Thursday, 31 March 2016
Young Jed's Story
Young Jed’s father, Old Jed, had been the best darn garage man in this part of the county. It wasn’t just him who said it, everyone did. Old Jed had dedicated his life to the good folks of Cesarwood and their little automobiles - which was a good thing, considering the horseless carriage didn’t make it into Old Jed’s life until he was in his early twenties. Yet the boy and latterly the man, had been born to fix such things. He had engine oil instead of blood running around those veins.
Everyone said so.
And I guess Old Jed wouldn’t have been the father to young Jed, if it hadn’t been for the persistence of Myra – the local beauty who would walk past the garage at every opportunity. If she hadn’t, well young Jed wouldn’t have been born and Old Jed would have died a lonely old man, I reckon.
Jed, old Jed that is, could think of nothing more than a car engine. Even when Myra got a ring on her finger and a child in a crib, it was always the automobiles which were uppermost in his mind. When young Jed had grown some, Myra thought it best to take her son down to the garage to learn some of his pa’s wisdom, otherwise they were both likely never to see the man.
And young Jed, although not as good as his father, was certainly competent at fixing things. And that is how things kinda progressed for the next few years.
Then Old Jed went to the great garage in the sky and the business was turned over to his son. Myra went into a long decline of mourning and never really set foot in the garage again.
At first, young Jed kept the momentum of the garage going, and it didn’t seem that hard, but what he had forgotten was that folks get old and no longer drive. His father, as well as fixing the autos, was always out looking for new, young customers.
So within a relatively short time, Jed’s work began to dry up and he was struggling to keep himself in new shoes.
What happened next is probably a mystery to Jed as it is to anyone else. Young Jed saw the Judge’s car parked outside a café on the west of town. Jed loved the big automobiles that the Judge drove and so went over to have a closer look. It was then that Jed happened to notice that a little bit of rod was coming loose. Jed looked around and so help me, he loosened the rod a little more.
Jed sat over by the library and watched as the Judge started up the car and got no further than a drunk man’s crawl up the street, before the automobile came to a crashing halt. There was smoke and there was a burning smell as Jed drove over to where the Judge was cussing.
“Can I be of help?” asked young Jed.
“Well, I’ll be, young Jed, just the man I need righty here, this goddamn minute,” said the Judge – cussing as he usually did.
And so Jed went around the car, taking in deep breaths and shaking his head as if it was going to cost a pretty penny to fix (which it did). But the Judge could afford the cost on account of being the richest man this side of the Mississippi.
And that was what started young Jed on a life of what some might call crime. He would go out at night and loosen a nut here or a bolt there. He’d keep records so as not to pick on any particular car too often.
“Ain’t it strange,” said Mister Holly, “that my car seems to break down every 12 weeks, without fail, if you know what I’m saying.”
And young Jed did know what he as saying – very much indeed.
I’ve got to be honest and tell you that they never caught young Jed - but Karma threw its hand into the ring. When young Jed died, the undertaker’s hearse was one that Jed had only just loosened a screw on. So instead of taking Blind Man’s corner up on the turnpike, the wheel came off the hearse making it turn over and Jed’s coffin went shooting out and off into the Mississippi.
They never did find young Jed and folks in town found that their automobiles didn’t break down so often.
bobby stevenson 2016