CAR TALKS (Part 2)
CAR TALKS (Part 2)
Gum and Trotsky make a visit
Boss has caught up with Mouse who introduces him the two patrolmen. He knows that he will not remember their name. So he doesn’t pay attention.
- “You are the owner of this place?” asks the taller of the two that has a Trotsky like pinch and the same goes for the spectacles he wears. All those confer him the dubious authority of a commissar in Bolshevik Russia.
- “One could say that, hum, hum. Yes, the owner, that’s me.”
- “That red jeep, over there.”
Boss turns himself and looks over his shoulder through the wall window. There is the VU and they all have a good look of it. And he asks himself if LePique has had the time to hide the squirrel or the rat and if he was trying to apply first aid to the creature somewhere and if the law was after him on a charge of cruelty against an animal. But good sense takes over and he thinks that the beast was no rat or squirrel, most probably a cat or a dog, yes a dog, without a doubt of the exotic and pricey variety, the creepy lilliputian that had a mistress who would not put off for very long her asking about her little chouchou and for him to confront the woman with her abandoning act would not do much as far as avoiding the collision that he sure saw coming his way.
- “What about it?”
Trotsky’s friend looks him over. He is much smaller, compensates the handicap by giving himself an important air, he chews gum and his eyes are asking this question: will this guy give us trouble? He doesn’t look the type, though.
As for Trotsky, he finds nothing to say except repeat himself:
- “That red jeep…”
- “What, you want hum, hum, to buy it?”
- “You know that this jeep has been stolen two times, Gum cuts in.”
- “As if this, hum, hum, concerns me.”
Gum calls upon Trotsky who has just come upon the candy container.
- “Hey, over there, don’t you find that this operator here, he is quite on top of things?”
Trotsky’s mind is elsewhere. Leaves all the business to his partner. Who now readdresses Boss:
- “So, you are the owner of this joint, if I want, is this the way you put it?”
- “That is a manner, hum, hum, of speaking, mumbles the other.”
- “Trafficking odometer, does that tell you of something?”
- “Messing with meters, hum, hum, if this is what you talk about, we don’t do that kind of shit around here.”
- “Very happy to hear this.”
Meanwhile, Boss look elsewhere, as a matter of fact, his gaze has fallen upon this rubric in the Journal de Montréal where Me Périquet’s picture can be seen, since Mouse has left a copy of the daily open at the page of the classified ads. Boss goggles his solicitor and reads over his happy face the following message: “Private. Charm oriental. Massage. Special. Live an unforgettable experience. Ask DINA”.
Trotsky has finished looking over the candy distribution device and looks ready to act. Gum, on the other hand, sulks because nobody seems to care for what he is doing. Trotsky is oblivious to his colleague’s mood. He gets from his pocket a piece of change that he deposits into the tin box and gets for his effort a reassuring cling, the sort that Onion would have approved He looses his right hand into the container and whilst he moves the stuff around, he duplicates sententiously what he has heard Gum just pronounce:
- “Very happy indeed to hear this.”
He is still searching, though. What can that be, Gum has no idea. But Boss knows.
Trotsky stops and all those present realise at this instant that his soul is no longer with them and that something else got to him like comprehend why this damn appliance he is fighting with does not offer the savours he enjoys. This being the case, he wails:
- “Yesterday, the same thing happened to me at the supermarket. And last week, do you know what, and his gaze fixes on Gum who knows then that this tirade is addresses to him, I was at the video store and I dropped a quarter in the jelly beans machine and it got me three blacks, two mint green, one blue and one mauve. Can you imagine a more sorry assortment? Cibolaque! For those who want to play, there is the casino. Candies shouldn’t be a lottery.”
Gum gets a pack of chewing gum out of his shirt pocket and offers him a piece.
- “Do like me. Chew!”
Duty appears to have taken over because Trotsky looks Boss over:
- “Still, this vehicle has been stolen two times in a very short time on this lot of yours and on both occasions, it has been found again, parked on the street in this area.”
Boss gives him his take on the situation:
- “Us, we put the car in the courtyard, on the street hum, hum, where it is visible. We see that it is locked and all the details about the car are scotched on a side window for whoever is interested to read. So, maybe some smart ass has kept a key and used the VU to ride himself to sleep.”
