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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Kiss My Mud Flaps, Greasy!

Well, I think it’s finally time. Tomorrow, I’ll take the car to a garage to be looked at.

See, I’m not one of those people — those snotty, holier-than-thou, ‘responsible‘ people — who runs to a mechanic the first time a warning light comes on, or a part falls off, or the cops say there’s a ‘suspicious odor’ emanating from the trunk. That’s for babies.

But finally, I’ve accumulated enough car trouble to make a trip to the local grease monkey worth the effort. I just hope it’s not like last time — when I went a few months ago, I was apparently not precise enough. I walked in, and asked the mechanic to ‘have a look at my undercarriage. Six months later, and I still can’t sit down without wincing. And I’ve got greasy fingerprints on parts that Lever2000 soap doesn’t cover. Ooch.

Those disturbing images aside — where does this shit come from? — I think it’s time for a tune-up. And a new taillight. And for somebody who knows how to weld to re-attach that enormous hunk of metal that fell off the bottom of the car a couple of weeks ago.

(And it’s big, whatever the hell it’s for. It looks like a breastplate from an old medieval suit of armor. Or a neck brace for an alligator. Or a sled for midgets, maybe. But big, in any case. Throw a couple of legs on it, and you’d have a nice end table.

An end table with NISSAN plastered all over it, but still — end table. It’d be nicer than the milk crates I used for furniture before I got married. Why the hell didn’t my car fall apart back then?)

At any rate, I’ve never had a lot of luck with mechanics. That, um, ‘undercarriage‘ incident notwithstanding, anyway. But going to the garage always costs more than you expect it to. And more than it should. In some cases, more than the annual gross natural product of Laos. And they make gypsum, for crissakes! I don’t have that kind of cash.

Mostly, I’m just amazed at how these people manage to manufacture things to fix — and charge us for. A few months ago, I had the car inspected, and the guy somehow killed the battery. Without opening the hood! The car started just fine every day for three years; I step one damned tire in the garage, and I’m out a hundred bucks for a new battery. Sometimes, I think I should be paying the bastards up front for a magic show first:

Nothing up this sleeve, nothing in the top hat… now presto chango! And voila — three of your tires are flat, your steering wheel has disappeared, and I’ve exchanged your back seat with the one in the thirty-year-old Chevette on the other side of the garage! It’s magic!

Oh, and that’ll be four hundred and nineteen dollars to fix it. Thanks so much.

So. That’ll be fun. And now I’ve gone and looked up the major (and minor) exports of Laos. I didn’t see that coming. Damn.

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Me on Film 'n' Stage:
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