Sunday, July 25, 2010

the fix

My car is broken.  It won't start.  I remove what I feel to be the offending piece and carry it to the nearest store.  This store is the last one around for miles.  It is run down and shanty.  It is the abode and shop of the local magician/doctor/used car salesman/ mayor.  This is the only game in town.

Limping with my offensive car husk, I enter the shop.  I show the trade jack that the car won't start.  It has not yet occurred to me that the car cannot start if it is in pieces.  I try still to start the car and to express to the people in the store that the car is broken and that I need it to be fixed.

The local waif is the only one to speak up.  He tells me what no one else dares: The car must be reassembled in order for it to start.  Only after it is put back together can the problem be assessed.  I see the wisdom in his hungry face but I am too tired to reconfigure the whole of what I have destroyed.  I decide to abandon the car.  Walking in a wasteland seems preferable to not knowing when the next problem with a temperamental vehicle will arise.   I want to opt for easy solutions that require only simple calculations and procedures.  The car offers none of those things to me. 

Before I leave I am invited to dinner with the Shop Owner and his entourage.  Dinner is magic tricks and politics and roasted seagulls.  I wander out of the room feeling that reassembling my broken car would have been an easier feat.  I do learn, however that the waif is indeed the shop owner's son.  The pear tree produced an apple.

The waif invites me to go swimming in the converted drainage ditches.  As I enter the water night falls completely and I hear my abandoned car starting in the distance.  As the engine turns over, strings of lights glow on filling the post-historic compound with something other than the night.

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