"What?" said Dennis Fellis, holding the marker cap to his teeth. "What is it?"
Dennis Fellis was in a bit of a bind. He had just gotten his first Bugatti at a tremendous discount. It had come with all of the bells and whistles, including hydraulics, window tints, and a racing mode. What Dennis hadn't bothered to realize was that the whole car was fake. Every inch of it was a counterfeit, made without even the semblance of propriety. His father, Max Fellis, was able to see through the whole thing right from the get-go. First it was the birthday cake topped with ashes, then it was the wedding ring that sang "wah, wah," and now this. This was just one more stone in the coffin of the Fellis family pride.
"You know what it is, son," said Max. "This is going to kill your mother."
"Mother's already dead, dad," said Dennis.
"Well, it's going to kill her again," said Max. "How are we going to be getting home tonight?"
"I'll manage," said Dennis, "You know how it is. Swings and roundabouts."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"It means that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't."
"I wish your mother was here - God rest her soul. She'd set you straight."
Dennis thought of his mother and all of the things that she had told him growing up. She was the kind of woman who would never let go of a teachable moment. Anything that could be used as a learning opportunity would be used. She taught Dennis everything she knew, and that was a considerable amount.
"Half the damn car is plastic!," said Max. "It looks like Tonka truck! You couldn't see that?"
"Look, dad," said Dennis. "I just wanted to get a discount. I didn't spend the whole 3 million."
"How much did this cost you?" said Max.
"Nine hundred and fifty thousand," said Dennis.
"You overpaid by nine hundred and forty-nine!"
"Look, dad, this isn't a big deal. It's swings and roundabouts. Lions and apple juice. We'll figure things out."
"No, son. We don't figure this part out. What?"
Yes way. As Dennis looked down the street, he saw a familiar figure turn the corner and head in their direction. Wearing the skimpiest of skintight outfits with authentic leather pumps and red lipstick was "her"; the woman, the goddess; Formeldahyde Dancer.
"Oh, my God, she's here! I can't believe this!"
His father, more familiar with the celebrities of his grandparents, wasn't privy to Formeldahyde.
"What? What? Who's here?"
With a powerful visage and a beauty second to none, her eyes immediately locked onto Dennis's "Bugatti." Without the semblance of hesitation, she made a bee-line directly for the car.
"Who's is this?" said Formeldahyde, mentally kicking the tires. "This is nice."
The beauty. The unmitigated beauty. Dennis wasn't used to being exposed to this level of celebrity, fame and infamy. He clammed up.
"Hello?" said Formeldahyde. "Aren't you going to answer."
"Yeah, it's his," said Max. "My little playboy."
Dennis was in a daze. He couldn't think straight, much less take the credit. He began to drool slightly, looking at her perfectly proportioned facial muscles, he neatly-trimmed hair, her perfect teeth. Vaboomsha!
"Well, aren't you going to take me for a ride?" said Formeldahyde.
Dennis had to think about it for a moment. What was it, this fortune, that would allow for him to meet such a lady? What could he offer, other than a plastic Bugatti? What were his prospects?
"Uh, sure," said Dennis. "Let's go for a ride."
"Do you have gull-wing doors?" said Formeldahyde. "Those are cool."
"No, my gulls come in through the window," said Dennis, not entirely clear as to what she meant.
They climbed into the car through the distinctly not gull-wing doors and got strapped in. The interior screamed "disco painting". There was tie-die motif spread throughout the cabin. It had a "get up and go" feeling to it.
"So, what's your name?" said Dennis, trying to get to the conversation before the car started.
Formeldahyde simply stared at him. Her eyes were the color of beauty and her lips were soft and supple. Was this it? Was she in love with him? He wouldn't find out any time soon.
"You know my name," said Formeldahyde. "Now let's get this car started. Is that an 8-track tape player?"
"Is that a what? No. It's a Netflix...stabilizer. Yeah."
"Okay," said Formeldahyde, trying to assuage her discomfort.
They sat there for a moment, each looking out a separate window. Dennis's hand slowly traversed the length of his shoulder strap, leaving no doubt as to his commitment to safety.
"Well?" said Formeldahyde.
"Well, what?" said Dennis.
