Triumphs for nothing and lamenting toy[otas]s
Is jollity for apes and grief for boy[otas]s.
—Cymbeline, Act IV, Scene ii
I can’t speak for the jollity of the apes — though the grease monkeys in the bays, or, more usually, slouching around outside the bays, did seem unusually prone to loud laughter — but this boy most certainly did experience grief as the minutes ticked by, then hours, as I waited for the Toyota mechanics to change the oil, etc on Mrs NiceWork’s Camry.
The hours were not made shorter by the blaring of the old-fashioned, cube-shaped TV. It was tuned to the seemingly brain-damaged, bawling announcers on that Pee-wee Playhouse news channel called CNN, and was adjusted to air-raid warning volume.
I did my best to fight boredom. My new Phancy-Phone helped brighten a few moments. (See the photo up there: Ha ha. That’s me in silhouette taking a picture with my Phancy Phone of the shadow on the floor cast by the lettering in the window.) And I had a jolly Milo & Alex murder mystery to read: Evidence, by Jonathan Kellerman. Powerful stuff that. And yet the Black Hole of Thousand Oaks Toyota defeated me. Boredom set in like a malevolent magic spell.
The keys were placed back in my trembling hand some 5.25 hours after they had been surrendered. The auto, presumably, was now safer. The driver — at least until the car was turned over to its usual pilot — was not, having been scourged past madness, past road-rage, and well into the red zone of Auto Parts and Services Waiting Room Rage.
Truly one of the worst — no, the worst — Battle of Lepanto Days in my life.
But I’m better now, thanksforasking. Two krautdogs from Wienerschnitzel expedited the return to civil society.
An Alex Delaware Novel
by Jonathan Kellerman
(Ballantine Books, Hardcover, 368pp.)