I thought for sure that I had delivered my last car in 2011. Christmas had passed and New Years Day was just a few days away, so I was very surprised when Riff called me.
“Hello, little Miss Sunshine,” he said. “Are you still in Texas?”
“Go to Dallas and get a Tahoe SUV, then drive it to St. Simons Island, in Georgia. You’ll get another SUV there, and bring it to the Auto Auction in Richmond. Think you can handle that, pudding cup?”
“Got it.” I gave Riff a local Fax number so he could send me the paperwork, and started my journey. Once I got the SUV in Dallas, I began calling the woman in St. Simons to let her know I was on my way and arrange a date and time for the swap. She didn’t return my calls, and I began to get nervous. Because a lot of customers will ignore you over the holidays, not wanting to be bothered during the Christmas season.
Just as a crossed the state line into Georgia, the woman called me back. She sounded very terse. “This is Mrs. Parsons, I got your message and I want you to know that I don’t appreciate multiple messages. Where are you now?”
“On I-95. I just crossed over the Florida-Georgia border.”
“Oh my, you are close. I wish you’d called and given me warning.”
“That’s why I left the messages—“
She interrupted. “That’s all in the past now, let’s stick to the present. At your present rate, you should be here in under an hour.”
“Will that be convenient for you?”
“Not really, but since you are so insistent on coming I guess I’ll just have to put up with the intrusion. Now tell me, will you be taking this God-awful truck that I already have here?”
“Yes ma’am, it’s a swap.”
“Call it what you will, just get here, take it, and be gone.”
“No problem.” I drove on and found myself crossing the bridge onto St. Simons Island in less than 40 minutes. Mapquest is usually very accurate for my purposes, but every so often it can be confusing. This was one of those times, so I had to call her again. “Hi, this is Bill the driver. I’m a little lost, and hope you can help. I’m on the island, but—“
“I just knew you were going to be trouble. Are you coming from the east or the west?” Her words left me baffled, for I was coming from Texas, which is west. If I were coming to the island from the east, I would be driving up out of the Atlantic ocean. She gave me directions that had me loop in a circle and got me no closer. I finally asked for the name of her community, and then just drove til I found the entrance. I came through the gates, then drove til I found her building. She was standing outside next to an older SUV that looked very worse for the wear. “It’s about time you got here,” she said as I got out. All of the doors to her old vehicle were open, and it was full to the rafters of company and personal items. Boxes, children’s toys, clothes, various equipment, child car seats, etc.
“You have a lot of stuff here,” I noted.
“Yes, and it’s not going to move itself. Get started transferring all this to my new vehicle. Chop, chop.”
Now it’s not my job to transfer material or pack cars. But I felt that the sooner I got it done, the sooner I could get back on the road. So I started to unload from one vehicle and move it to the other. A kid’s pink blanket fell on the ground, and I said “Ooops,” and bent down to pick it up.
“Can you please be more careful with my things, this is precious cargo!”
“Don’t listen to that bitch, she will put you in an early grave,” said her husband as he joined us. He smiled and held out his hand to shake. “Jerry Parsons, nice to meet you.” We shook.
“Bill Thomas, my pleasure.”
“Don’t you call me a bitch, you bastard,” she shrieked.
“No one cares what you have to say, you wench,” he tossed back.
“How dare you speak to me that way. I deserve respect.”
Jerry laughed as he helped me carry her things. And there was a lot of things! “Respect is earned, and I haven’t seen you do anything to earn anything, you lazy slut.”
“You are calling me a slut?”
“Yes I am.”
“You are a wicked son of a bitch.”
“Guilty as charged.”
“You are a hard-hearted man.”
Jerry looked at me and winked. “She knows me all too well.”
“And you are an adulterer!”
Jerry dropped what he was carrying. “Don’t go there, lady.”
“You and your secretary wore out every motel bed in this county.”
“That’s all in the past.”
“Is it? Is it?”
“Yes it is, I’ve told you a hundred times, and you are a mean shrew for bringing it up again.”
“I’ll never forgive you!” she proclaimed.
“You are such an ice queen you drove me into her arms.”
“So it’s my fault!”
“Yes! It always has been.”
I hurried as fast as I could, anxious to get done and get out. I don’t like confrontation, and I was right in the middle of a big one. They both used me to block access from each other.
“If you want a divorce, I will be happy to oblige you,” Mrs. Parsons stated emphatically.
“For what? What have I done to you lately?”
“You’re still two-timing me with that little trollop at your office.”
“Trollop?” he chuckled.
“You heard me!” she screamed.
Jerry began to grab stuff and just hurl it carelessly into the new SUV. “You are such a…”
“What?” she asked. “I’m a what? And be careful with my things, you are being terribly cavalier.”
Jerry began to dance around in a circle. “Look at me, I’m a cavalier.”
She put her hands over her ears. “Shut up! Just shut up!” She ran into her condo, looking like she was about to break into tears. Jerry and I finished, and he seemed to calm down with her gone.
I offered him the clipboard with the paperwork. “Would you mind signing this, Mr. Parsons?”
“Huh? Oh, no, not at all.” He took the clipboard from me and signed on the bottom line. “No need to subject you to more of her histrionics. Me, I have to live with her.” He smiled and patted me on the back.
I drove away, starting my trip north to Richmond. I guess the holidays can be stressful for some folks.