1964-02-24 - Good As New
Summary: Work is paid for and keys are collected.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
able julie 

Julie is behind the service counter at Uncle Sal's extensive garage, today, framed by a rack of car keys and drawers full of bulbs and little clipboards, various automotive product advertising swag, and, actually looking somewhat respectable even in one of her half-circle skirts and one of the shop's own uniform shirts over that: she seems relatively bored as she flips through a Car Craft magazine and listens to some of the current music on the radio. A small buff-tan cat walking along the counter decides that the magazine would be better with a kitty on it and places himself there for attention.

And of course right out front is a shiny, freshly-painted '49 De Soto, re-polished chrome bumper with a grill guard that Diz took from a later model, all seamlessly refreshed: it taking rather a closer look to spot a bit of extra reinforcement behind said grill guard. It's a fresh paint job, well-worth taking one of the few front spaces to show off, for the business.

With less than a thousand production models released for service, the Harley Davidson XA is close to being a relic, even a scant twenty years after she was introduced. An unconventional engine design and a great deal of army-specific modifications separate her from the herd. The entire bike is painted a flat olive green, including the rims of the red-coated secondary headlights. It's not a fast bike, but it's build to last.

The military-issue Thompson holster is filled out by a large revolver rather than the traditional Chicago typewriter. As soon as he screeches to a stop, Able pulls the weapon and tucks it into a shoulder holster. He seems more relaxed once the Schofield is riding high on his chest. His head is canted to the side as he slides off his bike to inspect the work that's been done to the DeSoto. One finger trails along a fender before he lets out an approving sigh and nod.

Julie is scooping up the little cat when the rumbly old two-cylinder pulls up. An eyebrow goes up if she notices the revolver, but she noses the cat and says, "OK, Skiddums, looks like the doctor's in, or whoever he is." The hardware, well, she hopes isn't about disputing the bill, or paying at all, really. She tucks something in a pocket, herself and heads out front. "Hey, Doc! How do ya like her?"

"Your work is beautiful." There's a pause before Able looks up to meet Julie's eyes. It's the same sort of compliment he'd give to an extremely skilled surgeon.

He clears his throat and tilts his head to the other side. "Thank you. I know it's not much of a car by most people's standards, but I'm very fond of it."

Julie smiles, there, "Don't much matter what it is, it's all about the love, and all. Hopefully you'll be able to keep her out of too many scrapes, but the better brakes we put in ought to help that out, got hold of a finned-drum setup off a Chrysler that ought to be stronger and that dual master cylinder I was talking about. Engine's all right, though, after all that. I got rid of the old air cleaner, too, put something a bit more modern in for some more pep, less hassle and all."

Able lays nimble, long-fingered hands across the hood of the DeSoto. There's a quiet moment while he soaks up the fact that his beloved ride is back in fighting form. And then some, it'd seem.

"I appreciate what you've done," he acknowledges, nodding and stepping back to shrug himself even deeper into his leather coat. "I'm no mechanic, but I'm smart enough to see that you live up to your reputation."

Julie nods. "Well, the bodywork's a real team effort, too, Uncle Sal does most of the lead fill on nice paint jobs like this, but everyone's practicing. Oh, best not to put any wax on for a few weeks, gives the paint time to really harden up good." Does smile though at all the general compliments. Eyes the old Harley. "Cool old bike, by the way, don't see too many of those on this side of the country. They're pretty big in California though, still"

"I brought the car here because of a good recommendation. I left it because you made a good impression. I won't question your personnel or your methods as long as they work." Able shrugs and puts on a sheepish-yet-honest grin.

"I appreciate the compliment about the bike. She's a sturdy girl and she's been good to me." There's an affectionate nudge of his shoe against the rear tire. "I rode a BMW that was a lot like this when I was in Africa. Good bikes, no complaints."

He takes a moment to clear his throat. "Do you mind if I leave the DeSoto here while I take the bike home? I don't have anyone to help with the driving."

