Ever since Norm died, Marty had gotten into the habit of picking up tools around the shop and sighing over them. Sometimes Douglas thought Marty missed his dad more than he did. But Douglas lived in a house full of reminders, so a hydraulic jack didn’t faze him all that much these days.
“You hear about that drunk-ass Indian?” Marty said, rolling a socket wrench in the palm of his hand. It was a Saturday. They were at the shop replacing someone’s alternator.
“I guess one of them tried holding up the Quickie Mart with an iPhone.”
“It’s just typical is all I’m saying. Bunch of freaking morons.”
“You ever think how The Wampum Shop is run by a white woman?” Douglas said as calmly as possible. “All these tourists stopping to buy tom-toms. Or, if they’re feeling a little crazy, maybe a dream catcher or two.”
“Hell,” Marty said, flipping the wrench end over end. “They’re free to open up their own stores and call them Whitey’s if they want.”
Douglas was all too familiar with Marty’s take on the subject. He knew his only option, if he wanted to finish the car in any kind of peace, was to ignore him. Which he did. But, later, when he was filling out the paperwork, Marty came into the office holding a wooden statue of Don Quixote seasoned with years of grease.
“You going to keep ol’ Don around?”
“I don’t know,” Douglas said. “With all these drunk Indians running around, maybe we could use him to protect the shop.”
“Very funny. Where’d Norm get him anyway?”
“Spain, I think. He told me he got it off some street vendor.”
“I always thought Cervantes was a type of champagne,” Marty said and placed the statue on the desk. “Anyway, I just thought you might want to take him home. Or if you didn’t, you know, maybe I could.”
“I think Norm would have liked him to stay in the shop. I still have his fishing rod, though, if you want.”
“No, that wouldn’t be--”
“Marty, you know how often I fish.”
“Yeah, angler of the frickin’ year.”
“Exactly. I’ll bring it in one day. Meantime, why don’t you see if you can’t get those brake lines bled. After that, we can check out the protest.”
“Pass,” he said and started to leave.
“You know there’s a sign over the bar at Old 51 that says No Red Niggers. Still think there isn’t a problem?”
“Oh, come off it. They lost.”
“The war. I suppose you think we should send Christmas cards to the Japs and Nazis, too?”
“I didn’t know you could win a genocide.”
“Whatever. Even your Dad used to say they should call themselves the Chippa-wah-wahs since they’re always crying about something.”
“Just forget I asked.”
“Consider it forgotten,” Marty said, grabbing the statue by the neck. “I’ll put the champagne back by the oil.”
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