The Id and The Odyssey; Episode 51

The Jeep

Rich showered and rode his bike to work. He peddled slowly toward The Beacon and thought of the absurdity of riding a bike. “Why am I riding a bike,” he thought. “It’s odd. What is it I’m afraid of. I drive The Beacon’s vehicles. Perhaps it’s ownership and responsibility. I need a car! I’m not facing another rainy day or winter on a bike.”
At mid morning from his desk Rich called an ad from The Beacon for an Army surplus Jeep with a canvas top for $275 near Rockport.
At noon Rich rapped on the window of Sam’s office.
“What’s up, Rich?”
“I need some extra time for lunch,” Rich said.
“Sure,” Sam said, “everything okay?”
“I’m going to look at a car,” Rich said.
“It’s about time,” Sam smiled. “Take all the time you need.”
Rich went to the bank and withdrew $250 and peddled his bike to the address near Rockport. It was a towing service and repair shop. There, he met Whitey, a man in his forties with grease and oil nearly everywhere on his cloths.
Rich gave the olive green Jeep a look around while Whitey mentioned all the Jeep’s virtues.
“How much are you asking?” Rich said.
“$275,” Whitey said, “it said that in the paper. That’s a firm price. and that includes a blade. That comes in real handy in the winter.”
“You mind if I take it for a drive?” Rich said.
“Sure,” Whitey said, “the key is in the ignition.”
Rich drove back to Rockland. He liked how it drove. While in Rockland he stopped at a gas station and bought a dollar’s worth of gas. The jeep’s gas gage indicated it was on empty.
On the way back he thought of a strategy to lower the price. He thought about Whitey. He reminded him of someone; it was his Uncle Bob - perhaps smarter, but just at greedy.
Rich returned and drove up close to the door of the shop and Whitey quickly came out to greet him.
“What do ya think?” Whitey said.
“She's green,” Rich said
“She won’t get you stuck anyplace and she comes with a blade,” Whitey said.
“Yeah,” Rich said, “you mentioned that.”
“I don’t know 275 seems a little too much for me,” Rich said.
“The blade is worth fifty,” Whitey said.
“How, ‘bout you keep the blade,” Rich said, “and I’ll give you 250,” Rich said.
“They come together,” Whitey said.
“If that’s the case I’ll give you 250 for both,” Rich said. “That’s all I can afford.”
“Can’t do that,” Whitey said.
“Sure ya can,” Rich said. “I hand you $250, you hand me the title, put on the plow, and I drive away.”
Whitey smirked.
Rich reached in his pocket and pulled out the $250 he brought with him. He bent down and grabbed a rock from the driveway. He placed the $250 on the hood of the jeep and laid the rock on top of it to keep the money from blowing away.
Whitey reached for the $250 and Rich slid the rock and money further away from him.
“I’d like to see the title first,” Rich said.
“250 and I keep the plow?” Whitey said.
“That was my offer,” Rich said.
“I’ll be right back,” Whitey said.
Whitey walked back into his shop and came back with the title. He laid it on the hood and signed his name. “I’ll give you a break and say it was for $100, that way ya save a little on taxes.”
“If it’s all the same to you,” Rich said, “just write what I’m paying you, $250.”
Whitey finished filling-out the title and handed it to Rich. Rich slid the rock with the $250 beneath it toward Whitey.
Whitey counted the money quickly and stuffed it in his shirt pocket. “Pleasure doin’ business with ya,”
“Same here,” Rich said and shook his hand.
Rich unsnapped the rear and hoisted the bike in the back. He climbed in the Jeep. His eyes scanned the dash and he looked around the interior. He couldn’t contain his smile. “This is mine!” he thought joyfully.
“You say you drove it to Rockland and back?” Whitey said.
“Yeah,” Rich said.
“I doubt if you make it a mile down the road,” Whitey said, “but I got a gallon of gas I’ll sell ya for $5,” Whitey said.
“I put gas in it when I was in Rockland for 30 cents a gallon.” Rich said. “I figure a man who can’t keep at least a quarter tank of gas in a car is in need of cash and he’d accept about any fair offer.”

Rich started the jeep and drove away.