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With Spit and a Prayer
by Eric Miller

My car broke down in a tunnel at the peak of rush hour, and I hadn't loaned it to anyone. It was me, and me alone, who sat there in plain view, having single-handedly brought a city to its knees. On a zero to ten scale of stress, it was an eleven. And then, to make matters worse, the tow truck driver couldn't stop laughing at me when I instructed him to take my car to Clutch Wheeler's dealership.

"Why are you laughing," I asked, defensively.

"Everyone knows that Clutch sells dreams and services cars with spit and a prayer. No wonder your car can't even make it through a short tunnel without breaking down," he replied.

As much as I loved Clutch, I knew the truck driver was right. Clutch specializes in people like me, who only want something basic which will get you from here to there and back again. Whenever my car needs to be serviced, Clutch picks it up, loans me a car, and returns it. Whenever I need a new car, Clutch asks me what I want, but sells me whatever he has, which is never what I selected.

"I think its time that you replace the car," he announced sadly. "It can't be fixed. It's served you well. I think we should junk it."

"Okay, Clutch, get me a new one. Don't ask me what I want, or what color I prefer, because I know that you will come up with something else, but that's fine," I said.

And that's exactly what he did. Moreover, I did recognize my old car being driven around town by a little old lady, like all my other cars that couldn't be fixed.

Later that week, my wife and I drove in our new car to a dinner party. In the middle of dinner, the door bell rings, and in walks Dr. Kingsley Kidd, a local pediatrician who lived across the street from our hosts.

"Oh, please forgive me," he whines, rubbing his hands, and sweating profusely, "but I just backed into a Grand Turbo Charger Coupe LX395. I am so, so sorry."

Nobody reacted.

"Hello out there!  Who here owns a Grand Turbo Coupe LX395?," our gracious hostess asked, looking around the table at each guest, as she awaited an answer which never came.

"It's a black and silver car, with license plate number GHA7498," Kingsley added.

"What color did you say?," I asked, jumping up.

"Black and silver."

"Does it look new?," I asked.

"Not anymore," he whimpered. "But don't worry, I will pay for all damages. Just take it to my car dealer, Clutch Wheeler, and tell him to bill me."

"It's as good as new," Clutch said when I picked it up.

"But Clutch, this isn't my car?," I noted.

"What's the difference, kiddo? I billed Dr. Kidd like you told me to."

My stress level rose as I realized my life, as well as my car, was held together with spit and a prayer.