by William Snyder
© 2005 William Snyder
A couple of dozen dilapidated old vehicles rested in the tall wet grass of The Regulator’s Auto Salvage and Junk Yard. A husky, baby faced kid struggled to lift the rusted hood of the old Dodge Dart. The engine looked pretty good. Sure, there was a little rust, but it was nothing serious. He unscrewed the carburetor. And it was squeaky clean, in mint condition.
A hungry female mosquito landed stealthily on the boy’s thick white neck. She sunk her labrum into the soft pale skin and drank heartily. Feeling a stinging sensation, Anthony Frink brought the palm of his hand down against his neck, obliterating the insect. Looking at the palm of his hand, he noticed there was a lot of blood, his own along with that of a half dozen less sensitive citizens of Fargo, North Dakota. He wiped his palm on the side of his Levis and sprinted for the office.
The rickety screen door slammed shut and Timothy Oglethorpe, a giant of man in his early thirties, looked up from the sports section.
“How much for this carburetor?
“Where’d you get it, Anthony?”
“From the old blue Dodge Dart, Oglethorpe.”
“Ah, the '67. It’s a classic, you know. I’m afraid it’s gonna cost you, my boy.”
“Really? How much?”
“How much you got?”
Anthony dug into his pocket and pulled out a handful of change. Looking into his hand, he said, “A buck thirty-seven.”
“What are the odds, kiddo? I’m running a sale on 1967, Dodge Dart carburetors.”
“A buck thirty-seven,” the boy smiled.
“That’s right, Antonio.”
“Is there anyone as tall as you in the NHL, Oglethorpe?”
“I don’t think so. Why do you ask?”
“I don’t know. You had a heck of a game last night, Oglethorpe. That check on that hotshot forward from Calgary was as good as I’ve ever seen. You looked like Tiger Williams for a second there.”
“Heck yeah, Oglethorpe.”
“Tiger Williams is a sissy. You’d better get out of here – before I raise the price on carburetors.”
Anthony left the change on the counter.
“Okay, thanks, OT,” he opened the squeaky screen, stopped and turned. “Why’d you stop teaching?”
I’m just taking a break, Anthony.”
“You were good, you know?”
“Get the hell out of here, you rotten kid."