The Jersey Turnpike (Road to Nowhere)
By Mike Stevens
A Jersey Shorr Tale
“You complete b****d!” screamed Jersey Shorr out his window in the direction of the car he was passing. The little old lady who was driving gave him a apologetic wave.
“Yeah, yeah, whatever grandma!” he screamed, and showed her his middle finger.
The woman gave him a disgusted look and slowed down in the lane next to him, so that Jersey’s car flew ahead, and the woman’s car rapidly disappeared behind him.
He was on his way to his grandmother’s house, and he was running late. The unfortunate lady who became the target of his rage had cut him off, or more accurately, he THOUGHT she cut him off. He shouldn’t have been driving with his terrible eyesight, but he wasn’t going to admit it. He thought he’d seen her weave towards him, causing him to change lanes abruptly, right behind a slow-moving semi, which in turn caused him to have to slam on his brakes to avoid a collision.
He had flown up the highway until he caught up to her; hence the finger-waving incident as he passed her. He’d been in a foul mood ever since being fired from his job writing the main column for ‘Art from Around the Globe’ monthly magazine. After being s**t-canned from there, he’d been hired by ‘The Daily Constitutional’ to review artwork for them, but after only one issue and one review, he’d been let go there, also. He just had to find something, but what?
“Come in, Jersey!” came his grandmother’s reply to his knocking on her door. Jersey turned the knob and entered, first greeting his grandmother with a hug, and a peck on the cheek.
“Hi, Grandma, how are you?”
“Oh, not so good.”
Oh, oh, I obviously didn’t hear! he thought. “What did I say? I meant what’s the problem?”
“Well, the car stopped running, so I guess I’ll have to fork out a bunch of money, which I can’t afford, and get it fixed.”
“Oh, if you’re short of money, you can always sell some of your artwork. I mean, I know some of these are considered classics, but come on, some clown slopped down some splotches of paint, and called it art? I mean, it doesn’t look much like a man; his head is lop-sided (He actually couldn’t tell if the man’s head was lop-sided, or if it was a product of his poor eyesight)! It looks like some kid in 3rd grade painted it. It might as well be a stick figure!”
She glanced at the painting by Picasso, and answered, “It’s by Picasso, and it’s priceless!”
It had been handed down to her from her mother, who had been given it from the great man himself, because she’d once done him a favor. Art galleries from the 4 corners of the Earth had first bugged her mother, and then her, to sell, but neither would.
“I know that’s what the art dealer told you, Grandma, but you got taken!"
“I know you’re my Grandson, but you’re screwed in the head!”
As Jersey drove home, he reflected on what had just happened. His grandmother had grown cold and distant after he had suggested she sell that god-awful elementary school art project that she thought was a ‘classic’. Sure, he was having trouble with his eyes, but even a blind man could see the painting was crap! Jersey opened his front door and was greeted by the ringing phone. He shut the door behind him and picked up the receiver, “Hello?”
“Jersey, this is Walt Siever.”
Walt Siever was the owner of ‘Art from Around the Globe’ magazine.
I wonder what he wants,he thought.“Yes, hello Walt.”
“I can’t believe I’m saying this, but would you consider working here again? Since you were let go, we’ve been besieged by phone calls demanding your return. It seems that people were entertained by your reviews. The reason they gave, and I quote, 'I get a good laugh out of his reviews.' Our sales have dropped off a cliff since your departure. I don’t understand it, but there you go, so how about it? Will you come back to work?”
Jersey was ecstatic, but decided to play it cool. “I don’t know, Mr. Siever, I mean, I’m kind of enjoying the time off.”
“Huh! How much?”
“How much what?”
“How much of a raise do you want?”