Gum now intervenes. Both men share the work, it must be said.
- “This is all possible but it doesn’t explain how come in our first event report, that Vu is described as having 64,000 kilometres on it and at this moment, it is 33,000. Are you sure that you have nothing to do with the marvel?”
Joker’s little rat of a dog
The police officers are now gone and, while Boss and LePique plays their options, the 40 inch screen of the plasma TV that is hooked on the wall on one corner of the atelier and is always receiving the signal of the News Channel, tells them something that makes them look that way. The story is about some coke deal going awry. Images show a luxurious residence that belongs to a certain Joker and in front of the house can be seen more than a few VUS that look like the one with the fractured windshield that they are working on just at that moment.
Smatte who is not far away announces the good news:
- “Hey, you want to know how she calls her pal, that broad with the VU? Joker! How about that?”
He leaves. And LePique has a short laugh:
- “C’est pas pire!” With a name like that, he could work here.”
Boss is in a state. When things start to go wrong… Now, he confides to LePique:
- “Gangsters, take my word for it hum, hum, maybe even the Hells. And now, we have put Joker’s car in the paint shop and hum, hum, now Joker’s little rat of a dog is dead.”
- “Yaa and what kind of dog is that, anyway?”
- “How would I know? But maybe, hum, hum, you are aware of someone who would be cognizant, hum, hum, of alien looking animal species, aren’t you?”
- I do have a brother-in-law who is a stockbreeder but I don’t know what kind of those he specialises in.
- “He lives far away? Can you hum, hum, ask him to come here?”
Help is coming
It takes twenty minutes for a Ford Focus to appear. Over the top, there is a plastic placard where one can read “À QUATRE PATTES INC”. Mouse opens the door that from the office gives access to the atelier for the benefit of an overweight little man of an uncertain age who wears overalls and has over his scalp a Red Sox cap. He moves toward Boss and then, takes notice of LePique.
- “Salut, LePique!” He says.
- “Hello Bob. Meet here Boss.”
Both shakes hand.
- “What’s the problem?” Bob asks.
Boss shows him the cage with the dead animal.
- “Hé ben!”
- “So Bob. You can tell what this fly speck is?”
The dog breeder glares at his brother-in-law in a reproachful way:
- “Yes. Sure. This is an Irish Pekinese, the kind that has no hair.”
- “C’est laid en tabarnak!”
LePique repeats after him:
- “It is ugly as Hell.”
That puts Bob on the defensive:
- “Well, he says, there are some who like it.”
- “I hope, says Boss, that those, hum, hum, are not to be found just in Ireland or Pekin.”
- “Why? You wish to acquire one?”
- “Damn! Do I have, hum, hum, a choice? I sure as hell need a twin of that dead Chinese Celtic in that cage before, hum, hum, its owner shows her face around.”
It is a blessing that Bob knows how to take a hint. So he says:
- “I think I may get what you need. I know a guy who specialises in this kind of rare Pékinese. He lives in Chomedey. If it’s O.K. with you, I will give him a call.”
Artist for a day
Boss drives de Toyota again. LePique sits by his side. Door’s fragments had been thrown on the back seat. That leaves space for a cage with a very living animal in it, a perfect counterpart for the dead one that they left to this seller from Chomedey who, for the thousand dollars they gave him offered them to dispose of the hide. Before leaving the Atelier, they had made holes in the metallic patches and they brought enough iron wire to hang those to replace the door they were lusting for.
In the rear, the dog is kicking up a hell of a racket.
LePique asks his Boss:
- “Don’t you think it is a bit hazardous to do this in the middle of the day?”
- “Nah. Beside, it is in a quiet neighbourhood hum, hum. Nobody is around at this hour. They are all at work, hum, hum, or at school.”
- “What if there is somebody in the house?”
- “We will ring and if somebody shows, we will buy the fucken door.”
- “And if there is nobody?”
- “We gone sculpture, hum, hum, my friend. We gone sculpture.”
As expected, the bungalow is free of inhabitant. And the area looks like a real desert. LePique shows Boss one FOR SALE like placard, set in the grass but it has nothing to do with disposition.
