiled to her and walked back to the truck.
I turned on all the lights, spun head on down the drive and had Bill drag the cable out; once attached to the tow bolt I hauled it up while Bill steered around the drive and once on the flat we pushed her by hand into the garage.
“Well ladies” I said loudly,” you better git or you’ll be out till sunrise!”
“Ha ha,” says Alyssa,” we were going to do that anyway!” with a huge mischievous grin as only she can bare. With that she lept up on tippy toes, and pecked my cheek. “Let’s hope our motors keep running longer than Jens car did!”
A little taken aback all I could say was to agree,”No danger there I believe; mice will play etcetera…” and lightly touched her back as she turned away and pulled Jenny to the new car.
As they boarded I asked Bill if he wanted a lift home, but he refused. Said he was ok for a 10 minute walk. With that the ladies turned and left, waving to us as if we were old friends. Somehow that was nice. Maybe not as nice as if it were true, but…
Bill wandered off as I put the 4×4 back in the garage and went inside, quite excited by the evening events. A rather bizarre and yet fulfilling experience.
I called my old service manager at home, knowing he’d be interested but not enthusiastic about a rush job the next day. I may not have owned the business any more, but I could still get my own way on occasion.
“Dave, Roger, have a mission for you. Can you get Carl to come by asap tomorrow morning, by 7am, and pick up a rush job; Porsche, blown turbo; belts, cams, the lot. Yeah a special client. Also will need a validated assessors report and all signed off by noon. I’ll give you the details for invoicing and recharge. And I’d like a 120% clean and detail if it isn’t already done thanks. Have a good night.”
I knew Dave would be calling our hauler immediately to ensure I got the job on time. He knew if I said special client I meant it.
As for me, I figured a little pleasure was in order, so I stretched myself out in front of the screen with a tall beer glass and waited. I’d done my days work, and enjoyed my leisure time. No computer or internet or music tonite- just straight TV, game highlights and an old play I hadn’t seen in years.
About quarter after 12 it came. Three rings, pause, three rings then continuous ring for 2 seconds. A transfer call from my answering service.
“Evening Mr Thompson, I have Jennifer calling, will you accept the call?” my answering service asked.
“Yes, absolutely thank you” I replied dry mouthed.
“Hi Roger, Jenny here. I’m really sorry calling so late Roger- to finish off a really bad evening I accidentally forgot the present I had for my friend and it’s still in my car” she explained.
“I dont want to leave it there while the car is being serviced again, so do you mind if we stop by and pick it up. I hope this isnt too late for you or a terrible inconvenience, but we are heading back in Karas’ car right now and we’ll get a taxi back to the city from your place.”
I agreed of course, since I was just watching TV for a while and musing about the days events. I gave Jennifer the instructions to come in the electric gates and up to my deck by the stairs and pathway past the pool round to my patio…
When I heard the car arrive and giggles from downstairs I moved myself out to the patio and was sitting in the cool night air with a beer and a aromatic stogie, just enjoying the late night quiet and twinkle of the heavens. I heard the the gates opened successfully so I didn’t budge as the chattering got closer.
Then in the pale moonlight and subdued house two familiar forms and voices arrived. Beguiling in their glow, perhaps slightly tipsy but more girly and active, more at ease than earlier and beaming smiles from both, I welcomed them to paradise. Well my form of it anyway.
I stood up and walked to them inviting them closer to the table. Both ladies stood aloof for a while before Alyssa started.
“Hey nice security you have. How do I get one of those?” grinned Alyssa.
“Ah well, I kinda adapted a system slightly, but the concept works well dont you think? I responded. “The same codes wont work next time you try it, thats the beauty- an adapatable system so no-one gets an all day pass! Unless I give it to them of course! Its about privacy as much as security.
“Yeah real neat. I really don’t need that much security but I bet a few others do. That’s a nice walk and stairway past the pool by the way,” she added.
“Yes I like the flow of the path up the slopes, around the gardens and rockery near the pool. It looks better in the daylight of course. Sorry I don’yt have all the lighting instaled just yet. The hillside location was a bit unusual but I’ve adapted that to my needs as well.”
“Well, actually…” I hesitated, “I have the ideas, other people make them work for me I should say. SO how was your evening really?” putting my cigar aside for the moment.
“Oh it was a bust all right. Great idea but a few tangles…” said Alyssa smiling at Jenny who was perhaps waiting for pleasantries to be over.