The road was lined with old cars, broken down heaps placed there to form a kind of fence. Dust lined everything as clouds of it were sent wafting across the yard from the road, as the occasional truck passed by. This was rare, however, as this yard was farther off the road than the rest. The morning sun had broken into its midday rant, bearing mercilessly down on all living things.
Inside the trailer-cum-office sat a gangly kid with his feet up on an old office desk. The ends had frayed where he cut the sleeves off his coveralls. His face and hair were greasy. Scattered papers with grimy finger smudges and an ashtray made from an old scarred piston covered the desk. There was a strong smell of grease and stale smoke. A large chrome grille from an Oldsmobile hung on the wall behind him.
“What kin I do you for?” The kid boomed, barely glancing in my direction.
“’Need a side view mirror… Chevy,” I said.
“Through there,” he replied and pointed to the door opposite the one I came in. He looked at me sideways as I turned to cross the creaky trailer floor, like he didn’t trust me but not enough to get up.
The back door led to three small, treacherous wooden steps out of the trailer and down to the dirt. The ground was oil stained and littered with various vehicle body parts, hoods, and cylinder heads. I made my way to a small sub-compact car with most of the fenders and doors removed; it was essentially a rolling toolbox with two seats and a radio.
There was a small grouping of General Motor’s products to the right. Various colors and conditions of dismantled wreckage sat on makeshift car jacks fashioned from two tireless rims welded together. The sun’s rays, now even more intense, flickered from dirty windshields and dulled chrome bumpers up at me.
A mid-sized Celebrity in a handsome metallic aquamarine would provide the piece I needed. Removing the inner door panel, I got to work on the bolts holding the mirror to the door. I was happy to have a place to work that was out of the sun, sort of.
The whooshing hiss of an airplane descended upon the yard. I looked up and watched it slowly pass, a plane-shaped shadow streaked across the yard as the jet nestled down to the airport in the hills just above the valley. Suddenly a voice broke my attention, “Got one?” It was the gangly kid, he startled me; his greasy blonde hair seemed much brighter in this light.
“Yeah… but the remote is caught or something.” The mirror remote was too big to fit through the opening in the door that the connecting cable passed through. “It won’t come out,” I continued.
“Well… I can cut it,” he said.
“Sure, I only need the mirror part.”
He reached over my arm and cut through all three connecting cables with a loud crunching pop sound. The mirror housing fell right off into his hand and he handed it to me. As I checked the blunt cuts, I noticed that the remote was the part that held the tension to the mirror. I rocked the mirror housing from side to side and the mirror flopped in the housing like a newborn baby’s head.
“Uh…” I started.
“What’s wrong?” asked the kid.
“I don’t think this is going to work,” I said.
“Goddamnit!!!” he exclaimed; his eyes looking straight down at the ground, “You said to cut it!”
“Yeah, but I thought the mirror would still work without the remote,” I explained calmly.
“Well do you want it or not?!” he asked in a huff; his face now pointing straight up at the sky, eyes squinty from the sun.
“No, I guess not.” I replied and handed it back to him and started to slink away towards the trailer.
My pace was quick up the treacherous stairs and through the office where the manager of the yard now sat at the desk shuffling through the finger-smudged papers on his desk. I had made sure to put a good distance between the gangly kid and myself so that I was back at my truck by the time he made it to the office.
Nonchalantly, yet quickly, I made my way across the washboard road to my shop truck, keys in hand. I climbed in, started the motor, and rolled down the window in one fluid motion. As my truck bounded down the dirt road, I made a mental note: Don’t go back to that yard for at least a couple months to give that gangly kid time to get himself canned.No tags for this post.