By the time we reached Goodwater we were on our last legs. We coasted down the off ramp and just got into town. I tried to find a spot in the shade but the car decided it had enough and was demanding some new points. We stopped by the side of the road and walked toward the buildings ahead.
The town was smaller then we had hoped. One of the first open businesses we found was a gas station and we went in to talk to the attendant. “No, there’s no auto-parts store here in Goodwater. The next one would be in Sun Valley. It’s only about twenty minutes drive up the highway.” There was no way we would make it that far. “What do you boys need?”
“This.” I held up the point’s block. He took it from me.
“What’s it out of?”
“Yea, it looks like a Volkswagen part. Probably the same one they used in the Beetles. I‘ll see if I‘ve got a set in the shop.” We followed him into the repair bays. He rummaged through an old cabinet but didn’t find any. “Sorry boys. I can get you one by tomorrow.”
“No, that’s no good. We’ve got to get back to L.A. by tonight.”
“L.A., huh? You might be able to get some from Larry. Let me make a phone call.” He picked up a greasy phone and dialled. “Lar’, its Robby here. Listen, I got some boys from L.A. down here and they’re desperate for a set of points. You got anything for a Rabbit?” He turned to us and gave us a greasy smile showing the gap where his front teeth used to be. He turned back to the phone. “Uh huh, yea, that’s right. Okay sounds good. I’ll send them down.” He hung up the phone. “Larry’s got some for ya.”
He pointed us in the right direction and we headed down the cracked sidewalk on foot. “Dude, this guy’s going to screw us,” I said as the sweat started to bead on my forehead.
“What do you mean?”
“You heard what he said to ol’Lar. He knows we’re from out of town and desperate.”
“Oh shit your right.”
It was about four-thirty, but the sun was still strong. It had to be more than a hundred degrees. The town was quiet. It was Sunday and most everything was closed. We could see the cracked Shell gas station sign down the street through the waves of heat coming off the concrete. It felt a hundred miles away.
Larry was unshaven and just as dirty as Robby was. He was standing out front, leaning against the doorway to the little store. “You the boys lookin for points?”
Tony wasn’t in a great mood. “Is that a rhetorical question?” Larry screwed his face up.
“A what question?”
I stepped in. “Yes, we’re the ones after the points.”
He spit on the ground, glared at Tony and walked off into the mechanic’s shop. In a moment he returned with the points.
“Here you are. You’re lucky too. Last set of points in town. That’ll be thirty-five bucks.”
“What? I paid twelve bucks for the ones I put in there when I got the car.”
“Well this set is thirty-five bucks. You want ‘em or not?”
“I’ve only got twenty-eight.”
He frowned at me. “No deal buddy.”
“Oh come on man, you know those aren’t worth thirty-five. I’m offering you more than twice what they’re worth.” I leaned forward a bit. “It’s better than nothing isn’t it?” He considered that for a moment.
“Well… because I’m such a nice guy, I’ll let you slide.” With that he stuck his grubby hand out for the money. I thought we might walk into the little store or something. I couldn’t pull the money out of my pocket in front of him. I had about forty bucks on me and still needed to buy some dinner later. Not to mention some beer at the California border.
“Can I use your restroom dude? I suddenly need to pee.”
He looked at me suspiciously for a moment, then stepped into the shop and grabbed a key from it’s hook on the wall. “It’s around the back. Don’t flush, the pipe’s broken.”
As I got near the restroom, I could smell it and the swarm of flies told me I didn’t need to see inside. I quickly pulled the money out of my pocket. I couldn’t make up the right amount with the bills I had. I ended up sticking twenty-seven in my front pocket and the rest in my back pocket. I went back in and found Larry scratching his huge ass with a screwdriver. “Careful Larry, you might get that lost down in there.”
He turned around and gave me a dirty look. “Well you want these points or not?” he barked.
“Yea here you go.” I gave him the key back and reached into my pocket for the little wad of money. I gave it to Larry and he counted it twice. He looked up at me with one eye.
“I thought you said you had twenty-eight.” Tony piped up.
“Nope, he said twenty-seven, that’s what I heard, twenty-seven.”
He was still scowling as he thrust the points into my hand. “Here take the damn points!”
I had been thinking about asking for a ride back to the car but I didn’t think Larry would be in the mood. We were really falling behind schedule now and the car was about twelve blocks away. It was pretty much the whole length of the town.
When we had gotten back to where the first gas station was, I decided to go in and see Robby again. We had been making guesses at how much of a cut Robby would get from the points. Surely two highway robbers like them would have a system worked out. I told Tony that I thought his cut was probably equal to a couple of bottles of Mountain Dew and some chips. I felt we had the right to liberate them for ourselves. Tony started to babble something about karma and pressing my luck again. I told him I’d meet back at the car.
There was a guy filling up his truck at the pump, so I waited for him to finish then went into the empty shop. Robby sat with his feet up on the counter picking his teeth. I asked him for the key to the restroom and we made small talk while he searched for it. “You get them points you were after?”
“I sure did Robby ol’ boy, plum lucky we is too. Last pair in town Larry said.”
He wasn’t sure if I was making fun of him or not, but he certainly didn’t seem pleased. He grumbled as he tossed the key onto the counter. “Bring that back when you’re done, ya hear?”
“Sure thing. Hey, have you got another tooth pick?”
It didn’t seem like an odd request to him. “Here ya go.”
“Thanks,” I said as I stuck the toothpick in the corner of my mouth.
I went into the restroom and peed on the floor. Then I stuffed a handful of towels in the drain of the sink and turned on the water. I locked the door from the inside and closed it. Then I stuck my toothpick into the lock and broke it off. I waited for the water to start coming out from under the door and then went back inside.
I tossed the key on the counter. “Here ya go Robby. Oh hey, I couldn’t get the sink to turn off all the way. You better go have a look.” With that, I walked out. I looked over my shoulder as I walked away and as soon as he was out of sight, I went back in and stocked up on some refreshments. Then I reached behind the counter to grab a pack of smokes and saw Robby’s keys under the counter. So to buy a little extra time, I grabbed the keys and locked the door to the shop on the way out. I dropped the keys behind a flower pot next to the door. He’d eventually find them. I figured this would buy us fifteen to twenty minutes at least.
Tony was shaking his head at me as I approached the car. I tried to hand him a bottle of Mountain Dew but he wouldn’t take it. “Dude, seriously.”
“No, you stole that shit.”
“Look, two bottles of soda, bag of Doritos and some smokes. Six bucks max. They still owe us four.”
Tony looked at the bottle in my hand. A drop of sweat started to run down from his brow. “Fine, it’s your bad karma not mine.” He spewed as he snatched the bottle.
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