He looked at the clutter around him. Neglected, half-finished dreams littered the desk, table, and sections of the floor. At one point each project had held so much life and promise, but now they were on life support, or worse yet zombified corpses. He wondered what was the best approach going forward. Maybe he should just put everything away and pull out pieces when he was ready to resurrect them, but that would mean confronting his failures, and he wasn’t emotionally prepared to do that just yet. Besides, he had a brand new idea, and he knew it would work.
The cards spoke of fate, but the future they predicted was always left up to interpretation of the one reading them. Most people were almost illiterate. Preston fancied himself better than that.
He pondered that conclusion as he stared at the cards before him. He knew his present was a pair of jacks grinning at him, but his future? The jacks might have been a good a few hands ago, but now he was down to just a two more big blinds.
“What will it be?” asked Jerry with that lopsided grin he always wore. He sat behind a large chip stack that everyone at the table had been contributing to over the last hour or so. Preston stared at his opponent trying to get a read, but Jerry was a stone wall.
Preston thought about folding, but there wasn’t a promise of a better hand in the wings. This was the poker player’s dilemma. What did the future hold?
The jacks were mute, but Preston decided that the future was bright. He didn’t care if the light was that of victory or the burn out of defeat. He adjusted his shades and matched Jerry’s goofy ass grin.
To most people it would be just a couple of data points
Randi didn’t think so. She saw a promise
Each point represented a better life
Now she had evidence that her business was going to grow
Despite the fact she only made five dollars of profit so far
The slow hiss of the radiator exhaling its last breath before moving on to the big recycling center in the sky made Jerry almost giddy. “This time she’s dead!” he said as he shut the engine off. He popped open the glove compartment of his 2001 Toyota Corolla and pulled out the once shiny, but now grimy and worn, flier for a brand new Chevy Camaro. He flipped to the picture of a flaming red brute that seemed like it was about to drive off the page. “Gotcha!” he yelled, pumping his fist in the air. He then put his hand in his mouth from where he had just punched the roof of his Corolla. “Sorry girl,” he said. Jerry pulled out his cell phone and dialed a tow truck. Time to get his ass to the dealership.
Jerry watched as his car was dropped off near the service bay. He waved at the tow truck driver as the driver finished releasing the car into the space. “Thanks, Vinnie! Nice riding with you!” Jerry said.
Vinnie started to get back into the cab. “You enjoy that dream cars of yours, dude. Hopefully I won’t be seeing you around,” Vinnie said with a big grin on his face. He slipped in behind the wheel and tooted the horn as he drove out of the parking lot.
Jerry waved as he watched Vinnie leave. A voice from behind startled him. “What can I help you with today?”
Jerry whirled around to see a large man with a cowboy hat wearing khakis and penny loafers with honest to goodness pennies in the pockets. Those pennies gleamed in the bright sun and made Jerry reconsider his color of choice.
“I’m hear to pick out a brand new Camaro,” Jerry said. “My Toyota just died and it’s time to live the dream.”
“Your Corolla died,” the cowboy hat man said. “Do you want me to get you a quote on how much to fix it?”
Jerry shook his head. “No sir. I want to buy a Camaro. I’ve been waiting for five years for this moment.”
The cowboy hat man pointed his thumb in the direction of the deceased Corolla. “Then why do you have that over there?” he asked.
“It just died an hour ago. I wanted to get here as fast as I could, so I had Vinnie drop me off here. To do that, he had to drop my car off as well. So now we’re both here,” Jerry said.
The cowboy hat man put is hands on his hips. “That ain’t gonna do,” he said. Jerry was about to butt in, but the cowboy hat man raised up a hand to cut him off. “I know, you want a Camaro,” the cowboy hat said. “I want to sell one to you, trust me.” He grinned so quick, like he just said something particularly funny. Jerry missed the humor. “But I can’t be having you beater car parked in my lot. You need to take care of it before we get down to brass tacks.”
Definitely copper or brass for the paint color thought Jerry. He could just see how sexy it would look. He shook himself out of his daydreaming. “So I can’t buy a car until I take care of my old one?” he asked.
“That’s what I’m telling you,” the cowboy hat man replied. “So how do you want to work this?”
Jerry looked at his old car. He had made a promise to the vehicle that he wouldn’t trade her in or replace her while she still lived. “Will you take it as a trade in?” he asked.
The cowboy hat man looked at the Toyota once more. “Does it run?” he asked.
“She blew a radiator,” Jerry replied. “So if you replaced that you would be all set.”
The cowboy hat man shook his head again. “Is that a 2003?”
“She’s a 2001,” Jerry replied.
The cowboy hat man put his hands on his hips again. “Nope, won’t touch it until she runs. I could barely get two hundred for it if it worked.”
Jerry began to get desperate. “What if I told you you could have her for free?” he pleaded.
That made the cowboy hat man laugh. “You would have to pay me to take that car off your hands,” he said.
“How much,” asked Jerry.
“The amount it would take to replace that radiator,” the cowboy hat man said. “Then I could get my two hundred.”
Jerry pulled out of the dealership in his newly repaired Corolla, muttering under his breath. Maybe next time he wouldn’t make a promise to an inanimate object that he wasn’t willing to keep. He pounded on the dashboard and immediately felt bad. “Sorry girl. I’ll make it up to you and take you to the car wash.”