"Get out of the car now!" The man in the hoodie yelled.

The driver, taken completely by surprise, looked at the man with the gun in surprise and disbelief.

"What?" He managed to sputter out in shock.

"I said, get out of the damned car or I will blow your brains all of over that nice German leather.

“Actually, it’s not real.” The man in the car said correcting the man with the gun.

“What’s not real?” The would be car jacker surprisingly asked, taken aback by the response.

“The seats. You said if I didn’t get out of the car, you would blow my brains all over the nice German leather seats. But BMW uses what’s called a leatherette, or synthetic leather. I mean, they still make real leather, but I didn’t want to pay extra for…”

“Shut up! I don’t care. Just get out of the car, now!” By this time, the carjacker knew he had been on the scene for too long. It was just a matter of time before a witness or even worse, a would be good Samaritan came along.

“I’m sorry, I just run on sometimes.” The man apologized as he put his hands up and slowly climbed out of the car struggling to use only his leg muscles.

“Put your hands down you idiot, I don’t want the whole neighborhood to see us. Just get out of the car and face the other way.”

“I’m sorry, this is my first carjacking.” The man replied. “It’s all so exciting.”

“Well this is my first one too.” The carjacker confessed.

“Really?!” The man said in surprise as he turned to face his attacker. “You are doing a great job. I mean the way you came up quickly and surprised me. It was great, amazingly effective.”

“Thanks.” The carjacker replied, almost smiling until he realized the man was watching him again. “Dammit, turn around, I said. I can’t have you watching me.”

“Oh, of course, sorry. Again, this is my first time.”

The carjacker ignored the man, realizing that even though it probably was not intentional, he was effectively prolonging this entire endeavor. He hopped into the car and was about to turn it on, when he realized there appeared to be two brake pedals and the shifter had numbers instead of letters on it.

“What is up with your car, man?” He asked.

“What do you mean?” The man turned, confused by the question.

“There are three pedals and no letters on the shifter.”

The man looked at this would be thief in amazement. Not sure exactly what to think.

“It’s a stick shift. Don’t you know what a stick shift is?” He asked.

“Do I look like I know what a stick shift is? What the hell is this extra brake pedal for?”

“It’s not an extra brake pedal. It’s called a clutch. It’s how you shift gears while driving.”

The thief looked at the man as if he had a second head growing out of his shoulders.

“Why would you want to shift while driving? The car is supposed to do it for you.”

“Not a car like this.”

At this point the thief had been with this man for way too long and now it was looking like he was not getting the car. But he needed this car, and he needed it tonight. He quickly devised a new plan and hopped out of the car. With his gun pointed at the man, he motioned for the man to get back in the car.

“You drive. I’ll watch. When I figure it out, I will take over and drop you off somewhere.”

The man climbed into the driver’s seat and the carjacker ran around to the passenger side. He pulled on the door handle and the door would not open. It was locked. He carjacker tapped on the window with his gun and the man embarrassingly hit the button to unlock the door. The carjacker climbed in beside him and just looked at the man.

“Sorry. Force of habit. Safety and all.” The man said.

“Good thinking.” His passenger replied sarcastically.

The man started the car and engaged the clutch. He shifted into first gear, pressed down on the gas pedal while releasing the clutch and off they went.

The carjacker was trying to follow the man’s movements between shifting and working the gas pedal and clutch, but the movements were so fluid, so smooth.

“What did you do there?” The carjacker inquired.

“I shifted from first gear to second and am getting ready to put us into third. This car doesn’t shift automatically like say, an automatic.”

“Why would you want to do all that work, just to drive?”

“Because it’s fun. Watch.” The man replied as he quickly downshifted and slid the car through a turn at 40 miles per hour. “You can’t do that in an automatic.” He smiled.

They drove through town and the carjacker began to understand the concept of a stick shift.

“So, this is how all cars used to be?” He asked the man.

“At one time.”

“So, teach me what you are doing. Maybe trade me places and let me try while you guide me.” The carjacker asked, almost forgetting that he had the gun and was in charge.

“I am not sure I want to do that.” The man responded.

“Why not?” the young man asked, almost disappointed.

“I don’t know, maybe because you are stealing my car at gunpoint.” The man answered. “At what point did stealing a car that you know nothing about sound like a good idea? Actually, at what point did stealing any car become a good idea?”

“Look dude, I am sorry that I am stealing your car…” The young man began.

“And kidnapping me.” The man reminded.

“And kidnapping you.” The young man added. “But I don’t have a choice. If I want in this club, I have to boost a car, a nice car. I can’t be coming in with some hooptie.”

“You always have a choice.” The man said to him in the most understanding fatherly figure he could come up with.

“Not this time. In my neighborhood, you either take, or you get taken. I prefer to take.”

The man looked at the young man next to him, boy actually. He could not be old enough to drive a car, but he was old enough to steal one.

“What if I helped you? You know, get a nice car, but one you can drive.” The man offered.

“What do you know about stealing cars?” The boy asked looking at the man like he was crazy.

“Probably about as much as you.” Was the man’s response. “But I do know a nice car from a crappy one, and more importantly, which ones are less likely to be a stick shift."

“I’m listening.”

So, for the next half hour, the two drove around town and the man pitched his plan to help the boy steal a car. The boy listened intently, taking in everything the man said. He learned what kind of companies still made manual transmission cars like the one they were in and how to tell the higher end European models by the letters and numbers on the trunk. It was like a night school class in high end car boosting 101. The boy asked questions about what cars the man thought were easier to steal, and if it was true that only old men drove Mercedes, which got a laugh out of the man. In the short period of time, they were joking, and the man felt he had gotten somewhere. They could have been friends out for a night on the town, or at their ages almost like a father and son just chatting.

When he finished, he looked at the boy next to him. The young man had taken it all in and the man could tell he was really processing all the information. The man could tell that he was going for it. They were almost friends now, and the man felt he had really gotten through to the boy.

"So what do you think?" The man asked.

The boy looked at the man after working everything out in his mind.

“I don’t think so. Get out.”

The man watched helplessly from the sidewalk as the rear lights of his car slowly faded away along with the horrendous sound of his transmission gears grinding to nothing as the boy tried to shift the car out of first gear.

August 29, 2020 02:04

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