Naples:life,death &
                Miracle contact: Jeff Matthews

© Jeff Matthews  entry Sept 2015  Allegro ma non troppo #35  (original pub. date, Lion Magazine, 1990-5)

A Christmas Carol

(From wire services) A company executive contacted thieves after they stole his expensive car by calling them on its cellular telephone. He struck up such rapport with the thieves that they even asked him whether to refuel with leaded or unleaded. They had a joyride, then left his car undamaged and safely parked in a nearby town.

"Hey, Mugsie, get the phone, again, willya?"
"Yeah, boss, ain't that somethin'?! I never heard of no car wit' no phone before. Ahem…Yeah? Hello? Merry Christmas to you, too, sweetheart. Huh?! Hey, lady, you should be ashamed of yourself! Yeah? Well, he ain't in. Look, this ain't your boyfriend, and heavy breathin' and that kinda talk don't do a thing to me, got that? Call back and I call the cops. Same to you, lady. Get lost."

"Uh, Mugsie, we don't call no cops. This is someone else's car, remember?  Uh-oh, there it goes again. I'll handle it this time. Yeah? Whaddya mean, where's your car? It's right here with us, pal, and that's for us to know and you to find out. Just gonna do a little 'Christmas shopping' at a bank, if you catch my drift. By the way, doc, your weird-o girlfriend just called; you know, Miss Sewer Mouth, and— whaddya mean, I should mind my own business— if you don't want people to know your're a pervert, you shouldn't put a phone in your car and then leave the keys in."

"Hey, doc, Lulu there on the phone— she wouldn't be what busted up your marriage, would she? Huh? How do I know? 'Cause right before that, your ex-wife called and said you're late with your payments, again, and… What? How should I know which ex-wife! How many ex-wives you got?  Oh. Well, this one said: 'If he don't pay up, he'll be in the slammer just like that.' Huh? Can she do that? Yeah, she could nail you good, pal. I remember this guy we had in the joint, he done what you done and they put him in with some real hard cons by mistake. Wanna know what they…  No, I'm not trying to depress you, pal, but you asked.  Believe me, she could do it. Better you should pay up."

"Oh, your mother called, too, and wants you to come up for the holidays. Whaddya mean, what did I tell her!  I told her you wuz out. No, I didn't tell her about… hey, whaddya think we are?! We swipe cars and knock over banks—we ain't rats. Oh, yeah, your kid called from school. Next term's medical textbooks are gonna cost three-hundred and twelve dollars, so could you…huh? Yeah, I know what you mean, pal, it seems like a lot for books to me, too. I remember when paperbacks cost forty-nine cents. Time was I could live for six months on one heist, too, but them days is gone, forever."

"Would I what? Call 577-9861 and tell her tomorrow is still on? Say, she ain't the same one who just called, is she? Oh, another one. Say, pal, it seems to me like you gotta get your life in order, know that? Say, whaddya do, anyway. Oh, before you lost the big Abercrombie account you used to…that's a rough one, doc. I bet you used to make pretty good dough, what with this car and all. That reminds me, the bank called about your car payments. Don't worry, they can't repossess it as long as you ain't got it, right? Sorry, pal, just a little attempt at humor, 'cause I see you got some real problems. "

"You say we should torch the car so you can get the insurance? No can do, pal. I love cars. I ain't left as much as a scratch on any car I have ever borrowed. Cars is like persons, pal: you gotta treat'em with respect. Look, how much you owe on this little sweetie? Uh-huh. And your ex-old-ladies? Ouch. Left your shirt, but took the skin, huh?  Hey, hey, what is this I am now hearing? You ain't cryin', are ya, doc? Look: wheels, ex's, and the kid come to about how much? Uh-huh. So after the heist, we'll park your wheels over on Fourth Avenue near the bridge, somewheres. Keys'll be under the passenger-side mat. Check under the back seat, ok? Just a little present for you, depending on the haul. Hey, it's Christmas, right? Spread some cheer, I always say. Oh, yeah, if you get a traffic ticket in the mail for running a light, fight it. Nah, it was still yellow. What? Ok, right. Yeah, right. Thanks, doc. Nice talkin' to ya. Merry Christmas to you, too."

"Hey, boss, that was the guy, huh?"
"Yeah, says we shouldn't lay rubber on the getaway 'cause there's no tread left on the tires. And please to fill up with unleaded. Credit card's in the glove compartment. Let's step on it, Mugsie, the doc is countin' on us. But first, call  577-9861. Tell her he says 'Merry Christmas'. Then, tell her he's busy."

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