Oil Change, Part 1

“Miss O’Connor?”

Sitting on a chair in the customer waiting area of Lefty’s Automotive, Jen O’Connor, healthy and hefty and in her mid thirties, lowered the magazine she was reading onto her lap and looked up at the young man standing on the opposite side of the register.

“You’re all set.” The young man swiped thin black hair off his face. Like Jen, a few inches over five feet, broad-shouldered. He waited for her to reach the counter. “That dashboard light weren’t nothing, just an annoying reminder to go to the dealer and pay too much for scheduled maintenance.” He turned a piece of paper smeared with grace in her reading direction. “We changed the oil, like you asked. Also wrote down everything you need for the maintenance — Lefty’s prices are pretty good, save you a couple hundred over going to the dealer.” He tapped the paper. “That’s what you owe today, and here — ” tap tap — “is what we’d change for everything else. Drop it off in the morning, we’d have it ready for you by 5. You work in town?”

Jen shook her head, as she laid her vinyl handbag on the counter. “Nah, my office’s in the city.” She retrieved a blue-covered checkbook from the handbag. “I’m a manager at Stop ‘N Shop, come out here once, maybe twice a week to check on the store in town.” She checked the amount on the paper, began writing a check. “Sure wish they’d build that bridge — make these trips a lot quicker.”

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