On the Plus Side Online - Tabatha Vargo


Devin Michaels

“But, Dev, he hit me first… kind of,” Jenny said as she handed me a socket wrench. I was under the car, of course. Under the hood of a vehicle was my second home.

“It’s not my fault he didn’t protect his balls. You always protect your balls. Even I know that, and I’m a chick.” She bit her nails as she talked. I could tell by her muffled voice.

“That’s debatable. Me and Dad aren’t so sure anymore,” I chuckled as she kicked my booted foot that stuck out from under the car. “Also, could you please not talk about balls with me? I’m pretty sure there’s like a rule about little sisters saying the word balls anywhere in the vicinity of their brother. If there isn’t, let’s just go ahead and put that rule on the books.” I released the old oil from the engine.

It splattered up from the oil pan and landed on my grease-covered shirt. I pulled the rag from my back pocket and wiped my hands so that I could get a better grip on the ratchet.

“I’m assuming the new rule applies to the word cock, too?” she laughed.

“Yes!” I said a little too loudly. “That word is strictly forbidden.”

“Don’t be a little bitch, Dev,” she said as she slipped a new oil filter under the car to me.

“Watch your damn mouth, Jenny. Could you at least attempt to be a lady? Ladies don’t kick boys in their balls because they win a game of Halo. I’d be pissed if I was him, too. You need to call him and apologize. Josh has been your best friend too long—don’t let a stupid game ruin that.”

“First of all, he did not win and B, I was raised by two dudes. I’m pretty sure the lady train left the station when I was nine.” She popped open a can of soda and sighed. “Whatever, I guess I’ll run him over some gummy worms later and say sorry. He’s such a baby. It’s just balls. He smacked me in the boob once and you didn’t hear me bitchin’ and moanin’,” she said as she left the garage and headed toward the back door of the house.

“You said balls again!” I yelled from under the car.

I couldn’t hear her response over the loud smack of the screened door.

I finished up the oil change then worked on a dent that I acquired at the grocery store. Poor Lucy, my sixty-nine Chevy Camaro, didn’t stand a chance against the wayward grocery cart.

She was a gift from my dad. When I got her she was just a big heap of junk, wouldn’t even crank. My dad isn’t one for gifts, but being a mechanic has its perks every now and again. When a customer couldn’t pay for the new transmission my dad dropped in his truck, a trade for the cash was offered and I got Lucy. To me, she’s worth every minute we put into that man’s piece-of-shit truck. Dad might not agree with me on that, but what can I say, I got the better part of that deal.

Lucy’s the epitome of beauty. You can’t buy the kind of character that an old muscle car has these days and Lucy had character. I’d rather be out there secluded in the garage with her, than any other place in the world. I’d spent hours overhauling my car and I’d spend every dime on the project, if I had a dime.

At my age, I should have a steady woman in my life, but cars are better than women. They’re gorgeous, powerful, and they purr when you handle them. They do all that without the mandatory attachment that women require.

“Devin! Are you gonna stay in that garage under that car all day? I need ya to come in for a minute, boy!” Dad yelled from the back door of the house.

“I’m comin’!” I hollered back. “Is this man ever gonna give me a break?” I sighed to myself.

It wouldn’t be so bad if I actually made some money working in the shop with Dad. Since I make such a crappy paycheck, the least he could do is give me five minutes to dwell on my less-than-stellar life. Instead, he pushes me harder and harder every day. You’d think he’d appreciate the fact that I haven’t ran off and left him high and dry, but oh no…not Harold Michaels, a.k.a., the town drunk.

If my dad could fix a car as fast as he could take out