- “Do you believe this, he says, the town organises an embellishment contest and here is a Picasso that comes out and decides to make it in the cultural recycling.”
It takes them three minutes with a grip to cut the Isuzu Bellet door free from the mobile and to put in its place the pieces they have brought. When finished, looking his work over, Boss says:
- “Indeed hum, hum. One could take a like in such nonsense. Don’t you think that this here sculpture is better looking because hum, hum, of our ministration?”
LePique who carries the door in his arms says nothing. Boss has a strange expression in his eyes. The last time he felt that way was when he had had a joint. And at this instant, he would not refuse another one, what, with all that creative impulse that… that… well, whatever it may be, he can’t put it into words and, soon enough, thinks of something else.
Both leave without exchanging another word. In the Corolla, the Irish Pekinese yaps as if he had a leg caught in a rat trap.
Those charming little pets
When they are back, Smatte gets in their way. The VU is in the middle of the place, freshly washed and polished, glowing red. But they can’t hear each other. The meeting takes place in one concert of distracted yapping. Boss shudders under the assault. It is like the dog had grabbed the leg of his pants and he tried to jerk himself free of the nuisance.
- “This Asiatic ducky, hum, hum, will get at my sanity.”
- “I also fixed the windshield.”
Boss tells him:
- “By the way, hum, hum, would you care to check on any Celine’s CD being left in the CD player. You wouldn’t that, hum, hum, to happen, would you?”
Smatte prefers to ignore the question.
- “But, what’s wrong with this animal?” He asks.
- “Maybe all he wants, hum, hum, is to take a walk.”
- “Or eat a bit. What. Don’t we keep some rat poison around here?”
This is LePique and forty five minutes on uninterrupted barking has obliterated all kindness he may have entertained toward pets.
Mouse has joined them, drawned by the uproar.
She is of a generous nature and it shows:
- “Oh, but what a sweet little thing!” She exclaims.
The others roll their eyes over Mouse’s back who has put her hand in the cage and ges it out fast with a shocked cry of protest.
- “It bites me.”
All took an instant interest in her hand. Boss says:
- “There is no blood.”
- “What an odd color for finger nails.”
- “But he pinched me, that little devil.”
Then, she directs one piece of information to LePique:
Hearing this, Boss can’t catch hold of a desperate sounding laugh. Kind of speaking for himself, he grumbles:
- “Bottle. Butter. We are, hum, hum, as crazy as them.”
Mouse who rarely misses a thing asks:
- “Who are them?”
- “Never mind.”
And Smatte gets back to the matter at hand:
- “Who’s got to shut him off?”
LePique orients the conversation in a new direction:
- “Well, he says, I shall go now install that door where it belongs and that lawyer of yours will be free to pick up his car tonight if he fancies doing that.”
- “O.K. This is great hum, hum. I will tell him so.”
This being said, Boss follows Mouse in the office and Smatte is left alone with the mad dog.
Onion’s get rich plan
Boss is busy classifying some papers in a file. Mouse is gone for the day. Onion gets in. He signals his presence to Boss who looks at him.
- “Salut, Onion,” he says. He doesn’t ask what Onion is doing there; He knows he will learn soon enough.
Onion holds up one issue of the Journal de Montréal.
- “There is something you must take a look at, he says.”
Boss, on the other hand isn’t into it. He shows him a bunch of paper sheets, notes and forms. Then, he says:
- “Tell me, Onion, what is there to do with those, hum, hum, I mean, in what kind of order would you classify them.”
Onion puts the newspaper on the counter, opens it and makes a show at finding the right page, misses it because he finishes by saying, like if Boss was a fly that one wants to get rid of.
- “Papers? What papers?”
- “Papers! What! How do I know, hum, hum, look at them, there is not one that looks the same.”
He pushes the lot on the desk in front of him with an exasperate gesture. Also, he thinks: what an idiot, this Onion. Is what I am asking not self evident? At last, he says:
- “I could regroup them, hum, hum, by color. What do you say?”
Onion raises his eyes; throw him a look, his mind elsewhere. But does not offer any advice. Boss pursues though:
- “Or by format.”
Onion shrugs. On his face, he carries the expression of someone who can not care less. Still, he offers:
- “Me, papers like those, I put them in a box and when the box is full, I throw it all away.”
