floyd is a service manager at the mercedes dealership in greensboro. he’s originally from waynesville. but i guess the bright lights of the triad lured him away from the mountains. he was fine to work with, except for not even attempting to spell my last name and giving me one of those ‘you ain’t from ’round here, are ya, son?’ looks when i walked in his office.

that happens everyday. so that’s not my point.

i needed my car serviced. i haven’t heard good things about the benz dealership in asheville. i especially didn’t want a trainee here working on the car. my sister lives in greensboro. so i could say ‘hello’ to her and get the car checked in the meantime.

besides the scheduled maintenance, there was only one thing i needed them to check.

when the A/C was set to medium speed, it made a weird noise, kinda like a playing card put against spinning bicycle spokes. but it didn’t make the noise if the A/C was manually set on ‘high’.

i thought a fan blade was loose or a piece of paper that i put in the glove compartment slipped into the A/C vent.

i was wrong.

i got floyd’s interim report about noon. here’s how i remember the conversation:

floyd: well, we found out what was making the sound in your A/C unit.
me: oh, OK, that’s good. what was it?
floyd: uh, well… it seems a rat built its nest in the system and that was interfering with it’s working properly.
me: what’d you say, floyd? (said a la diff’rent strokes’ “what you talkin bout willis?”)
floyd: uh, well… i’ve heard of it happening before. if a car is stored for a long period or kept on a field, small animals can climb-up into the engine compartment to set-up a sweet little den for themselves.
me: what’d you say, floyd?
floyd: uh, well… we know it was a rat because the technician was using pliers to pull-out the nesting material and one of the things he pulled out was the rat’s head.
me: what’d you say, floyd?
floyd: uh, well…we can keep the head for ya if you wanna have a look when you pick up the car. the tech still has it.
me: what’d you say, floyd? …

so it seems that every time i turned on the heater this winter my A/C was slapping a rat in the head, like moe slapped curly in the “three stooges” films.

the moral of this story is to quit smoking.

what?

i smoke. i knew smoking affects the sense of taste. but now i know it affects the sense of smell to the point where i don’t notice the odor of a decaying rat in my car.

wow and yuck.

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