Julie nods, and says, "Yeah, that's no problem, probably we better bring her inside the gates if you mean overnight, don't want her to get boosted on you, not that that's a real big problem around here. I guess, you want to settle up, also you can see what we took off of her, if you want, we save 'em just so people know everything's on the level and all. A few of the things I changed are cleaned up and in the trunk in case you ever wanted to go back to how something was for whatever reason," she winks, and gestures back into the little streetfront office.

"BMW bikes, though, those are interesting. I'm not so much for two wheels, myself, but those newer shaft-driven ones are pretty interesting. Got kind of a client looking to learn to ride just to have one, actually. Kinda best to start with something less powerful, though."

"This is a shafter, too," Able reaches out to rub a hand along the XA's gas tank. "The Experimental Army was supposed to be a mock of those BMWs, but the Americans took to the Jeep before the ol' girl was road ready."

As he speaks, the doctor lets out a wistful sigh and leans against his motorcycle. A few seconds pass, then he offers a shrug. "Two wheels have saved and taken more lives than anyone would care to admit. There are faster bikes, I know. But this one is mine and she's a reliable girl. Anyway, what do I owe you?"

Julie nods, "Well, let's look at the damage, there. At least if that had to happen any time, you lucked out on the parts bill cause we got so many wrecks on the yard from all that trouble this winter." She leads on into the office once Able's done being affectionate toward the bike, too. "Well, I'm sure there's a way to get a bit more speed out of her, newer style carbs or something, but as long as you like her." Dizzy sweeps around behind the counter for one of those little clipboards. "As for the DeSoto it looks like whoever put in that engine did all right by you. You could probably get more out of something even newer if you were ever so inclined, but she pulls just fine." The bill presented, well, it's considerable with all the frame, paint, and bodywork on top of the rest, but it's in the hundreds rather than the neighborhood of half of a new car. Skiddums the cat looks Able over with casual suspicion, sitting on the magazine again.

Able is a customer who's smart enough to know he gets what he pays for. There's a moment's hesitation as he pulls a pile of bank notes from his pocket, but it's the action of a man who'd rather not let go of money instead of one who doesn't recognize what good work is worth.

There's a small sigh, then Able lays a pile of bills down in front of Julie. "I can't fault you for you work, girl. You know what you do and you know it well, but I also can't help hoping my pocketbook doesn't take another hit like this anytime soon."

Julie nods. "Well, hopefully you won't be getting hit with anything more physical too soon. I got my eye on some new tires coming out this year, you'd think in the Space Age they could make something better in a street tire already, but I guess they's working on it. Staying on the road's half the battle sometimes," she winks. She adds "You do get a warranty on the work and a couple of free touch-ups this year, helps sell a nice paint job sometimes if people are pessimists." She indicates a couple of places to sign while she counts out bills, rings something up on a cash register, and counts out change.

The signatures come without complaint or comment. More than that, Able slides the change back to Julie. He's wearing a very no-nonsense expression and his posture matches it keenly. "Thank you. I'll send someone out to pick up the car."

That's the only strange moment here. Most people would be happy to ride away in a newly repaired car. Able seems content with his old Army bike. "I trust your work," he repeats as he pushes back the hundred or so dollars that separate his tab from what he offered. "Stay whole."

Julie tilts her head, there. "Err, well, you, too, Doc." She does tilt her head a bit at the apparent sudden change of mood, and eyes the money like that shows it can't be that bothering him. But she tucks it away in her blouse, and says, "Oh, right, Doc." Plucks a set of keys off the hooks behind her, and says, "Your keys, if you want 'em now."

"I appreciate that." Able catches the keys en route to his bike. He pauses to shoot a look in Julie's direction. "I hope I can trust you to be discreet," he ventures. "If I can, you'll be seeing more of me."

There's no conversational buffer; Able kicks the starter on the XA and revs it until it roars to life. "In the meantime, I'll look forward to our next encounter."

Julie smiles. Just salutes a little. "Well, do come again, we'll be glad to see youse!" Then there's motor noise and she's headed back inside with a wave. Looks over at Skiddums the shop cat still on her magazine. "Interesting guy, that Doc, hopefully not *too* interesting, if you know what I mean," She ruffles the cat and scoops him into her lap again.

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