“What?” asked Gary Harrison.
“Alternator is dead,” repeated the young man wearing a greasy, faded coverall.
Gary stood a few feet away. He leaned forward gently to look at the engine of his Chevy Cobalt. He had no idea what he saw, but felt compelled to look anyway.
“Can you fix it?” asked Gary. He thought to himself, “This is going to cost me. Stuck here in the middle of no where, bubba here is going to rip me.”
“Sure, I can fix it. Simple job that’ll only take an hour. We charge $25 an hour for labor, so 25 bucks plus the cost of a new alternator will be all.”
Gary sighed as quietly as he could as he tried to hide his relief and suspicion of the mechanic.
“Trouble is,” continued the mechanic, “I don’t have an alternator for your car. But the UPS truck passes here every morning at seven. I’ll call their office now and we’ll have you back on your way by eight tomorrow.
Gary thought a moment. He wasn’t due back in Kansas City for a couple of days. He was relieved that he had finished his business in Oklahoma City early. This would probably work.
“Do you have a motel in town?” asked Gary.
“Oh sure, a couple of them. Both are downtown near the library. The City Cafe is around the corner from both, so you’ll be set for meals and such.”
“Well, that’s good I guess. How far...”
“Oh, just wait a minute till I get off the phone with UPS. I’ll take you into town. No problem. Besides, I’m due for a cup of coffee at the Cafe myself.”
“I just need to have your credit card before I order the part and all.”
“Yeah, sure.” Gary pulled his VISA card from his wallet and handed it to the mechanic.
The mechanic looked at the card, wiped his eyes with a clean rag, and looked at it again. “Your name is Gary Harrison?”