- “Oh, but this is most imprudent, boss objects.”
- “Prudence is when you cross the street.”
- “But no, Onion. Papers are archives. Why? Someone hum, hum, lives always in fear of needing them in one way or another and then, you must hum, hum, be able to locate them.”
Onion looks dumfound. He says:
- “So Boss, that is what you think of when you anguish?”
Boss lets go a sigh of misery and throws all he finds in front of him in one big folder. He admits defeat:
- “I will be damned but I can’t do that.”
Onion now has his opportunity and puts the newspaper under his nose.
- “Here. Take a look at this article. It is written that the singer Suzy Salée had Me Périquet send a “mise en demeure” at a waitress of the quick lunch LE CHAUDRON asking for two million dollars of damages because she has been called a “grosse poufiasse”. They say that it all happened the day after that incident in a motel, you know, when…And the Chaudron is the restaurant attached to that motel and the waitress is the sister of the housemaid that had to clear the mess after Suzy Salée left the room.”
- “Two million hum, hum, for that kind of money, I wouldn’t mind being called anything.”
- “Right. My exact take of the situation. Listen to me now! This is the plan. All you have to do is messing a little with one of your client’s cars and telling, when he complains, that there is nothing to it and then wait that he insults you, like that guy of this morning and me, I will be there with a tape recorder hidden on my person, so I will be able to get it all on tape, the insult, the abuse, the affront and what else. Then, we see Me Périquet and let the millions come to us. What do you think?”
Boss is not long in responding.
- “It is the most asinine proposition, hum, hum that was ever made to me in all of my existence. You know what, Onion?”
His vis-à-vis, which is a little miffed all the same, draws himself up, tries to make an impression as much as he can but finds it difficult with those funny colors of the uniform he wears, greatness never being there when you need it.
- “Beware now at what you will say,” he warns rather pitifully.
Boss says to him;
- “You are a big NONO!”
- “Oh boss, that hurts!”
The eminent lawyer gets in at that instant. Still Boss pursues:
- “Sue me!”
Me Périquet says:
- “Now, that car of mine, is it ready at last?”
Boss looks outside and sees LePique who, under the light of the street lamp-post finishes oiling the strap hinges for the newly installed door of the solicitor’s relic.
- “In a minute or so.”
The lawyer then picks his pocket and drops a piece in the tin box over the candy container. He digs. Half a minute passes. He does not look happy. He gets his hand out. He shows Boss and Onion the two jujubes in his palm and says:
- “Not much of a choice, is it?”
Onion takes it personal. He has heard the rattle of whatever the lawyer put into the box and the noise it has produced when hitting metal is not kosher. He mumbles to Boss:
- This doesn’t sound like metal to me.
Boss throws him a exasperate look:
- Will you leave him alone, you nitwit!
One missing door
It is night outside. A car approaches and its headlights blind them all. It is a police vehicle that stops near where Smatte is working. Trotsky and Gum get out. Once inside, Trotsky catches the newspaper that Onion left on the counter and opens it at the money market page. Gum ignores what his colleague is doing and moves toward Boss. He shows the Isuzu Bellet outside and says in a dismissive way:
- “We are here to seize that vehicle.”
Boss is not sure of what he has heard. He says:
- “The VU?”
- “Not the VU. The VU, that will be for another time. Today, we have had a complaint for the theft of a door of …hum… Gum gets one notebook out of his shirt pocket and looks through it, starts talking, then falters, says something about the script and finishes mumbling… a … Trifusupallette…”
Boss is sure that his heart will stop beating. He emits a shout of protest because he senses on him Me Périquet’s accusing glare.
- “This is all, hum, hum, a misunderstanding.”
- “Maybe yes, maybe not. In any case, neighbours have observed one suspect Corolla stationed near the victim’s house while the in… here again, Gum stops and looks into the note book and then calls for the help of Trotsky since he is the one who has done the writing in there. Gum put the thing under his nose and says:
- “What is it that you wrote here?”
But Trotsky ignores him, his attention still on some words or article he is reading and then, he erupts:
- “The Litipeldi Chinese hedge fund…”
- “What about it?” He is getting a little short fuse. And he doesn’t care much for Wall Street.
