Enterprise Car Rental
Salt Lake City
“Oh. You.” her eyes say as she looks me over carelessly. “Go stand over there.”
For a moment, I wonder if she’s going to do me like airport security, who didn’t actually frisk me, but made me feel naked just the same. Makes a guy want another layer of protection for his next flight , like maybe some stretchy pants.
And the stretchy would double-up for warmth. It’s like -40 degrees in SLC, and I’m layered to the gills and still freezing.
My body’s gone soft, because there’s no such thing as winter in Houston, and now I’m in the middle of the Rocky Mountains with an improvised winter ensemble.
Dang it! Where is the Enterprise Attendant? She’s been gone for two minutes, and the people standing in the line behind me are all getting in their cars and driving away. They probably pulled me from the line because I rented the cheapest compact car available, and because I also fantasized about renting from Alamo. And because I’m attending a writing conference instead of writing my next book.
And then she’s appears out of nowhere like some parking garage opera phantom, scaring the imaginary stretchy pants off me and waving a pair of key fobs in my face. “Would you like a Dodge Mkmsdmmhgmmhmr?”
“ I got you a free upgrade.”
I still don’t know what she’s talking about, but I like the sound of an upgrade, especially one that’s free.”
“That sounds great! Thanks”
And then she’s gone again, gesturing vaguely into the parking garage. “It’s just over there . . .”
It takes five minutes to figure out what a Dodge Mkmsdmmhgmmhmr is, because some idiot keeps pressing the unlock button on a black sports car three cars up and to my left, which distracts me from finding my own car. I don’t have time for this. I’ve got another hour to drive, an 8:00 am lecture to deliver to a class of graduate students, and a full day of writing panels to attend and interviews to conduct. I’m tired and I’m cold. In desperation I pop the trunk to my invisible vehicle, since the fob beeper system doesn’t seem to work.
The black V8 Hemi nods at me. “Maybe, ‘upgrade’ wasn’t the right word,” I think to my phantom fairy godmother.
And I can’t stop the wicked grin from spreading all over my face, across my neck, and into my hands and chest and feet. It’s going to be a great weekend.