“Good kid, I think you’ve chosen wisely,” Toby said to himself as the old truck rattled its way back home.
“Hey kid! Get out of that bed,” Jack’s mother pushed on his feet and pulled on his big toe.
“Sleep,” Jack answered from deep within his pillow.
“It’s ten, your father is almost ready to take you into Bakersfield.” Jack rolled over in the bed keeping the pillow over his face not ready to see his mother’s perky morning face. She gave him one final shake and left him alone to deal with the morning. Jack sat up slowly, slid his feet over the edge of the bed and looked down at the floor next to his bed. His clothes lay in a pile. He had slept without taking a shower. His sheets would need to be washed. He notice a slip of paper peeking out of the top of his shirt pocket and bent down to see what it was. The check Toby had given him was a full third more than he had expected. The quality of the car he would drive to and from school just took a leap toward decent. Jack, inspired, hurried through his shower, got dressed and dumped his bed sheets where he knew his mother would find them in the utility room next to the washer.
“Ready,” he said to his father who was sitting on the sofa hiding behind the morning paper.
“Ten minutes,” his father said without putting down the paper but taking a sip from his coffee cup.
“Look at this,” Jack dropped the check over the top edge of the newspaper.
First a grunt and then the paper lowered. Jack’s father picked up the check and looked it over. “Uncle’s a decent guy. How many hours did you work?”
“Not that many. I think he padded it a bit,” Jack took the check back and pushed it into his shirt pocket. “We can look at that Midget.”
“You’ll wish you had a real car when winter gets here,” Jack’s dad paused and then added, “but it’s your money. Sure we can look, but dependability is still the most important factor, right?”
“Right,” Jack could see Ellen’s red hair flying in the wind as the Midget hung to the curves in the road, the top down and the engine winding out between shifts. “It’s got to be dependable.”