| The Mechanic
By Ernest Roberson Sr.
It was Saturday evening when Rick Olsen unlocked the door to his 30 by 30 metal storage building. He
walked inside and turned on the florescent lights which revealed a blue Bugatti Type 35. Only a few of
these cars remained in near mint condition and he was the owner of one. The car was purchased in
Europe by Rick’s grandfather after World War 1, which he has shipped to the United States. His dad
inherited it in the 1940’s and he then inherited it in 1994.
Rick walked over to the stand-up tool box and got a silver wrench. Then he walked towards the car and
unlatched the hood to reveal the motor. Rick put the wrench on bolts and nuts checking to see if they were
tight. Afterward, he shut the hood, put the wrench back into the toolbox, and got a rag from a drawer of the
toolbox. Rick then walked back over to the car and wiped it free of any dust.
He let up the roll up door by a chain and hooked it securely into a latch. Rick walked back to the car and
opened the driver side door, sat in the driver seat and closed the door. He started the car's engine and let
it idle for about a minute before he drove the car out of the storage building. About every three months
Rick would drive the car about a mile from his house in Glenwood, Georgia down Highway 19 South. He
wouldn’t drive too far due to fearing that he’d get into an accident and didn’t want to put any unnecessary
mileage on the car. And once he was finished driving, he’d back the car back into the 30 by 30 metal
storage building and close the doors.
But today as Rick was backing up into the storage building, the transmission went out on the car. He
got out of the car, walked to the storage building and got the cordless phone from the base. Once he got
off of the phone, Rick placed it back onto the base and walked towards the Bugatti Type 35. He scooted
on his back underneath of the car. Rick couldn’t see anything wrong or tore up with his bare eyes, so he
figured that it must be on the inside somewhere. He wiggled his way from underneath of the car and
brushed the grass off of himself. Then he took off his long flannel shirt and shook it repeatedly.
About an hour later after Rick hung the phone, a tow truck drove up his driveway. There’s Mike now
Rick said to his wife walking out of his wooden house. The screen door slammed behind him as he
walked towards the Bugatti Type 35 as Mike was in the process of backing up to it. Mike Lawson stopped
the truck five feet in front of the car and got out.
“So she finally let you down huh?”
“I surely hope not”, Rick replied.
“We’ll get her to the shop, put her on a lift, and find out for sure what’s wrong,” Mike said.
“Maybe it’s nothing too serious or hard to find a part you know?” Rick said.
“Don’t you mean too expensive Rick?” Mike asked with a grin, as he was loading the Bugatti Type 35
onto the rollback.
Mike took off his work gloves as Rick looked up at the car on the rollback.
“I’ll be down at the shop shortly,” Rick said.
“You know where the key is,” Mike replied.
“Oh, what about the towing fee?” Rick asked as he pulled his leather wallet from his left back pocket
and pulled out $200. “Here you go,” Rick said offering the large bills to Mike.
“That’s too much.”
“Not to me, it isn’t.”
“I see it as underpaying you Mike even though I trust you with her.”
“Well, if you insist,” Mike said getting the money from him.
As Mike drove down the driveway Rick walked towards the shop and closed the doors.
Rick had put on some work clothes and drove to Mike’s shop on the Northside outskirts of Glenwood in
his gray Dodge pickup. He stopped the truck at the eight-foot high chain link fence, put it in the park
position and got out. He found the key and unlocked the padlock. Rick put the key back, got into his truck
and drove into the fenced in area. He drove to the office door and shut off the truck's engine. Rick sat in
the driver’s seat looking at all of the vehicles around the shop.
“Maybe it’s not something major to where I have to abandon my car like these,” He said softly, opening
the door of the truck to get out.
As he walked, dust came up from the sand on the ground. It hadn’t rained for nearly two months now
and everything was dry and humid. Standing at the office door now, he knocked with his right hand balled
up on the metal door then waited for an answer.
Rick was welcomed in by Joe Lawson, Mike’s brother.
“We got it lifted up in the air and I looked it over the best that I could,”
“What do you think it could be?”
“Probably like you guessed, the transmission,”
“Where can we get a 4-speed manual transmission from that you might know of?” Rick asked.
“I’ll have to do some digging and I’ll try the internet but I’ll get something for you,” Joe replied.
“So there’s nothing that we can do right at the moment then?” Rick asked.
“Not really, but just be patient and let me look around Rick. I’ll come up with something,” Joe replied.
Rick scratched his head with his right hand and agreed with Joe’s decision.
“I’ll call you as soon as I find something,” Joe said as the two shook hands.
