The Tire Shop Space Lord

“You take care now,” he said, and he moved toward the door and went out of the building and into the remains of a blustery day like a vibrantly psychedelic Saint Winnie-the-Pooh.

I was feeling a bit shagged and soggy on a wet day in a long-ago February of the regular world. I was driving my beat-up Mazda race car down the busy anal canals of this city when there came a bump and a thump and a wiggy woggy of one of my tires. I thought maybe I had hit a skunk or one of the green children of Woolpit.

I pulled off to the side of the road in a den of somewhere somewhat safe and took a look. I don’t know anything about cars, well not much. I can pump gas and put in windshield washer fluid and that’s about it. A mechanic could tell me, “You need a new Johnson rod in here. Be about three grand.” I wouldn’t know if he was bullshitting me or not.

Anyways… I got the car over to one of the local tire shops and they told me they could get to it in about six or seven hours. I glanced through the back shop windows and all the mechanics were laughing and goofing off. “Okay,” I said, and I handed over my keys and went to the seating area with all the other idiots.

They had the TV tuned to one of those home improvement shows where rich people boast about how much house they can afford. A female customer started crying when the guy behind the counter told her it would be $2,100 to fix her car. “I can’t afford that!” she cried out through her wet face. “How do you sleep at night!? This is robbery!”

“I’m sorry, mam. The cost of everything has gone up. We’ve got no control,” the man behind the counter told her. As if that would do any good. (And then he turned and winked at the invisible camera that’s always there).

“How am I supposed to get to work to get paid to pay for car repairs to a car I can’t even use to get to work!” She screamed. The man behind the counter reached for the phone to probably call the police, or the psychic hotline he readily used. As if that would do any good.

I noticed an older gentleman in unfancy clothes and who somewhat resembled the late, great Wilford Brimley sitting across from me. I could tell he was listening in on what was happening just off behind us. I could tell he was thinking, maybe not just about oatmeal and being grumpy, but real human and important things.

The woman who had been crying at the counter came and sat in the waiting area with us. Her face was red. Her eyes were wet and puffy. She reached into the small purse she had and retrieved some facial tissue to absorb her tears.

“They sure do get us any way they can,” the Wilford Brimley look-alike said to her from across the way.

The woman looked up at him. She tried to smile, but she just couldn’t. “They sure do. And they sure don’t seem to mind about it one bit. They sit up there in their fantastical kingdoms in the clouds, stuffing their pockets and getting fat while I’m down here working my ass off for them. And what do I get? More problems. More worry. More suffering. I’m half-minded to go tell them to just keep the god damn car and shoot me in the head.”

The Wilford Brimley look-alike man cocked his head as he looked upon her with warm pity. “I’m sorry for your troubles, mam. But today might just be your lucky day.”

She looked at him and snorted, disbelieving. “My lucky day? How could this possibly be my lucky day?”

“That’s right,” he said, and he leaned forward in his chair. “Do you know that I’m the only one who doesn’t have a car here to service?”

“What? Why? Do you just like to hang out in waiting areas at tire shops? That’s weird.”

“It’s not weird for you.”

“And why is that?” she asked.

“Because I’m the Tire Shop Space Lord… And I’ve been waiting for you.”

All eyes in the tire shop lounge grew wide.

The woman laughed as best she could. “Oh, boy. Not what I need right now.”

The Tire Shop Space Lord looked around the waiting area while the sound of an air wrench whirred back off in the shop, a tight grip on the nuts. “What do you mean by that?”

The woman sighed, frustrated. “I don’t need some bullshit prankster getting me worked up. It’s not funny. This is my life. This is serious for me. My livelihood is on the line.”

“Mam, I’m well aware of that. I’m not here to prank you or set you up with some kind of false hope. I’m here to help you.”

“Help me? Unless you’re prepared to give me $2,100 there’s nothing you can do to help me.”

The Tire Shop Space Lord got up from his seat and walked closer to where she was sitting. He stuck a hand in his pants pocket and pulled out a wad of cash. He carefully flipped through the bills with his fingers, the bushy white moustache that took up most of his face twiddled like a summer caterpillar as he counted to himself. He handed her the money. “Here you go. That should cover it and a little bit more for some gas and groceries. You look hungry, too.”

She slowly reached out her hand toward the cash. Her eyes were wide, her mouth was wide. “Are you serious?”

“Yes, mam. I’m very serious. Now, you take this and go over there and tell that fella to get started on fixing your car.”

“I don’t even know what to say… My, God. Thank you. I just don’t believe it.”

“And that’s just why I’m doing it,” and he looked around at everyone there. “Because you all live in a world where something like a random act of kindness and unselfishness is so hard to believe. That’s a sad thing.”

“Can I get your name, your number? I feel like I need to pay you back somehow,” she said.

“No. There’s no need for any of that.” He smiled at her. “You take care now,” he said, and he moved toward the door and went out of the building and into the remains of a blustery day like a vibrantly psychedelic Saint Winnie-the-Pooh.

A young man bathed in second-hand grief and grubby foolishness sat up and nodded at her. He had been watching everything with great interest. “You better check to see if that’s real money,” he said to the woman. “He might just be some kind of cuckoo puff getting his kicks messing with young gals.”

She flipped through the bills, felt them, studied them. “It sure does seem like real money,” she said. She put the cash to her nose. “Smells like money.”

“Is that right?” the young man said. He adjusted his grimy ball cap. “I guess it is your lucky day… But I sure do hope he’s not some old perv waiting for you out in the parking lot. You know, expecting a favor in return. You might want to be worried about that. He might snatch you up and carry you away.”

The woman wondered about what the young man said. Maybe it was too good to be true. Maybe she was in some sort of danger. Nobody does things like this. Not in this world. Everything has a price.

She stuffed the cash into her purse, got up out of the chair and went outside. The Tire Shop Space Lord was not in the parking lot. She carefully made her way down a grassy slope toward the busy street. She looked left, then right. Then she saw him. He was sitting all alone on a bench at a nearby bus stop.

And time rushed by quickly and the long, windowed silver minnow machine passed by her overhead and temporarily blotted out the sun. It paused at the stop where he was, and she watched the beam of light come down and touch him, and the ship drew him toward its lit belly and swallowed him like a reverse birth before shooting off to wherever they were from.


2 thoughts on “The Tire Shop Space Lord

  1. This is such a likable story, starting with the reference to Wilford Brimley. May each of us have an encounter like this one with our own Space Lord. Thanks!

Your thoughts?


%d bloggers like this: