Not for everyone

Everyone said I was crazy, that it was a dumb idea, that I’d regret it. My friends wouldn’t stop calling my phone, sending text messages and showing up on my stoop at odd hours, begging me not to do it. My boss fired me, saying “I don’t want someone like you working for me!” as he drank his 100 proof whiskey, straight from the bottle. I stood fast on my position, I was going to do it, and there was nothing he could do to stop me. “Get out!” he bellowed at me, before he started sobbing uncontrollably. “You’re dead to me! Do you hear me!? YOU ARE DEAD!” I left, but my will was stronger than ever.

The next day, I carried out my plan. My sister drove me down to the dealership, pleading, begging me not to as we drove. The car slowed to a stop as I opened the door. At the last minute she grabbed the back of my shirt, tears flowing down her face. I shrugged her off and walked into the dealership, her car peeling away, leaving nothing but skid marks and a broken heart. I stepped into the dealership and walked straight up to one of the agents. I looked him straight in the eye and said “I’d like to buy a Smart Car.”

You know that scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, where the evil Nazi henchman’s face melts off? Well that didn’t happen to the sales agent, but his lip curled a little bit and I noticed sweat breaking out along his thinning hairline. “H-h-h-here are y-y-y-your pap-pap-pap-PAPERS, just f-f-f-fill them out, a-a-a-and I’ll run a c-c-c-credit check” he stammered nervously. I handed him my drivers license and walked out of the room as fast as he could without trying to look obvious. I looked at all the Smart Cars they had in the show room. I admit that at this point, I was having my own doubts about the whole idea. I vividly recalled the sleepless nights of weeks past, up until six AM, tossing and turning, thinking about what might happen, weighing my options. I banished those dark thoughts from my mind just as the agent returned. His eyes were stained, evidence that he had most likely been sobbing uncontrollably in the back room for the last ten minutes. He handed me my license and opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out, only unintelligible grunts. Sensing his question, I said “I’ll take the red one, with the leather interior.” He nodded again and scurried off. Thirty minutes later, the agent, his boss and a nun come out of the back room. The manager tries to reason with me. The nun falls to her knees, praying for my salvation. I shrug past them, grabbing the car keys and I drive off the lot.

The drive home is short, too short to second guess myself, too short to turn around and redeem myself. Light after light, turn after turn, white knuckles gripping the steering wheel, fingernails leaving permanent impressions. I get home and back into the driveway. The neighbors come outside to watch. Steven Robinson starts to cross the street but wimps out under my withering glare. I open the garage, grab the tuba case, and return to my new car. The rear hatch glides open silently as everyone watching gasps loudly. No time for pleasantries now. I grab the tuba and try to shove it in. No luck. Silently, I close the hatch and walk back inside my house, feeling every pair of eyes staring at the back of my neck. A perfect walk of shame.

I should have known.
I should have listened.
Tuba players shouldn’t buy Smart Cars.

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