When you should know better...
I walked toward the beat up black Lincoln with Arkansas plates knowing it was a bad idea to hire three Gypsies off the Internet to fix my car. Now, I have nothing against the Romani people, I'm just saying. All three of them were well over 6 foot, were close to 300 lbs and had full beards. I'm just saying.
I did it because they promised to save me a few hundred bucks. I kept saying "Hey man, you're saving some dough..." but as the sound of what was once my door screeched and the men looked at me with the glint of those bad guys in the Star Wars Cantina scene I would have just been happy to get out of there alive.
The street, normally a quiet cul-de-sac, was alive with bustle-- the three pirates slinging synthetic thermosetting polymers into dents of my once sexy speed machine, a team of construction day laborers renovating a house, a Portuguese man who hasn't smiled since 1972 overseeing a group of his own laborers next door, and an elderly couple with impossibly British accents getting out of a car too nice for the neighborhood and all this going on next to a all girls Jewish school replete with a Mikvah (if your a goy like me, that's a ritual bath that women take when they get their period--as if having it wasn't bad enough). Oh yes, and my brand new girlfriend was at my side. "If she stays with me through this," I thought "she must be the one."
Then some of the Romanis' epoxy, still in powder form, was lifted in the air by a breeze and gingerly sprinkled over the new car of one of the construction foreman. He was not amused that his vehicle looked like a freshly baked cookie. Things went mad. The aging Brits ducked inside their home. The workman put down their trowels. The menstruating Jewish girls were nowhere to be seen. The Portuguese man still didn't smile. Next to the Romanis, the foreman looked like a midget. The three men towered around him. They say that men who are short in stature or have small penises make up for it in bravado. The foreman, it seemed, suffered from both maladies.
And then, as if choreographed into a 900 pound ballet, the three giants sprung into action. One giant faced down the foreman, one jumped in the Lincoln and pulled it backward into the street, and the final giant faced me with a kind smile "The money." he said. I handed it over. He jumped in the car and was quickly followed by his compatriot. "Recommend us to your friends" one of them earnestly suggested as the car peeled into the parking lot of the all girls school taking a shortcut to the main avenue.
The street, covered in some unknown substance that is unique to car body work, looked a mess. Think a ticker-tape parade thrown for Satan after his upset win in the Armageddon. The unsmiling Portuguese man offered me two unsolicited brooms and a garbage bag. My new girlfriend and I went to work.
As for my car...the next day I took it to Maaco.