"Aren't you going to start the engine?"
"The one in the car, silly!"
"Which car? This car? Oh, you want me to start the engine so that the car will move. Now I get it."
Smooth stalling. Now, all he had to do was fake a 900-horsepower, 750-torque engine and...
He turned the key. The car roared to life, with the power of a thousand lions. The windows began to shake and the entire chassis began to vibrate. This wasn't your grandfather's plastic Bugatti. Dennis couldn't believe that he was sitting in it. The real fake deal. The real fake McCoy. The genuine ingenuine article.
"Take me to Rheimis Avenue and 79th. I have people out there."
"Rheimis and 79th. Here it is, your free Bugatti taxi service, coming right up."
"And duck when we get there."
"Duck? Who eats duck in the middle of summer?"
"No, you duck," said Formeldahyde.
"Oh," said Dennis.
He then proceeded to press the horn. To his surprise, the regular horn had been replaced with a clown car's horn. As he sat there, listening to the interesting sounds, Formeldahyde looked at him. It wasn't an angry look, nor even a particularly annoyed one. She seemed fascinated with him, in a way.
"Rheimis and 79th," said Formeldahyde.
"Rheimis and 79th," said Dennis.
He then pulled out of the parking spot, letting the world know that it had a new king in the realm of plastic. He turned the car down Main street, making sure to use his turn signals properly. The engine misfired a few times, but it was okay. Formeldahyde gave him a special look that let him know he was doing alright.
"Now gun the engine!" said Formeldahyde.
"You mean shoot it? I'll do that later."
"No, I don't mean shoot it. I mean gun it. You know. Let's have fun. Let's speed. Let's get tickets."
"Oh, so you want me to..."
"Yes, if you please..."
"You want me too...increase speed?"
"Yes, I want you to gun the engine so that we can break the world record!"
Just like in the movies, Dennis grabbed the nearest thing that looked like a gear lever, pulled it all the way back, and stomped on the gas pedal. The wheels spun like crazy, kicking up immense smoke and creating a symphony of rubber and asphalt. Exactly one our later, they were at their destination, but the car was a smoking wreck.
"How are we supposed to get back?" said Formeldahyde.
"I hear Triple-A's got a Bugatti discount. I think I have a coupon for it somewhere."
"So, you wanted us to come here. Rheimis and 79th. What are we doing here?"
Just then, she grabbed his hand and led him forward.
"We're here to see the Oracle."
"Oracle? I don't believe in that hocus pocus stuff."
"Do not say such things. The Oracle can tell you your future, tell you what happens. The Oracle sees all."
"Oh, okay," said Dennis.
As they continued walking down the street, there was a feeling of camaraderie between them. She looked at him with an expression that showed a depth of respect and a joy for being alive.
"Quickly, this way," said Formeldahyde. "We are almost there."
It was getting darker, and the night sky was forming. They came to a large apartment building overlooking a hospital. Dennis should have put two and two together, but, what the hay. He went along with his new companion as they entered the front door of the apartment building.
"Dang, the elevator's out again. We must take the stairs."
"Oh, wow," said Dennis.
They walked up the ten flights of stairs. As they did, they witnessed a few children playing in the stairwell. The building was old, if not decrepit. It seemed like the type of place that someone at the end of their life would live in. Within a few minutes, they made it to the door.
"It is here. The Oracle. Brace yourself."
"I-look. Let's not..."
Formeldahyde grabbed his hand and dragged him into the apartment. The door was wide open for some reason. The place had many visitors. She guided Dennis through the crowd and went directly to the Oracle's room. They entered.
"Oracle, this is Dennis," said Formeldahyde. "He drove me in a Bugatti."
"Bugatti?" said the Oracle. "That fake old thing. It was ninety percent plastic for God sakes!"
"Actually, it was more like 88 percent," said Dennis.
"What's an extra two percent?" said the Oracle.
"It means a lot when you pay as much as I did."
"You overpaid by hundreds of thousands of dollars. Your mother must be turning over in her grave!"
"Where are the rings?"
Formeldahyde then produced two rings. She placed one each on her ring finger and on Dennis's.
"By the honor vested in me, I now pronounce you man and wife. Kiss."