- It went broke. I lost it all!
Gum then turns to Boss:
- “O.K. He will read them to you later, his notes, if you don’t mind. Anyway, for what I know of the matter, there was some kind of odds and ends left in the flower bed and the door, hum, it was kind of hook around, somewhere, what do I know…”
A wrongfull death
- “Oh, but it’s you, Me Périquet!”
Everybody present turns around and, in that way, can see Suzy Salée who makes her entrance with following her very living Irish Pekinese on a leash. The animal seems a bit reluctant to jog along behind its mistress and is reminded to behave by a vigorous pull that leaves the poor trifle of a dog quite strangled. Me Périquet dashes at the celebrity who plays them like she was on a stage and they her audience.
- “But, he says, what are you doing here?”
Suzy Salée picks up the creature from the ground and does them a show of her usual affectionate demonstration with a lot of kissing and silly verbiage that the poor beast can’t protect much against or do about except live through it. Which it does bravely.
- “Here is mummy’s new little “crotte”… miummiummium… and my dear baby that will…miummiummium…replace poor sickly Lulu…miummiummium… mummy had to put to sleep.”
Put to sleep! Like by a veterinary.
Boss thinks of the thousand dollars that he has departed with to procure himself a ferocious brute. At last, optimism takes over and he reflects that his enterprise could use a canine to discourage trespassers but, then, he despairs of the turn of the events engulfing him and he doubts that he will still have an enterprise to his name come tomorrow.
At that moment, the mixture of celtic and asian blood decides that enough is enough and, with a strong back movement, the dog gets free off her ministrations. Once on the cement, he decamps and disappears into the depths of the body shop, where he can hear his brother’s yapping. Smatte, when he sees the quadruped moving in his direction takes a position to get hold of it.
Trotsky stops staring at the business section of the Montreal daily. He says in a disconsolate manner:
- “And this is nothing! This morning, the gas station where I filled up yesterday is selling the litre twenty cents less this morning. You realise? Ten big ones I lost on that deal!”
A new car shows off and immobilises itself near the police cruiser. A man with the built of a wrestler gets out. He looks around and doesn’t take long to locate the Isuzu Bellet. He then runs toward the Japanese. He looks resolute. He looks like he has a plan. He looks the perfect lunatic. But he doesn’t look the artistic type. When near the car, he is in frenzy. With spastic convulsive movements, he throws open the right door and tries to carry the thing away. And when that doesn’t work, he moves the car around in all direction in a deliberate effort of releasing the door through ultimate dislocation.
- “Oh, but it’s my car out there he is assaulting.”
This is Me Périquet’s miserable utterance. The exhibition has left the poor man petrified. It is as if the small contraption was in the eye of a hurricane. Soon enough, there is no more resisting of the onslaught and pieces of the Isuzu start to fall on the ground. First, it is the hood, then the back bumper followed a bit later by the one in front. The rattle of that material when it hits the floor overcomes in the end their owner, who now calls the daze gathering to witness at what the frantic Terminator is doing to the only vehicle he has and without which his imperfect life will take a turn for the worst.
It has to stop.
- “But, one must do something. This demented Visigoth has to be stopped.”
Nobody listens to the pitiful plea. Boss, at that point, thinks that the impending loss of his driving permit is the least of his problems. And then, they all can hear the insistent ringing of the phone.
Boss takes the call.
- “Hello, he says.”
He points the receiver at the nearest officer of the law. With a shrub in the direction of the Isuzu Bellet or what is left of it, he says:
- “It is that guy out there’s wife, she want to talk to him.”
Trotsky stands up and gets out to fetch the victim of the theft of a car door and interference with the integrity of a work of art. Gum, on his part, can’t refrain from saying to the lawyer who has in his eyes the empty stare of a tropical fish behind the window of its aquarium:
- “Wait till you see the look of your Mifuzutinette when it will hang at the end of a few strings.”
Onion has to put his grain of salt:
- A perfect example of added value.
The sharing of a prize
Yonder, the destroyer leaves the mess he has created and follows Trotsky inside the shop. He is rather out of breath because of the recent overworking. He picks up the receiver out of Boss hands and says:
- “Is it you, Tinette?”
