Author’s note: This is my flash fiction for July’s entry of the 2020 Flash Fiction Challenge. Each month of 2020, on the first Monday, I’ll draw cards to determine the genre, setting, and an object that has to appear in the short story. Participants will have until the following Monday to link their stories to the blog post I put out each month. Then I’ll do a follow-up post and share the stories that have come in (before the deadline). It’s only for fun and non-competitive.
July’s draw results: (Genre) epistolary, (setting) a car dealership, and (object) a brick. I might have taken a little licence with “Brick” in this story.
Hope you enjoy my entry: A Brick in the Bug
To: mtremblay @ frugalrides . com From: silverandfeisty @ narnia . com Dear M. Tremblay, Last Wednesday, I brought my vintage orange Volkwagon bug to your dealership on recommendation of a friend, who had said the service at Frugal Rides was excellent. She mentioned a Mr. Jones, who understood the model of my car exceptionally well. Unfortunately, it turns out that Mr. Jones was not available, and I was disappointed in that alone. Instead, the mechanic assigned to my precious vehicle was some colossal man named Brick. While I told myself it was possible this Brick person might be a gentle giant at heart, it turns out that a drunken bull in a china shop might have exhibited more poise. Not only did this hoolighan not repair my car, but he also spoke to me in such a profane manner, I'm sure the only words not vulgar were the and you know. Also, he referred to me as Toots on occasion. I can assure you, I am not now nor have I ever been somebody's Toots. Even in intimate moments, I have only accepted darling and beloved. But that's neither here nor there. What I really want is for you to pay for his mistakes. I mean, with regards to fixing my Volskwagon. As for his demenour, I'm sure there's not a charm school in all of the world who can put Brick's mannerisms in even close to human order. I've watched gorillas in cages with better etiquette, frankly. Anyway, I expect a discount on my current bill and for any further repairs to be free of charge. Sincerely, Ms. Mabel Bellamy
To: silverandfeisty @ narnia . com From: mtremblay @ frugalrides . com Dear Ms. Bellamy, Thank you for your letter and for bringing this to my attention. Unfortunately, we are living in the time of COVID-19, and because of his high-risk factors, Mr. Jones decided on early retirement. So, I cannot assign him to assess and repair your vehicle. I have spoken to Brick (this is the name he goes by and it's much easier to accept it than listen to the tirade that follows whenever we call him by his proper name). He remembered you, and while I scolded him for referring to you as anything other than Ms. Bellamy, he smiled and told me he thought you were a pistol and asked if you were single. Again, I informed him this was not at all appropriate. However, he was surprised to discover that your car was not working well, and will be happy to give it another look. Of course, we will not charge you for further repairs, and we can negotiate a discount for the original work. The only thing is that we cannot refund you the extra pandemic charge, as we require our staff to be properly attired to protect themselves from each other and the general public. I'm sure you understand this. Please let us know how you wish to proceed. Sincerely, Mic Tremblay
To: mtremblay @ frugalrides . com From: silverandfeisty @ narnia . com M. Tremblay, While I understand and accept the charge related to personal protective equipment and do not wish to argue that point, I think I would rather have my eyebrows burnt off with a blow torch than to have that crass leviathan near me or my automobile. I deserve far more of an apology than what I've been presented with so far. And I insist upon another mechanic. Frankly, with his conduct, I'm surprised nobody before has tossed that Brick through a window. Most sincerely, Mabel Bellamy
To: silverandfeisty @ narnia . com From: mtremblay @ frugalrides . com Ms. Bellamy, I accept your frustration but take exception to the violent metaphor in your last email. However, I read it to Brick and he laughed good-naturedly, then said something else about being thrown about that's not worth repeating. He did mention that he's willing to do whatever it takes to get your vehicle in better than new working order. He will also personally apologize for his behaviour. Again, please let me know how you wish to proceed. Mic Trembay
To: mtremblay @ frugalrides . com From: silverandfeisty @ narnia . com M. Tremblay, I was incensed to receive this in my Inbox: Quoted text: My darling beloved (much better than Toots, eh?) I'm sorry for your car troubles. I might have been distracted by your silver-and-feisty self. Let me bring out my big tool and get your bug purring like a cougar in heat. ~ Brick I see that I'll have to take matters into my own hands. Mabel
To: silverandfeisty @ narnia . com From: mtremblay @ frugalrides . com Ms. Bellamy, Brick assures me that he will not press charges, and for some reason is still impressed by your spirit. But I myself am shocked and appalled that a woman of your age would attempt to run over my mechanic, with the intention of pinning him to a cinder block wall while blasting classic rock lyrics about being just another brick in said wall. If it weren't for the fact that he so poorly repaired your car, the vehicle would never have stopped in time. You could have killed him and yourself! We will send you the bill for the original charges in lieu of pursuing a lawsuit. I expect payment upon receipt. M. Tremblay
To: mtremblay @ frugalrides . com From: silverandfeisty @ narnia . com I sent the e-transfer to the email address you provided. Mabel P.S. Worth it.
A Brick in the Bug © 2020 Cait Gordon. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without permission except in the case of brief quotations in critical articles and reviews. This is a work of fiction from the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. For more information, contact Cait Gordon.
Cait Gordon is a disability advocate who wants everyone to be wise and think of others as we battle COVID-19!
She’s also the author of Life in the ’Cosm and The Stealth Lovers. When Cait’s not writing, she’s editing manuscripts and running The Spoonie Authors Network, a blog whose contributors manage disabilities and/or chronic conditions. She also teamed up with Kohenet Talia C. Johnson to co-edit the Nothing Without Us anthology (now a 2020 Prix Aurora Award nominee) in an attempt to take over the world.