Shorter and more often on Bobby B, or I’ll never get it written
“POS Restorations?” The guy grabbed Bobby’s arm and shook his hand like a first-class politician who was behind in the polls. Bobby had seen the guy smile a thousand times on TV, but he was shorter in person and the lights in the shop gave the golden hair that might not be all his a greenish tint. “And you’re paying us to work here, right?”
“What’s the tag line for POS again?”
“Show a loser some love.” Bobby looked around, felt like he was being interviewed for TV. “Maybe. Maybe that needs work…” The lights were too bright, the guy was in total television host mode, not body shop boss.
“Tell me what you plan on doing at POS, Bobby. After you learn all our secrets. You know, just so we’re on the same page.” The guy winked over Bobby’s shoulder, at nobody.
“Well, uh… We’ll be doing cars nobody wants to see again. Vegas. Gremlins. Pintos, Geos, Corvairs. Dusters. Anything chapped, with wheels.”
“Somebody out there had one they always wished was cool.”
“Anyone who had a car on that list wished more than just the car was cool. My mother had an old, fishbowl Gremlin she ‘saved’ for me.” He’d used quote fingers on ‘saved’. “Can you believe that? I set it on fire the day before my sixteenth birthday. Some cars aren’t worth the effort, Bobby.” He winked again.
“That’s what people keep tellin’ me, but –”
Bobby couldn’t count the people who spun out from behind some tall walls on wheels, but there must have been twenty of them, with two too-skinny girls in sprayed on jeans and crop tops pushing a rolling tool cart with a big cake on top. “Welcome to the Monterrey Mick’s Mad Mods!” When he looked around again there were, no shit like magic, three cameras on dollies.
“Hey man, put the checkbook away. We don’t want your money.” Mick banged the door closed on an office they didn’t show on TV, reached under his logo golf shirt and ripped off a wide piece of elastic with Velcro on it, held it up in front of him. “Fuckin’ man Spanx, Bobby. Can you believe that shit? They have me eating rabbit food and working out, taking five shits a day. I felt bad, but Captain Kirk wore a girdle in Star Trek so what the fuck, do what you gotta do, right?” He handed Bobby a short set of stapled papers. “Sign this. If you need a lawyer, we know fifty. It’s about –”
“I can read.” Bobby read it all, knew some California lawyer had made their BMW payment for filling it in on a word processor. “I’m not paying you now, you’re paying me? A dollar an episode? Even for re-runs? I didn’t know there was TV hooked up to this.”
“Yeah.” Mick found his TV host and got magnanimous again. “We were dyin’ for a season concept until I got your call and the proposal from some lady lawyer in Baton Rouge. That bitch must eat glass for breakfast and hasn’t been fucked right since Reagan was governor. Off topic, I’m back. Look, everybody’s done muscle cars and rust buckets. Obscenely rare liked to killed us on parts, ran off two old-school machinists and the numbers went in the shitter. Pimps and players and sports stars and custom Escalades with initials embossed on the seats. Low riders painted like the Sistine Chapel according to the Aztecs…That shit pulled us out last season, but fuck me, I’m a body shop guy, not a bank. Financing on those deals almost killed me.” He reached across the gray metal desk and whacked Bobby on the shoulder. “Thanks to you we’re out to have fun this season. We have a VW van and some other goofy shit lined up.”
“The ‘bitch in Baton Rouge’, she sent you the non-disclosure and intellectual property forms for POS?”
“We signed them. I don’t know what you’re worried about. Nobody gives a rat’s ass about shitty cars except watching us turn turds into diamonds in an hour. You should have called your little operation PAT. Polishing a Turd. No matter how much it shines, a turd’s a turd. I drop a couple five times a day, I oughta know, right?” Mick laughed like taking five shits a day made him the funniest guy on the planet.
“Thirteen shows, sixteen weeks. The long fucking hours are reality. You’ll work every station, every build. Rotation will put you in and out in the middle of things. Ask questions, stay out of the way, take all the notes you want. Start thinking about this yesterday – we wrap the season with the Bobby Mobile. You have two weeks to find a place to live, get yourelf straight. Once we start, BANG.” Mick shoved Bobby’s paperwork in a desk drawer, picked up a cigar box full of water color paint tubes and brushes and opened the door.
“FYI. I’m banging Syd, the tall one with the rose on her shoulder. Because she likes to paint, and what she fucks up I can sketch again, and it beats paying her. Monik, the Cali-entay Mexican girl, is gay. And so is Larry, the not so Cali-entay sheet metal biker. Good luck getting laid out here with that accent.”
“She works for free, so she can paint your car pictures?”
It took Mick a second. “No, no, no, man. I let her trash my sketches pretending she can paint so I don’t have to pay to fuck her. Jesus, Bobby, park the turnip truck. This is L.A. We don’t have time for stupid.”