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The Black Hole
by Jerry Guarino

Sometimes you walk right into the devil’s lair and don’t realize it until it’s too late. What may seem like a perfectly safe activity can turn into a nightmare that can last for years. We have all fallen into this trap. Thousands of messages have drugged us into the belief that this is a place of refuge, a haven in the midst of chaos, a respite from the storm of life. This false sense of security has sent millions into the abyss. Very few have survived a visit here and even fewer have had their vengeance.

“Welcome, son. I’m Sam Wakowski. What’s your name?” Don hesitantly offered his hand. “Don Marinelli.”
The manager took Don’s hand firmly and pulled it in a little. “Good to meet you Don. Thanks for coming in today. How can I help you?”

Don’s guard was up. “My lease is ending and I’d like to start a new one.”

Sam smiled, not pausing long enough to give Don time to think. “Always a good idea. Let me show you something a little better for a guy like you.” They walked right past the base model to the Eclipse coupe. “Not married Don? I could tell. This is what you should be driving.”

Don looked at the price tag. “Whoa. I don’t have that kind of money.”

Don slid into the sports car, wrapped his hands around the custom leather grip and closed his eyes. The smell was intoxicating. Don could imagine a lithe coed in the passenger seat, twenty something, with jeans and a Danskin top under a loose cardigan. “How much a month?”

Sam rubbed his thumb and finger. “We can take your car in, pay it off and make a new lease work for you.”

The next week Don opened a letter from the dealer. They wanted to renegotiate the terms of his contract. They wanted to increase his monthly lease by $100. He ignored the letter(s). The next month they started calling him. Finally they sent a certified letter-threatening lawsuit. Either sign the new contract or return the car. That morning, at 5am, Don drove the new car into the lot, slid the keys into the service slot and hiked over to the BART station to go to work. The coed would have to wait.

More letters, more calls. Don was having trouble sleeping but he had to end this. He called the dealer. Sam answered. “Don, yes thank you for calling. We just want to sort this out, let us all move on.” Don agreed to come in. He sat in the manager’s office, on the swivel chair that didn’t swivel. He started to perspire. In the corner was a sign that read:

All signed contracts are final. Consumers may not change the terms of their agreement after they have taken possession of the vehicle.

“Don, we want to put this behind us so we’re prepared to make a deal. You can still take the new car with the new lease or you can take back your trade in and leave.”

Don was puzzled. “But I returned the car. Your letter said if I return the car, it’s settled.”

Sam was getting testy. “But returning the new car means you have to take back your trade in.”

Now Don was feeling his heartbeat. “But I have a signed contract releasing me from the trade in and your sign says...”

But Sam cut him off. “I’m sorry, that’s the way it works.” Sam reached over and touched his arm. “Listen, you don’t want to make this legal. You can’t win.”

Don was feeling short of breath. “I’ll think about it.”

Sam looked like the proverbial cat that swallowed the canary. “Sure, take a day or two. We’ll clean up your old car or have the new one ready by Friday.”

Don met with an attorney but was told that it would cost him thousands of dollars to fight it and most firms wouldn’t bother with such a small case. He left crestfallen with no idea what to do. He decided to plea his case to a legal website where dozens of law firms may review it.

The tall blonde walked into the dealership, sat down in the chair and crossed her legs. Her face was perfect and her body was even better. The blue blazer over a white blouse, the grey, wool pleated skirt, the white stockings and navy blue high heels turned every head in the place. Her hair didn’t just shine; it sparkled. When she opened her lips, her smile rendered the men immobile. Every man in the place was locked in his own private fantasy; even the female customer service manager was drawn like a Klingon ship caught in a tractor beam.

The manager straightened his tie, tucked at his belt and sat across from her. With the false hope of an amateur against Mohammed Ali, he glided toward her. He had no chance. Everyone knew it but him. “How can I help you sweetheart?”

The blonde leaned forward, revealing some cleavage and opening her mouth a little more, then said with a low, slow voice. “What’s your name sailor?”

Sam was visibly tense, but he stammered. “Sam Wakowski, gorgeous. And you


Ready for the close, she flipped her hair back, winked and replied. “Serving you with a lawsuit.” Then she silently laughed and walked out the door.

Sam opened the subpoena. Class action suit for fraudulent and misleading business practices against Sam Wakowski of Mantup Motors, Burlingame, California and their partners on behalf of five hundred seventy four (574) plaintiffs. This lawsuit

seeks a judgment of $40,000,000.00.
Etc, etc and so on. Sam clutched his chest and fell to the floor.