by Eric Suhem
HA-HA-HA!! I love
your choice of motor oil! she announced.
He looked up from his
perusal of Motor Oil Weekly magazine. They were
sitting in the bleak waiting room at Quikee Lube.
She was wearing an orange jumper with purple
bells. I think that ones choice of
motor oil says a lot about that person. For
example an election of 10w30 indicates a loyal
dedication to rules, and the tried & true,
elements upon which the society stands, whereas a
selection of 10w40 displays an untamed spirit, a
willingness to plunge into the wilderness of the
Do you know anything
about motor oil at all? he asked, feeling
indignant about her presumptuousness, lack of
knowledge, and purple bells.
No, but I know people,
she said, as the Quikee Lube technician held her
cars air filter aloft in the waiting room,
requesting her decision for a replacement.
And I can tell that youre looking to
shake things up, break free, and embrace
He suddenly felt attracted
to her free-spirited way of being. She looked
like an instant liberation from his hum-drum life.
In spite of her strange clothing, she reminded
him of people he saw in commercials during the
evening news, people who surf during the day and
have orgies in their bohemian lofts at night. He
wanted to find out more about this.
Whats your name? he asked.
Im Karl, but
you can call me Intrigued.
Chloe laughed flirtatiously,
slapping him playfully with a customer survey
response card that had been helpfully situated in
the waiting room by the Quikee Lube team.
Would you like to come over for a drink?
she asked him, while putting firm cylindrical
containers of viscous engine lubricant into a
shopping bag. Karl nodded yes. They got into
their cars after their oil changes had been
completed, and he followed her out of the Quikee
Lube, onto the highway.
3 months (3,000 miles)
ago, they had coincidentally both been at Quikee
Lube for an oil change, though he did not
remember her. It had been busy that day, and Karl
was yelling at the Quikee Lube technicians,
berating them for their lack of expertise in
transmission fluid service and tire rotation.
Karl was also rudely pushing the other customers
aside, and kicking their vehicles. Chloe would
never forget that image of him kicking her car,
his leg swinging back and forth in consistent
arcs, before he sped off. Chloe loved her car.
Chloes house was on a
winding cliff road near the ocean. As she drove,
she looked in the rear-view mirror, seeing
Karls car behind her. Reaching across the
seat, she picked up a plastic quart of motor oil,
which she had purchased at the Quikee Lube, and
poured it out the window. Karls tires
skidded on the oil slick, and his car lost
control, sliding over the edge of the cliff,
crashing on the jagged rocks below.
Chloe checked her list, and
scratched off Karls name. She looked at the
sticker that Quikee Lube had applied to her
windshield. Next Service: 3,000 miles.