I was talking to my miserable boss Riff as I approached my delivery address in South Bend, Indiana. "Why are you always running late, you little pissant?"
"Riff, I'm three hours ahead of the deadline you gave me. I drove hard to make it on time. And I just had the car washed and waxed as you instructed."
"Well, you are in for a treat. This lady sounds like a real piece of work. Enjoy yourself. And remember, do not accept a ride from her. Its her company's rule."
"I already have my exit transportation all arranged."
"I do." I hung up as I pulled into the driveway of Mrs. Edmonds. She came rushing out of the house.
"Are you Bill?" she asked frantically.
I smiled at her as I climbed out of the car. "Yes ma'am, Bill Thomas at your service."
"I was beginning to worry if you'd ever make it. Punctuality is a lost art, I suppose. What kind of car would you call this?"
I looked at the car. "I'd call it a Chevy Malibu."
She shook her head. "Oh gee, I was sort of hoping for a Cadillac."
I shrugged. "Sorry, this is the car your company wanted me to deliver."
"Now did you wash the car?"
"That's not true, now is it?"
"Beg your pardon?"
"Can you prove the car was washed? Do you have a receipt?"
"Yes, its right here." I reached into my pocket, trying to remain calm and cordial. I do not much enjoy being accused of lying.
Mrs. Edmonds snatched the receipt from me and looked it over. "Oh no, this is from the car wash across town. I would have preferred you use the car wash about a mile from here. I know the people there."
"I had no idea."
"No? Well I suppose that rings true. Now how does the car run?"
"Perfect. I drove it here from New Orleans, and didn't have any problems."
"You just fibbed to me, that's quite obvious. This is a used car, so its not perfect."
"OK, poor choice of words on my part. What I meant to say was that its in very good shape for a used car. I can promise you that it is my job to tell you if I find anything wrong with the car."
She eyed me sideways. "Are you sure?"
"Yes, very sure."
"Did I get a fuel card, along with current registration and insurance?"
"You bet, its all in the glovebox."
"Prove it!" she said, pointing at me. "Because that sounds like a tall tale to me."
"Mrs. Edmonds, is there some reason you doubt me?"
"You just sound like you're full of BS to me."
"Really sorry that you feel that way, but I'm being 100% honest with you."
"And you expect me to believe that?"
"I wish you would."
She walked around the car inspecting it with much more intensity than most customers do. And of course, she had every right to do so. I waited patiently for ten minutes. "I do not like this car one bit. But I suppose I have no choice but to accept it, do I?"
"I think you're going to like it."
"And I think you're wrong. Now where do I sign?" I handed her the paperwork and a pen, and pointed to the line with the X next to it. She waved the pen in the air several times before she put it down on the paper and signed her name. "Now I know you're going to need a ride, and I'm going to take you where you need to go, although I really don't want to."
"You don't have to."
"Well as I said, I don't want to. I'd rather not. But I'll do it if I have to."
"Thank you kindly, but there's no need. I have a ride all arranged."
"You do?" She came over close to me and began sniffing around me. "Do you smell smoke?"
"No," I said.
"I think your pants are on fire."
"Liar, liar. You don't have a ride arranged, do you?""
"I'm telling you the truth."
"OK, Mr. Truth Teller, if you are so honest then explain how you're getting out of here."
"I'm renting a car from Avis. The agent at Avis said he'd come and pick me up."
"That's a big whopper. Don't insult my intelligence. I would appreciate it if you'd leave my property immediately, liars are not welcome here. I will be reporting you to your company for this."
So I gave her a copy of the paperwork and started walking up the street to the major intersection where Avis had agreed to pick me up. And that's the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Honestly.