I was given a brand new car in Dallas last week, headed for Las Vegas, Nevada.
It was a sleek black Chevrolet Impala, and I knew it would be a pleasure to drive.
I had called the customer, a Mr. Andy Bertram, to tell him that his company car was on its way to Vegas. He sounded like a very nice man, both grateful and anxious to get this new car.
On the day I was to arrive, he called to tell me that he was running late, and asked if I arrived before him whether his wife could sign for the car. I told him that was no problem whatsoever.
I pulled into their driveway on a suburban street just after 12 noon on a Monday.
I walked to the front door and rang the doorbell. The door opened, and a very stern and severe-looking woman threw open the door.
“Who are you?” she snapped.
“I’m your friendly driver, I have a car for your husband.”
“I know who you are, but why are you talking to me?” she spat.
“Your husband told me that you would sign for the car if he was not here.”
“Oh no, no sir, no way. He had no right to tell you that. I have no idea what condition that car is in.”
“Mrs. Bertram, I just drove it here from Dallas and I can assure you that its in top-notch condition. Its brand new.”
“Its not brand new if you drove it from Texas, it has some miles on it. And if I’m going to sign for it, I’ll go over it with a fine tooth comb first,” she demanded.
“Oh, I encourage you to do to,” I politely offered.
“You can just bet I will.” The woman snatched the keys from me, then reached inside the house and grabbed a measuring tape and a magnifying glass. She began to go over every inch of the car, measuring and inspecting the body for any blemishes of any kind.
When she climbed into the car, she shrieked in outrage. “What's the meaning of this? There's a CD player in this car.”
“Um, yes, that's right. It's a good one, too.”
“As you well know, all our music is on cassettes, we don’t have CD’s..
This is totally unacceptable, we can not and will not take a car in such
substandard condition. We expect a quality car.”
Nora held her hand up firmly. “No buts about it, you can just take this car
back where it came from and bring us another one."
“Actually, I can't do that,” I gently explained.
Nora's face reddened with anger. “Then there's going to be trouble, I hope
you're prepared for that!”
As Nora was speaking, an Old Rusted Car pulled into the driveway. ANDY
BERTRAM a meek little man, got out and walked up to us. As he looked at the car I had brought for him, his face lit up like a kid on Christmas morning.
“Hello, you must be my driver,” he said cheerfully.
“Yes sir, Bill Thomas.”
Nora slammed the door closed on the Impala and said, “Don't worry, I already told him to take the car back where he got it.”
“You did what?” he asked incredulously.
“Mr. Bertram, this is your new company car, and I assure you it is in fine condition.”
Nora wagged her finger at me. “Except that it doesn't have a cassette player. Andy, you know good and well that all our music is on cassettes. This has a CD player, can you believe that?”
Andy shrugged. “It's a company car, honey. MY company car.”
Nora was adamant. “It's totally unacceptable, he'll have to take it back.”
Andy shook his head sadly. “Nora, did you take your pills today?”
“Shut up! I am not crazy!”
“Honey, I didn't say you were crazy,” Andy said with some caution in his voice.
Nora eyes darted around nervously. “You implied, it was implied.”
“No sweetie, I just want you to be well.”
“So I'm sick, am I? Is that it? You bastard! You’re all against me,
no one ever takes my side.” Nora rushed into the house.
I figured I should hasten my exit. “Just sign here and I'll be out of your hair.”.
Andy signed and I gave him a copy of the paperwork. “Listen,” he said, “I
appreciate you bringing my car, it's very nice. Sorry about my wife.”
“Oh, she was no trouble at all. I’ll be headed down the road, there’s a city
bus stop at the end of your street here.”
As I walked down the driveway, Nora stormed out the front door, carrying
a baseball bat, readying to swing it at the car. “We'll just see what condition
this car is in.”
Andy jumped into Nora's path and grabbed the bat, and they struggled for it.
“No Nora, not again.”
“I'm gonna smash it!”
“No Nora, please. Remember what the Judge said the last time?”
“I need to teach those sons of bitches a lesson.”
As I walked away, I couldn’t help wondering what the Judge said, and what exactly happened the last time.
I’m certain that many people will read this and find it hard to believe that it really occurred exactly as I described. I can only promise you that there are a lot of very odd and unusual people in the world, and one by one they all find me. What may seem bizarre to you is my daily life. And the driving fool continues down the highway, trying to keep it between the lines.