“I guess it had to happen sometime. Wait, no it didn’t. I can’t believe it happened at all. Can not,” he said, over-emphasizing the tuh in not. The car slowly pulled away.
“Was she pissed?” G- asked.
“Huh?” he responded, waking from contemplation.
“The old lady you just talked to,” G- clarified.
“Oh, no. Well, not about her car wash. That’s the weird thing. But she called me a pussy,” he said, still working his way back to reality.”
“What?” G- asked.
“Not just me, actually,” he said.
“So what happened?”
“Let me see. I guess the best place to begin is with the fact that it is supposed to snow tomorrow. If we start there, the next step is to divide the residents of this city into two groups, for the purpose of this story. Group one: residents who, today, think, ‘Gee, it’s a great day for a car wash.’ Group two: residents who do not. Now, G-, you and I are clearly in group two, right?” he asked.
“Right,” G- answered.
“That old lady, on the other hand, is in group one, right?” he asked.
“Yep, she sure is,” G- responded, enjoying the banter.
“Good. It’s important that we agree,” he began again. “Anyhow, I’m sure you heard that she had a dog with a pretty ferocious bark. When I saw the guys signal that her car was ready, I trotted towards it, meeting her along the way. I was hoping–as usual–to use engaging small talk and piercing eye-contact to distract her from inspecting their work. So intent on my mission was I, that I forgot my surroundings; forgot them, that is, right up until the dog that was now standing directly at my side let out another very loud bark, unexpectedly. This startled me, as I think you can imagine. I mean, quite literally, I jumped at the sound of it. Then I began laughing at myself and recounting the moment to the old lady. I told her, ‘Man that scared me.’ All I got back was a look that I couldn’t place. I ushered her towards her front door, and that’s when she stopped and said dryly, ‘I think you all are kinda pussies for being scared of my vicious dog.'”
“She actually said ‘pussies’?”
“What’d you say?”
“Before speaking, I looked at her hard, because, remember,” he paused for effect, “she’s in group one. Then I decided her imbalance wouldn’t likely result in violence, and frankly said, ‘Ma’am, I don’t think I deserve to be called names today.'”
“What did she say back?”
“I could tell that she felt my meaning with her heart, but she didn’t back down much at first. Then she went on to explore, in a dry, lamenting manner, how it surprised her that her dog could cause such fear in so many people. I explained that I didn’t mean that I was scared of her dog, but startled nonetheless. It seemed that maybe I wasn’t the first person to comment on the animal today, and she remained in a state of silent query after my explanation,” he continued. After a breath, he resumed, “I then tried to clarify that, perhaps, unlike the other people she dealt with earlier, I just don’t like dogs anyhow, nothing against hers. Admittedly, I couldn’t help myself and added, ‘I don’t understand you people anyhow. Toting your dogs around in your cars and all that.’ I mean, seriously, G-. Did I tell you I saw a lady with a litter-box, as in a functioning, full of kitty litter litter-box on the floor beneath the passenger seat in the front of her car earlier today? Dubble-yoo tee eff?”
“How’d she take that?”
“Judging by her expression, I’d say she was genuinely shocked to discover that there exists a human being whose conclusions differed from her own.”
Laughing, G- responded, “Sounds like a pretty big moment for her.”
“We can only hope that the depth of the experience compensates for the brevity.”
(If you’re short on time, skip to the bottom for numbered instructions).
In the classic western Tombstone the new actress in town is awestruck by who-she-doesn’t-yet-know-is Wyatt Earp. The actress’s friend says to her, “My dear, you’ve set your gaze upon the quintessential frontier type. Note the lean silhouette…eyes closed by the sun, though sharp as a hawk.”
For some reason that quote sprung to his mind when he thought of describing his new boss. Standing a lean 6 feet, the man’s movements signaled to all–customers and staff–that he was in charge. But that’s not the extraordinary thing. What’s extraordinary is his oneness with the job.
It’s retail. Business can be slow or fast. Apart from the length of the line, anyone wanting to know how busy it is need simply look at the man. When business is slow, he focuses on the numbers and keeps everyone ready for it to pick up. When business is fast, his smile beams an uncommon love of the job. The line of customers can be out the door, and he just smiles and smiles. Where some would be stressed, he handles the situation with exceptional grace. This grace stems from a certain pride in knowing that he is doing his job well. In response to “man, you should see your face. How are you so happy?”, he clarifies “It’s not that we’re busy, it’s that we’re so busy and things are running so smoothly.” His smile betrays his joy. It is a joy founded on purity. And that is why he is the boss.
Instructions for How To Get A Raise
Step 1 — FLATTER your boss endlessly.
Step 2 — REPEAT Step 1.
“Alrighty. I’ve got the car towels, window towels, soap, vinyl cleaner, leather cleaner, leather conditioner, window cleaner, gloves, plastic belt, long sleeve shirt, hat, and comfortable shoes. Most importantly, I’ve got a winning attitude,” he said aloud to no one. What he wouldn’t utter, even to himself, was his plan.
The roar of the turbine-engine-sounding blowers startled him out of his daydream. “It’s go time,” he thought to himself.
As soon as the car made its way from the tunnel to his side he went to work. First the exterior, then the wheels, then the inside. “Wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am,” he proclaimed to himself, whip-cracking the ground with his damp towel. “Ford, ready!” he called.
A gentleman walked his way. Standing ready at the door, he surmised he’d get a decent tip.
“Thanks for coming in today. Have a great day,” he said, his voice without expectation.
“Thank you,” the gentleman replied in kind.
Closing the door, he walked empty-handed around the back of the car. Checking that the driver wasn’t looking, he ducked low. He only had a moment to decide. “Fuck it,” he said, the purr of the exhaust causing his heart to race. He opened the back door and quickly slid across the back seat until he was directly behind the gentleman.
Noticing the intruder before the pain, the gentleman released a terrified gasp. Struggling to get a word out, the gentleman realized the trespasser had thrust a knife into his right side and was now yelling, “Drive! Drive you cheap, ungrateful, son of a whore!”
The tires smoked as the car launched forward. Forgetting to follow the generally accepted “stay on the pavement” rule, the gentleman sent the car straight ahead. The incision lengthened an inch as the car jumped the curb. The assailant felt this unexpected delight and thought, “Serves him right.” Filled with a boyish excitement, he maintained his grip on the ribbed knife handle and twisted frantically, as if he discovered suddenly that the door to the room in which he planned to hide from an approaching devil was locked.
“Now, here’s what’s going to happen. You’re going to drive. You’re going to drive until you’re dead. You are dying today, and I am the man who is going to kill you. There is no chance to change this course of events,” he dictated, calming at the sound of his own voice.
“Wh-what? Why?” the gentleman asked.
“Don’t ask questions,” he said, pulling the knife and some entrails out of the gentleman’s side.
“Mother!” the gentleman cried. “I’m sorry kid. Whatever I did, I’m sorry.”
“Ha. Arrogant to the end, eh? Like anything you did deserves death at the hands of a car wash kid? No. Call for your mommy, call for your daddy. Tell me to pass a message to your wife and kids. But do not believe that this is about you. This was never about you. This is about me. The only thing I want you to regret is your choice to get your car washed today,” he said, plunging the hunting knife into the gentleman over and over again until the vehicle crashed into a billboard which read, “Dirty Car? Stop in Today for $10 Off Our Standard Wash’n’Vac Service.”