“Rob, why are you buying the car?” asked Cecil Junior with a serious focus on his face.
“Is there some problem? The check cleared, didn’t it?” Rob asked anxiously. He thought this would be quick and easy.
“Oh, sure, sure, no problem,” said Cecil Senior.
“We just like to get to know our customers,” continued Cecil Junior.
“See, Rob,” said Cecil Senior, “each car is unique. It has its own character. So do our customers. We just like to know how that match is going to work out when you drive away.” Rob thought this was a little crazy, but, in some way, he understood.
“It’s going to work out fine,” said Rob. “See, I had a car like this in college. I loved that car.”
“What did you love about it?” asked Cecil Junior.
“Gosh, I don’t know. It’s hard to say. Guess it was just the time in my life that it gave me what I needed. You know, I was just a kid, really. Thought that I was an adult, but I wasn’t. I know that now. That car gave me a sense of being a man and being on my own. It was just me and the car. It was a sense of being cool. It was a sense of power. It was a toy that responded with acceleration when I needed it.”
The Cecil’s were nodding their heads indicating they understood.
“I think that most of all, it was all that I needed. Kinda like it and me were one. Just us and the world. What more did I need?”
“And now, Rob?” asked Cecil Senior.
“That was back then, Rob,” continued Cecil Junior. “How about now? Why do you want the car now?”
“I don’t know,” said Rob. “Maybe for all the same reasons. I want to be that kid again.”
“The lost child inside?” said Cecil Senior.
“Wow, Cecil,” said Rob. “Profound.”
“Yes,” said both Cecils in unison, the first response coming from both of them at the same time somewhat shocked Rob. “We know.”
“Want to see the car?” asked Cecil Junior.
“Sure,” said Rob, remembering how odd it was that he was meeting them here rather than at the garage.
“Let’s go,” said Cecil Senior. He rose and laid money on the table for the coffee they were drinking.
They left the Rock Bottom and Rob walked toward his rental car.
“Just leave that car here,” said Cecil Junior. “Give me the keys and I will drop it off at the agency later today.”
“OK,” said Rob. Guess that made sense he thought. Could not drive two cars and he expected to return from the garage with the Mustang.
The Cecils motioned Rob over to a large black SUV with tinted glass. Rob thought the vehicle looked like the ones in DC tailing motorcades filled with secret service agents and an arsenal of weapons. It looked out of place here in the desert, especially with the black paint job. He could not understand anyone having anything black in this heat.
The Cecils took the front seats and Rob slid into the back. The interior of the SUV was large and Rob felt isolated in back. The tinted glass did not help. In fact, it seemed more tinted than he usually experienced with the view outside almost completely obscured. If the Cecils had wanted to keep their location secret, this was the vehicle to use. All that was missing was a blindfold.
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