Gum has pushed the sp-phone button and, in that way, all those presents can hear Tinette who yells from the other side:
- “Allo, Allo, speak louder, I can’t hear you with all those people here.”
Actually, there are on the line ground noises that tell about intense human activity at the location where the call comes from. Finally, Tinette explains herself:
- “…and the committee members are all here. The picture guy from the Courrier de Laval is here too. And they all want to meet with you. We won the first price for the most beautiful “parterre”.”
She stops talking, takes breath. Then pursues:
- “They just decided this morning. The mayor has said to me that it was the last modification made on DAY ONE OF A CAPITALISTIC FREE CIVILISATION that decided the jury in its favour. So bring your ass back here on the double if you want to get in the photo. Oh god, how proud I am.”
Boss doesn’t believe what he hears. He figured out that the slogan was the name the silly couple has baptised their creation with.
- “O.K, says the great lout of a fellow. I am coming.”
He then gives the receiver to Boss and moves toward the door. Gum put himself in his way whilst comes into Boss’s head a foolish hope.
- “And that door, what is there to be done with it?”
Everybody turn into the direction of the carnage. The leaving demolisher answers distractedly:
- “The door? Why… it is now where it belongs.”
Gum is disappointed. He insists:
- “But we must draw up a report.”
The big man pushes him aside and says:
- “I don’t have time. I have an award to fetch.”
Gum, resigned, says:
- “Well, it will be as you wish.”
Boss calls after the departing laureate:
- “That prize, how much is it? You most share it with me.”
Gum says to Boss:
- “For that VU. We keep an eye on you.”
And they are gone.
A lawyer and his client take their leave
That leaves not many around. Suzy Salée calls after her lawyer:
- “That was your car, those remains?”
The other emits a feeble protestation:
- “A collection piece…”
But the singer is no longer listening to what Me Periquet is now trying to tell, this old car of his that is a part of his youth, the names of all the important clients he has driven to the court house in it. Because Suzy Salée remembers now her little cricket of a dog that has now escaped from her sight for the last ten or fifteen minutes. Happily, Smatte shows off at that instant with the immaculate VU. The woman runs in his direction. He says to her:
- “I put the dog into its cage on the back seat and the other, I mean the one that was dead, well, I did call the sanitary offices and they will come later tonight to pick it up.”
The star takes place into the jeep. Cadavers have no interest to her because she asks now to Me Périquet:
- “Can I drop you home, Maître?”
She can’t hear the answer because inside the car, she realises now that something is very wrong. Why is that dog of her putting himself in such a state? The yapping is terrible, very annoying also. That capacity of the small to make a nuisance of themselves, the smaller, and the worst. What? The high pitch racket gets on her nerves. Already, she senses coming headache. Maybe that dog will find its way at the veterinary office like the other. She affects the sweetish voice and childish talking that one uses when addressing tortoises, hamsters and the like:
- “But what is wrong with mummy’s little cricket? Miummiummium…Why is he that angry…miummiummium…?”
Obviously, the little cricket doesn’t care much for those niceties. So, he doubles the intensity of his barking. A bit depressed, Me Périquet gets in the car. Its driver throws a last look at the Irish Pekinese and then, drives away.
One very unusual finding
As they are leaving, Boss lets go a sight of relief. They are all there around him, Onion, Smatte and LePique, all looking like castaways.
- “Can you believe this?”
- “It beats T.V. big time!”
- “Shit man!”
Onion stands up and moves decidedly toward the jujube apparatus. He gets his key out of one pocket of his uniform. A silly place, Boss thinks, why, over the knee, well what will it be next? Onion opens the tin box where the change accumulates. Or so it is supposed. He looks into it and let go of a cry of triumph.
- “I knew it!”
- “Now what?”
Onion shows them what he holds between his thumb and index. And everyone, when they see what it is exhales a big AHAH of amused surprise. Because what Onion holds in his hand is a pant’s button. He lets them all have a good look, and then says:
- “I bet that this is the very same button that the TV station delivers to him as the price of the judgment he got from them. What do you say?”
Boss feels that something grabs the leg of his pant. He looks down and shouts:
- But, the singer, she left with what?
- Well, Smatte now explains. I passed her the abomination who yaps all the time. This one is cool alright.