Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Red Bull

When Mitchell's car broke down he had to ride the bus everywhere for two weeks and he thought for a bit that he'd have to ride it forever thereafter because he didn't have any kind of money, really, much less two thousand dollars to fix a burned out piston line or whatever the hell that was they told him.  He wished he'd taken auto shop instead of home ec, which he took for the girls, but the girls in home ec turned out to be none of the pretty ones, and only the kind that already looked matronly and were planning your children's names while they helped you thread the sewing machine and then looked sorely disappointed in you like your mother when you sewed the cuff of a shirt on inside out.  He'd wanted to ask out the one thin and mousy girl who always looked lost when she looked at your face, but then the teacher had yelled at her for mishandling the washing machine, and she had some kind of panic attack where she couldn't breathe and great gobs of mucus flowed down her face, and she went out into the hallway, and Mitchell didn't see her again after that.  Not that it would have changed his car situation now anyhow.

Mitchell hated the way the bus smelled of food and diapers as if its mission was not to transport people to and fro, but to remind them that they were mortal animals and everything they did was somehow in the service of fried chicken and infants.  He thought that when you thought about things in the long run like that, it was bound to make you depressed and even suicidal, and the last thing the world needed was him depressed, because wasn't he enough of a drain on the energy of the universe back when he had to drive a 1989 Pontiac Sunbird around?  

He realized finally after two weeks of more self-pondering and seat-sharing than he thought was good for anyone that he wasn't getting his car back, but he certainly wasn't riding the bus for the rest of his life either, and when he told a man at the bar about his problem, the man bought him a Red Bull and vodka and told Mitchell he had a business proposition for him.

Apparently having the kind of job that requires you to haul ass all over the city every day, as well as being, on balance, fairly young and not misshapen, qualified Mitchell to receive free use of and even get paid for his time in, the Red Bull car.  This car was shaped something like an old Gremlin, painted silver red and blue, with the Red Bull logo on the side and a giant plastic Red Bull can on the top.  Mitchell would drive it around for work and hand out coupons and advertisements and make some money while he was at it.  

In his first day in the car, he drove by his old bus stop, slowed down and honked the horn and flipped off everyone standing there, which made him feel better about himself while simultaneously feeling bad about himself for feeling good about flipping off young mothers and professional types with briefcases.  He instantly resolved not to think about it at all anymore, but then the light at the corner was red and he had to sit there in the silver car with a Red Bull can on the top, right next to all the people he was not thinking about, and he wondered whether he should give them some flyers.  Then the light turned green and he drove away.  


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