Saturday, November 20, 2010

I just met a mob guy…or so he said.

I have been in the market for a snow blower and have not really made up my mind of which way to go. I could either go with an adequate used one that will last a few seasons or buy new and have it last a few seasons. The 10% ethanol gas they use these days really tears up small engines.

It very well may be cheaper in the long run to buy a well maintained used one and just run it until it blows instead of buying a new one that probably won’t last very long, either.

Anyway, I answered a Craigslist ad yesterday and the seller assured me that the unit was in good shape, a two stage and an electric start. We agreed to meet this morning. I drove well over an hour to get there, but arrived at the appointed time.

I knocked on the door and this little thug answered it. I looked over his shoulder and saw the Italian flag hanging on the wall

One look at the little criminal and I knew exactly what I was in for. He was probably going to wind up as a mob guy poser. I just knew it. One look at him and I knew he had seen every single episode of ‘The Sopranos’ and it goes without saying that for three days after he saw ‘Rocky’ he would run around shadow-boxing.

Several years ago I sailed with one of his ilk. He claimed to be an Italian chef, yet everything he cooked tasted like Italian salad dressing. Everything! Worse yet, he couldn’t keep away from anything someone else cooked.

One morning I sat down to a nice plate of corned beef hash and the first bite told me he had dumped Italian dressing in it when I wasn’t looking. That particular morning has been often referred to as the morning Piccolo took the Godfather to Notre Dame and introduced him to the Fighting Irish.

I just waited for this little thug to say “Budda-bim, budda-bam.”

The man was a little punk, almost thirty. I also knew I was going to be looking at a piece of junk he wanted top dollar for.

When we stepped into the garage, my suspicions were immediately confirmed. This was a manual start single stage unit and it was in terrible shape.

I didn’t bat an eyelash and looked around a bit. There was a pretty good looking tool box in the back of the garage. I asked him if I could use a couple of tools to inspect the machine.

“You gonna buy it?” he asked.

I waved a wad of cash. “If it’s OK,” I answered.

Twenty minutes later the disassembled machine covered his garage floor.

I stood up and looked at the pile of pieces and admired my handiwork.

“Don’t want it,” I said.

The dumbfounded look of shock and outrage was a sight to see.

“What do you mean you don’t want it?” he cried.

“You told me it was an electric start, two-stage machine in good shape,” I replied. “I took it apart and carefully looked for the hidden second stage and the electric starter and can’t find them. The machine is also in lousy shape.”

“You have to buy it,” he declared.

“No I don’t. I don’t want it. It’s not what you said it was. If you can point out the missing second stage and find the missing electric started, we might have a deal. I couldn’t find either of them,” I intoned, solemnly.

“Wait a minute,” he shouted. “You know who I am? I’ve got some pretty good connections with the mob!”

“Wait, nothing,” I replied conversationally. You had me drive an hour and a half to come and look at a machine that you knew I didn’t want. You assured me it was an electric start, two-stage machine. You wasted three and a half hours of my day. Now you can waste your afternoon putting it back together. As for your mob connection goes, the mob isn’t going to whack me for this because if you tell your goombah about this he will laugh himself silly. Now grow up. See you.”


“But nothing,” I shot back. And I walked out and drove off.

As I was leaving I looked in my rear view mirror and saw him glance at his car and think for a second and turned back to watch me drive off. Then he turned and went back into the house.

The minute he was out of sight, I called Neighbor Bob and told him what happened. I gave Bob the little criminal’s phone number.

Bob must have been feeling mischievous because a few minute later he called me back and told me he had made an appointment to see the machine.

Of course, he’s not going to show, but it will probably keep the little thug busy all afternoon trying to put the machine back together.

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