Okay, when you left me I was in the parking lot of a Peter Piper Pizza waiting for a tow truck. Now imagine wavy lines are partially obscuring this screen for the next couple of seconds, for I'm going to take you back in time, ah, how clearly I remember...

Okay, now we're in the parking lot of the UA Theaters (where nothing good is playing) pulling out of a space. When I turn the steering wheel this tremendous crunching/grinding noise emanates from the front right hand side of the car, as if a shoebox made of sheet metal had been sucked into the wheel well and it was tearing into everything it touched. I stopped the car and looked for the box, but finding nothing I went to Plan B--pretend nothing is wrong and maybe the noise will go away on its own. I almost immediately proceeded to Plan C--call work and see if somebody will rescue me. Plan C (unlike Plan B) has been useful in the past, but this time the advice I got from A Well Intentioned But Ultimately Useless Co-Worker But On The Other Hand He Was Working With Sharon Derived Facts So We Should Cut Him Some Slack But Then Again His Advice Was Way Way Off So He Shall Remain Nameless was, "It sounds like a clutch problem, but not a bad one. Go ahead and drive it home." The car wouldn't move at all, so I had to scramble for Plan D. I surveyed the parking lot and beheld a Discount Tires. Thinking tires must be the first step towards Total Car Omniscience, I went there for help.

Although the tire guys couldn't help, they knew other guys who could. This was especially fortunate considering Plan E involved teleporting Lauren from Utah and I'm not sure the technology exists yet. They gave me card with numbers on them and let me use their phone, and were very pleasant throughout. Buy something from Discount Tires, alright? They were really nice.

So that brings us back to where we were, waiting for the tow truck. And let me tell you, that tow truck was something. I couldn't help but describe it everyone I met for the next couple of days, but I kept getting that slack jawed, heavy lidded, Homer Simpson look, so I won't go into it here, but call me at Pat's house and I'll tell you all about it, it was so cool.

How my friends looked at me (you know who you are).

The tow guy asked what was wrong so I described the car's symptoms and recreated the noise for him. "Sounds like a broken half shaft," he said. I asked if this was an expensive malady, and when he named a figure well below a thousand dollars (I always choose a thousand dollars as a worse case dollar amount), I said that problem suited me. And off to Buddy's we went.

Buddy was a champ. He stayed late at the garage waiting for me, and when he predicted the same problem and dollar amount as the tow guy, I could have kissed him. He even gave me a ride to Cafe Nikos because I had arranged to borrow Partick's truck. I also wanted to brag about how well I was handling the whole car situation. "Look at how calm I am, Partick," I said. Then he point at my clenched fists and the veins popping out of both wrists. Nothing like a brother to blow your cool cover.

My car was repaired the next day, so that afternoon I had to drive from North Scottsdale where I work to Tempe where Partick lives so I could take him to work and still get back to my car before Buddy went home. Central Arizona had been subject to about ten drops of rain that afternoon so everybody on Hayden Road was in a state of alarm. Remember in A Bug's Life where the leaf falls in the middle of a line of ants and the poor drones are almost undone by panic? It was sort of like that.

So I arrived at Partick's house in a fretful state which had no impact on him whatsoever. He showered, he played Free Cell, he watched the first part of So I Married an Axe Murderer, while I wondered how I was ever going to get back in time. But I needn't have worried; getting from his house to Cafe Nikos was faster than I would have thought possible--it was like traveling through a worm hole. When we got there and I told Nick of my plight, he was good enough to offer to take me to Buddy's so I wouldn't have to call a cab, and to share his views on the Kosovo crisis on the way.

From here, the story gets really boring, so I'll wrap it up.

After I redeemed my car, I took it right to Burlington Coat Factory where I found the most wonderful raincoat for my Canada Trip, but that is another story for another day.

(Written by Sharon C. McGovern)

From Volume 6
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