Editor’s Note: Recently, popular articles such as Massachusetts Presidential Hopeful Turns Down Jeep Sponsorship and GM Criticized for Referring to Discontinued Models as “Epsteins” (Because They Didn’t Kill Themselves) have sparked intense debate online, inundating Facebook with vitriol from both sides of the political aisle. To comply with Community Standards, The Lemon has been asked to incorporate content of a more reserved nature. Well… We think that we might have found the perfect new contributor from a 1982 issue of Readers Digest that we read while waiting for an oil change at our local Chevy dealer. Then again, maybe we were just high on exhaust fumes. We can’t remember. But she sent in this story so, here is The (new and improved) Lemon, with a story so normal, so believable, it might just get me fired.
Last week while I was out for a walk in the worst weather. Normally, I (a sane human) wouldn’t subject myself to such unpleasant weather, but I was experiencing a menopausal hot flash so hot I was sure Mother Nature had turned on a blast furnace. The whipping wind, icy sleet, and thick cloud cover all worked in my favor, but I still found myself needing a moment to unbutton, unzip, and untie all the layers. As I stood there wrestling with my layers in front of a local car dealership, one of their toothpaste smile sales associates began to make small-talk. In what I can only interpret as a misguided attempt to rope me into a sale, he invited me in for a cup of Joe.
“Joe who?” I asked, a little too preoccupied with my overheated state. He laughed, confirming my suspicion that I’m hilarious. Then again, they’d probably be willing to spare some water, so I followed his lead. He held the door open and gestured me inside, which made me even hotter and more bothered in the warm, bright showroom.
“So… Coffee?” the man said, his smile gleaming at me. He winked, and I wondered if he might have something in his eye.
“Right, coffee,” I said, uncertain if this was a wise course of action as I felt the sweat collecting in deltas under my remaining clothes. At that moment, someone with a smoking vehicle drove past the wide windows and around to the back, where I assumed the garage must be. “Uh, I actually think it would be better if it was iced. Do you have anything cold?” I asked, tugging at my coat in an effort to get more air. “I’m roasting!”
“Been out for a run or something?” he asked, chuckling harmlessly to himself. I was clearly not dressed for a workout, but he seemed good-natured.
I struggled with my coat for a moment, and then he awkwardly offered assistance to get the sleeve unstuck from my damp wrist. “Thanks,” I muttered, and swept my eyes across the vehicles in the showroom. Signs dangled from the ceiling and every surface seemed to be designed to pick up any light on the blinding surfaces. That’s when my eyes landed on the one thing I couldn’t help but see. It was midnight blue, sparkling, and its front end was practically rearing up like a stallion ready to escape its pen.
The enthusiastic sales associate (let’s call him ‘Bryce’) noticed my laser-focus on one of the vehicles, and I could almost hear his salivary glands working overtime. Sweeping past him, I glided over to the edge of the car, drinking in the odor of new-car-chemicals-that-act-like-love-potions as I poked my head inside for a better look. My heart hammered at my ribs, probably trying to tell me I needed medication or an oxygen mask, but I ignored it, completely intoxicated with the desire to be sitting behind that wheel.
“Is this what love feels like?” I whispered to myself, in awe of this breathtaking vehicle that stirred my soul more than two failed marriages and a weekend romance at a Women in Business conference ever had.
“So, you like a little heat under the hood, huh?” he said, close enough for his hot breath to stick to my neck. Startled, I jumped back— lost my footing—and promptly slipped, falling onto my back. But on the way down, my feet must have taken Bryce out at the knees, because we fell like dominoes, leaving me with a nice view of the undercarriage.
“Wow, that’s a hell of an engine,” I made the mistake of saying, realizing that I was probably staring at the exhaust manifold or something. Bryce rose up with a large goose egg forming on his forehead. “Are you alright?” he asked as if I was the one with a goose egg on my forehead.
“Is this Camaro for sale?” I asked, pointing at the shiny metal object that had suddenly become the object of my desires. You know, the one with the sign that said ‘Camaro.’ I mean, who doesn’t want to put the pedal to the metal in something so magnificent?
A large man in an ill-fitting suit stepped forward, taking advantage of the hesitation. He stuck out a meaty paw. With his help, I rose to my feet, eye level with his name tag, which read: Allen Wren, Sales Manager.
“Allen Wren—isn’t that some kind of tool?” I asked.
“Depends on who you ask,” he said as the crowd of employees and customers wandered back to their conversations and offices. “So, you like muscle cars?”
“Well, I like this one,” I said, peer into the leather-clad interior while drawing in one more whiff of power and freedom.
“Have you ever owned a Camaro?” Allen asked, following me while I walked around the car, unaware if my face was dripping sweat or drool.
“No, it’s never been practical,” I said, fanning myself with some free literature I had grabbed from a nearby display. “But I think I need to take this for a test drive.”
Allen’s eyes bugged in surprise, but he recovered quickly. “Oh, yeah… Let me go get the keys…” and he wandered away, patting himself down for a pen. I opened the driver door and slid across the slippery black leather, gripping the wheel in anticipation of the moment the engine would roar. A siren wails in the distance, and Allen returns with license plates and keys at the same moment as the siren closing in on the dealership. We both stared as the ambulance rolled up to the front; paramedics hopped out, pulling on nitrile gloves ominously as they enter.
“Did someone call for an ambulance?” asked the driver.
“Uh, I’m not sure,” Allen said, twisting his doughy body to look back at the offices. No one seems to have noticed the ambulance. “Hang on, let me find out,” he said, excusing himself from our conversation with an apologetic glance, ducking into one of the rear offices. He emerged with Bryce, who was holding a bag of ice to his swollen and discolored face, with what appeared to be blood-soaked tampons sticking out of his nostrils. I felt horrible. Then I laughed at the irony of hurting the only Bryce in the world who probably didn’t deserve to have gotten his ass kicked by a startled woman.
Allen returned, smiling like the Cheshire Cat, tossing me the keys. I pressed the fob to start the vehicle; it came to life with a satisfying rumble. A grin spread across my face, and Allen used a remote control to open the showroom door so we could drive out. No sooner did the doorway open than my foot hit the gas with a mighty squeal across the shining tile. And that’s how my hot flash got me a hot rod.
Editor’s Note: Damn those CO2 fumes. Also, if you’re hiring, please connect with me on LinkedIn.