Cletus and Zeke were running guardrail in Eastern Carolina. They were working with an old black man named Thess, short for Thessalonians. The best thing about Thess was his grand-daughter Bobbi. She brought Thess hot lunch every day and after meeting Cletus and Zeke she made sure to bring extra, hot dessert for them too.
Bobbi was born with a sunny disposition and a smile for everybody she met, so it was notable when she showed up one day with tear-tracks running down her face and a very sad look.
Over lunch, she told Thess that she had taken her car into a local dealership to have the transmission fluid checked and the dealership refused to return her car.
Cletus had family up in Michigan who worked in a car dealership, the world famous Krapohl Ford of Mount Pleasant, Michigan "With a name like ours we have to rock your world to make a sale." He offered to go with Bobbi after work and see if it could be sorted out.
The person at the desk was not helpful. He claimed that state law required them to not return cars that were “unsafe”.
Cletus asked what was wrong with the car and the man looked at the ticket and said, “Putting the transmission into 'PARK' does not work.:
Bobbi started to interject that it worked just fine when she brought it in when Cletus shushed her. “So what are our choices?” Cletus asked.
“You can pay us $2000 open to fix the car or you can sell it to us for scrap value.” the man said.
“What does ‘$2000 open’ mean?” Cletus asked, even though he had a pretty good idea.
“That means the price can go up, depending on what we find.” the man replied.
“I want to talk to the owner.” Cletus said.
Shortly thereafter Bobbi and Cletus were ushered into Ralph Skrezya’s office. Skrezya had married into the business and used his big-city business techniques to vastly increase its profitability.
Cletus said, “Give us back the car. We will tow it to another repair facility.”
Ralph said, “No. Pay the money.”
Cletus said “That can’t be legal.”
“Law is a matter of opinion. It is my opinion that the state law demands that I hang onto your car.” Ralph said.
“Don’t you worry that word will get around that you are screwing your customers?” Cletus mused.
“Don’t care. There are millions of people in East Carolina. I only need to screw 10% of them to retire a very rich man.” Ralph said. “Pay the money or get the fuck out of my office. Otherwise I will call the cops and file a trespassing complaint.”
The next day Bobbi and one of her photogenic buddies were walking in front of Skrezya Car Dealership with sandwich signs, “Ralph Skrezya stole my car.”
The young women dressed in their best Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes and were very, very careful to stay on the sidewalk.
Many drivers honked their horns in support but no TV reporters came to interview them. Ralph Skrezya was a very big advertiser. A few of Bobbi's friends and shot video and pictures and posted to social media.
It was a disappointing morning.
To be continued...