Three Days Later
On Tuesday afternoon when Rick got home, he got situated and listened to the voice messages for that
day. Joe had called around one saying that he’d found a 4-speed manual transmission that was modified
for racing. As the message continued playing, Rick picked the phone up from its base to call Joe. After a
few minutes, Mike answered. The two talked briefly then he spoke to Joe about the transmission and its
history. Rick agreed to purchase it and would have to wait for about a week for it to be shipped from
Germany. He had given his card number, and other information to Joe then hung the phone up.
“They find one?” Rick’s wife Brenda asked.
“Yes, but it has to be shipped from Germany, and it’ll be a week or so.”
“Germany?” Brenda asked in a surprised tone of voice.
“Yep, some racer crashed a Bugatti Type 35 and totaled it the way Joe described. So they put it in a
junkyard over there so we’re going to restore it back to its original format. So Joe’s going to take the
transmission on out and be ready to put the other one in after all of that hopefully if all goes well,” Rick
Thirteen Days Later
Just as any other day, Rick came home from his job as a lawyer and performed the same routine. As he
listened to the messages, Joe’s finally said that the transmission had arrived at ten. Rick looked at the
sunflower wall clock to see that it was a quarter till six. He picked up the phone and dialed Mike’s shop
number, Joe answered. The two talked for about two minutes before Rick hung the phone up and hurried
out of the kitchen towards his bedroom to change out of his navy blue suit.
Rick had arrived at Mike’s shop at six fifteen. Dust filled the air as he opened the driver side door and got
out. He walked to the office door, twisted the silver round knob, and opened the door. He heard tools
clinging on the concrete floor and heard the sound of an air gun tighten down bolts or nuts. He walked
towards Joe on a step stool underneath the Bugatti Type 35.
“You got it in already I see?”
“Yep, it wasn’t all that bad. I had Phillip there to help me lift it up,” Joe said, pointing to his right.
Rick saw the man whom Joe was speaking of mounting tires on a Jeep Wrangler. Joe was looking
underneath the car with a drop light with a hundred watt light bulb in it checking to see if he’d put everything
“I believe that’s it,” Joe said looking down at Rick.
Then he stepped down the two step stool, placing the air gun on a roll around cart.
“Looks like it was a dirty job by looking at you?” Rick said, laughing patting Joe on his left upper arm.
“It wasn’t too awfully bad.” Joe replied with a grin.
“I tried my best to get here the quickest that I could once I heard the message.”
“Well like I said, Phillip there helped but if it wasn’t for him, that new transmission would be there instead of
the old one.” Joe said, pointing at a light wooded wooden crate on the concrete floor.
“I’ll let it down and you can give it a test drive.”
“Sounds good Joe,” Rick replied.
As Joe let the lift down, Rick opened the roll up door by a chain and latched it securely
Rick drove the car about two miles down Highway 19 North and pulled the car back onto the lift. He got out
and shut the car door shut.
“What do you think?” Joe asked walking from the office.
“I think that I need to endorse my signature,” Rick said pulling his checkbook from his left back pants
“Also Joe, if you will include a towing price to have it towed back to my house for me.”
“Sure thing Rick,” Joe said walking back towards the office.
Rick laid down the checkbook on the rolling cart and let the roll up door down. Afterward, Rick got the
checkbook and went towards the front office himself.
Phillip was clocking out at seven o’ three, and Joe sat figuring on an adding machine at a desk. Rick sat
down in a swivel chair at another desk, leaned back and looked up at the white sheetrock ceiling. Five
minutes later, Joe had a price at four hundred and seventy dollars. Rick leaned upward, turned to the
desktop which invoices were scattered on and opened his checkbook. Rick tore out the check, stood up
from the chair, and handed it to Joe.
“If you don’t mind, I’m going to lift up the car since it’s here on the lift and service it a little,”
“That’s fine by me, but I’m going to leave here shortly. If you will lock up and lock the front gate. And also, it’
ll probably be tomorrow when Mike can deliver the car to your house,”
“That will be fine and thanks again,” Rick said extending his right hand out to Joe sitting behind the desk.
Rick lifted the car up on the lift and shortly afterward Joe left. Rick was inspecting the car for any leaks,
worn parts, and anything that didn’t look right. As he was inspecting the radiator, the hoses, and the belt
the car’s engine started up. Ricks' arms were ripped by the metal fan blades as was his face. The fan
blades slung shredded flesh underneath the hood, which hit with a thump and blood splattered which
sounded like rain hitting the metal underneath the car’s hood. Ricks body fell limp less onto the concrete
floor of Mike’s shop. Blood that dripped from underneath of the car and from his body; mixed with oil on
the concrete floor. The dry oil that was spread on the floor soaked up some of the blood from his limp less
body on the floor as the car’s engine shut off.
|About Ernest Roberson Sr.
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