I was working in the garden and my cat, Olivia, was snooping around as I cleaned the flower beds. Thinking she seemed like an intelligent creature, I tried to teach her to pull weeds. She cocked her right eye at me and stalked off.
At that moment, Tyrone, Motorhead's youngest son, burst through the backyard gate like a hyper-energetic 13-year-old-which he is.
"Whoa, slow down Rone," I said, "you're going to take that gate off its hinges. How about giving me a hand with these weeds?"
"Aw, Dad, I was just heading to play laser tag." He sighed one of the most deflated and dejected sighs I have ever heard even from a teenager. I patted his back and assured him that laser tag would be there when we finished our talk about his new job.
"My new job?" His eyes were wide. "You mean helping you out at Motorheadquarters?"
I draped my arm around his shoulder and squeezed. "Sure, how about Tuesdays and Thursdays from ten to two?
"Cool, except, I didn't think you were serious. I took another job with Frank, the real estate guy. He wants me to enter all his past accounts into a special computer file. He figures it'll take all summer and he's going to pay me 10 tho' for the work."
It was Motorhead's turn to have bulgy, wide eyes. Disappointment must have dripped off my face. Then Rone said, "Just jokin' with you, man. 10 to 2 will be great." He hugged me. "Thanks Dad."
Tuesday morning was hectic when Tyrone slid into the shop. The seat on his bicycle was all the way down on the frame. His look said, "You think I ride this way on purpose, fool?" But his mouth said, "The seat won't stay up; it keeps sliding down all the way. The bolt needs to be tightened."
I nodded toward my work stall and said, "There's Box O'Tools. Knock yourself out."
I stuck my head back under a car's hood and continued my repair. I was lost in spark plug replacement when I heard Narleen's voice sounding panicky. "Whoa, whoa, what are you doing with that pair of vice-grips, short stuff?"
Tyrone looked up from his struggle and huffed, "Who are you calling short stuff? I'm taller than you, man." He stretched himself out and got in her face. I was surprised. He actually did tower over her by about half an inch.
Narleen's steel-gray eyes locked his dark browns in a sinister retinal battle. "I wasn't talking about your height, Roneman," she hissed.
Tyrone shrunk back to his normal size and sighed, "Hi Aunt Narl. I'm just trying to tighten this bolt that keeps the seat from falling down. I can't seem to get a good grip on it."
"Well," she stepped closer, victory in her voice, "that's because you're not using the right tool. See how you've cobbled up the bolt head? Let's put in a new bolt and you can tighten it with a 14 mm box-end wrench. And, don't call me 'man.'"
Narleen helped with the replacement and the tightening then hugged Tyrone close and said, "Always remember, Roneous, use the right tool for the job.
"If you have any questions, just ask your Aunt Narleen; she knows about tools. Now start sweeping this place up, dude. Your old man isn't paying you to fix your own rig. He is paying you, isn't he?"
Later, when I went to the teapot to fill my cup, Tyrone was leaning on his broom. He looked over Guacamoto's shoulder into a cavernous engine compartment. "Hey, Guac, wassup."
The tiny bells on the ends of Guacamoto's abundant cornrows tinkled pleasantly when he turned and shone his magnificent grin on his young friend. "I'm replacing the timing belts on this Subaru. Have a look."
Guac pointed to the belts and stepped to the side. Ty leaned in, and peered at the work in progress. "So, Mr. Jamaica Man, what's wrong with the belts that are on here?"
"Nothing, except that they're old. This is scheduled preventative maintenance."
Tyrone screwed up his face and asked plaintively, "Do I have to memorize that?"
"No, but I'll tell you all about it, anyway," Guac said, his understanding grin still in place. "Manufacturers, after extensive research, have developed a schedule of items that should be inspected, adjusted or replaced after a certain number of miles. You following me so far?"
Tyrone, rapt, nodded, "Sure, man, I'm with ya'."
Guacamoto went on to explain in his melodious voice, "Replacing these timing belts is scheduled every 60,000 miles. This beauty has 58,000-and-some miles, so we're replacing the belts before they exasperate the owner by breaking at the most inopportune time. Make sense?"
"Definitely, dude, but how do you know what stuff, when?"
Guac stood up, loomed over the teenager and said softly, "In the glove box, in the owner's manual, under: Maintenance Schedule. You have to memorize that. And, don't call me dude."