Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Joe Gensle

Prey of a Grey Panther

With a wig that’s never quite straight on her broad head, she’s the elderly, heavily perfumed relative who kisses you on the mouth and transfuses enough Max Factor #16 Fiery Red to your oral area, in clown width, to rouge Warren Jeff’s entire family families.

Ger-Nads’ was our Aunt Gert’s nickname because of her old-lady mustache and to convey that what she dishes out is as bad, maybe worse, than you’d want from any man. Angry, she’s bristle ‘n gristle with laser sights on your every weakness. Aunt Gert redefines vitriol as the gasoline additive to fiery tempers that maul you by mouth. She creates fireworks of revenge that shoot straight at the gas tank of your life, and the chances of your survival are as good as hiding between the double-o in “moot.”

There are three things to remember about Gert’s revenge:
1. It’s worse than Montezuma’s;
2. The consequences are beyond unpleasant;
3. It’s multi-tiered.

I’m being too rough on her? Consider:

Aunt Gert took her bashed, battle-wagon of a car in for engine repairs. The estimate was $1,340. The next day, the garage owner called and told her the car had bigger problems. The estimate rose to $1900. She agreed to have the additional repairs done and was promised the car two days later.

Promptly two days later, she showed up at the garage and was waiting for her turn at the counter. There was one of those word processor-made signs on the wall behind the register that read:

The Only Checks We Accept Are Corn, Wheat or Rice.
So Snap-Crackle-Pop Your Credit Card or Cash.
Thank you.
Piedrum’s Garage

She got to the counter, stated her name and a man presented her repair ticket.
“Your car’s ready and the total came to $1,872.21,” and he excused himself to answer the phone. When he turned back to her, a check lay on the counter in the correct amount. He said, “We take a credit or debit cards or cash, Ma’am, no checks” using a thumb to gesture at the sign over his shoulder. (Aunt Gert seethes when people address her as ‘Ma’am’)

“You’ll take this check right now and give me my keys.”
“Ma’am? Ain’t happening, Ma‘am. There’s the sign. You see it. I’ve told you. No pay, no car.”
“Bruce--if that emblem’s really your name or did you grab the only shirt that didn’t stink--CAN YOU READ or are you as dumb as a greased rear-view mirror!!?” she bellowed.

He didn’t reply. She pointed to the imprinted, personal check.

“This says, “Gertrude Joetta Rice, with my address, and I have state-issued I.D. to match. Your own sign says you accept, quote, “Rice” checks! GIVE. ME. MY. KEYS YOU LUBE-GOOBER!” she roared, causing denture clack, using a tone that causes dogs to whimper and small children to paw at their mothers’ inner thighs seeking reentry into their wombs.

It sure wasn’t the good Lord who blessed her 166-pound frame with a Transformers-like mouth that converts her taste buds into verbal Slice ’n Dice machines.

“Ma’am, we can do this the easy way or the hard way. Credit or cash is easy. The cops taking you out of here is hard… and, we still keep the car.”

Aunt Gert flipped-open her smart-phone, photographed the sign, and used her gum to stick her check to inner glass door’s upper pane. She photographed that, too, and left like a Brahma bull leaving a rodeo chute.

The next day, Mr. Piedrum called. They argued. She asserted they could now deliver the car. He countered: she could pay with cash or plastic like everybody else or he’d put a mechanic’s lien on the car, to which she agreed when she signed the original repair authorization. Aunt Gert snorted he best get her car into her driveway.

In the weeks that passed. I lost my part-time job stocking parts and cleaning up Piedrum’s.

Sure as paper towels don’t tear on the perforations, the lien was executed by an angry Mr. Piedrum who left Aunt Gert a phone message: “We sold your car for $9,500, took our $1,872.21 for repairs, and another $600 for sixty days’ storage, and mailed you a check for $7,027.29.”

Just his word, “check,” set her off like a top fuel dragster. It was all-out war. “I’m on Piedrum like “Rice on white,” she shared with an evil grin as cockeyed as her wig. But the cell phone photos were straightforward and worthwhile.

She e-mailed General Mills and Kellogg’s, attaching the sign photo, with the query, ”Are these fellows making fun of my favorite cereal?” for which Aunt Gert received an envelope with a slew of coupons for free General Mills’ products and a thank you letter from their V.P of Consumer Relations, complemented by in-kind coupons from Kellogg’s.

The garage got two “Cease and Desist” orders from a judge, via complaints filed by General Mills and Kellogg’s legal departments. The local paper splashed the story with photos, citing Aunt Gert’s ‘elder abuse’ complaints and you can guess what that did for the number of customers bringing cars in for repairs and estimates.

She leveraged her age, sympathy and mechanics-are-thieves arguments to tip persuasion’s greed scale to land a lawyer. She sued and won. Her judgment against the garage paid for a car fancier than her last, and even covered the rental car.

The garage is now a pizza parlor, whose owner gave me a delivery job.

Every year, Clovis Piedrum gets a Christmas card signed “Miss G.J. Rice.” There’s always a personal check enclosed for $1, along with a coupon for breakfast cereal that caused us to replace her ‘Ger-Nads’ nickname with “Cereal Killer.”

We’d lie under oath before admitting it because we don’t want any of what Gert-the-Hurt dishes out when she‘s uncorking the devil’s own wrath, Hell bent for Sunday.

© Joe Gensle 2011

Joe Gensle lives in the Desert Southwest with his dog Coconut. He enjoys international travel, music composition, and is working on a novel. He frequently lurks at and at

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