Snakes and Pills

190 - clairvoyant

Robert heard the low diesel hum of the tow truck before he saw it glide across the clean waiting room windows. His bright blue SUV was mounted on its back. Shiny, clean, but lifeless. His taxi delivered him to the shop a few minutes prior, the small yellow cab and it gruff immigrant driver being more adept at navigating traffic.

The mechanic coordinated with the driver of the tow truck to move Robert's vehicle into the optimal position, so that it could be let off the tow crane and easily put onto the shop's lift. Robert remained safely within the confines of the waiting room, watching.

They wrestled with the dead machine, eventually getting it into place. The reflection in the window rolled past him as the tow truck departed, and the mechanic pressed a button to elevate the SUV towards the rafters.

The man in overalls got to work by giving the underside of the vehicle a cursory inspection. The cause of Robert's vehicular woes was entirely unknown, so the mechanic had warned him beforehand that the diagnostic process might take a while.

Robert didn't intend to stand there and watch the entirety of the process. He trusted the professional to know what he was doing. He thumbed through the magazines scattered across the waiting room table. He didn't know that the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum put out a magazine, but stumbling upon it piqued his interest. Grabbing it, he settled into the outdated, uncomfortable couch, and began the arduous process of passing the time.

He was semi-engrossed in an article on the restoration of a P-38 Lightning, thus not observing the mechanic draining the fluids from his car one by one. He did not see the puzzled reaction the mechanic had as he inspected one of the fluids in particular. Nor how his face scrunched up when he dared to give it a whiff.

Robert only looked up from the periodical when he heard the jingle of the little bell attached to the waiting room door. The mechanic addressed him while toweling off his grimy hands. "Well, sir, I think we may have found the problem," he said.

"Already? That was quick," Robert responded with some enthusiasm, tempered only by the fact that he might not have a chance to read about what happened to the P-38. "So, what's the matter?" he asked.

"You'd better just come with me," the mechanic answered. Curious, Robert put down the magazine and rose to his feet, following the mechanic to the shop floor.

He led Robert to his car, and directed his attention to a drum barrel which had a hose in it, draining something from the vehicle. Robert peered into the open top of the barrel and saw a dirty, blackish-yellow liquid inside.

"It appears to be, uh, urine, sir," the mechanic informed him. He expected a surprised reaction from his customer, but Robert instead quickly found anger.

"Piss in my tank again?!" he shouted with frustration.

"Again?" the mechanic asked.

"Yeah, my goddamn son! Always putting piss in my things. I'm gonna get the fucker, I swear to god. This time, I'm gonna get him back, good!"

The mechanic didn't want to know anything more about Robert and his son, but he thought it was important to fully inform his client. "The astonishing thing is that it's about twenty-five gallons of urine, and it wouldn't have been easy for him to get it into the tank. It's not like he could have just, uh, stuck his junk in the hole and let it rip."

Robert just shook his head in frustration. "He saves it up, and believe me, he has apparatuses. All kinds of apparatuses for his little stunts," he briefly explained.

"This time, I swear," he said, repeating his oath.


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