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Last night’s dream:

The ‘Rolla has suffered some damage to the front passenger door. I take it to a repair shop. I point out the damage, and ask them how long it will take to fix. The mechanic says an hour.

There’s a diner next door. I walk in and sit at the counter. The waitress is perhaps fifteen, twenty years older than me, and looks good for her age. I order soup and half a sandwich, and ask for a paper. The waitress says, “That’s our only copy,” and points to the other end of the counter.

There sits a very tired-looking man, whose two kids are bouncing around the diner and playing with the jukebox. He looks like he’d wish them away if he could, just so he could read in peace and quiet for just ten minutes. Problem is, aside from wish, he does absolutely nothing to shut his kids up so that I can eat and not-read in peace.

The waitress apologizes for not having an extra paper, and then quietly adds, “And I’m sorry about the noise.” The guy and his kids are there the full miserable, noisy, newspaperless hour. I pay my bill, leave a few bucks as tip and walk out.

I return to the auto repair shop. The mechanic says the car’s ready to go. I pay him and collect my keys. I go to the lot and see my car, parked with the driver’s side facing me. I hop in without bothering to check the passenger door. I buckle up.

The power-lock button on the driver-side door had been broken so long that, even though it’s been fixed, I still reach across to the passenger side to lock the doors. This action is pretty ingrained, so without looking, I lean over and reach for the button. I miss. No big deal, I reach for the button again. Nothing but air. I look up.

The passenger door is missing. Happily, it’s not missing for long—I lean over and see that it’s lying on the ground, handle broken, plastic torn, glass shattered, cloth ripped, and fiberglass dented.

I go back inside and ask the mechanic, “What the hell did you do to my door? Is this a joke? Am I on candid camera or something?”

He doesn’t seem to know what I’m talking about. I lead him outside and show him.

“Oh, that,” he says.

“Yeah, that.”

“So, you… want us to fix it?”

“What do you think?”

“It’ll be another hour.” (Keep in mind, this is a dream.)

I’m pissed off. One of two things is going to happen: either these guys are going to fix my car gratis or they’re going to pay for somebody else to fix it. Either way, I can’t use my car until the repairs are done. I had other plans for the day, but since it’d probably take an hour to have a ride show up or to get a rental, I may as well just wait.

I toss him the keys, and say, “Get to work.”

I walk back towards the diner. I sit at the same seat. Beleaguered Man and his two angels are gone. I tell the waitress the story. She gives me a free piece of cake to cheer me up. I read the paper in peace and quiet. After the hour is up, I walk back to the repair shop.

I go straight to the spot where my car was earlier. The car is still there, the door is not. It’s nowhere in sight.

The mechanic comes out of the shop, and says, “Car’s ready, sir.”

I skip right past flabbergastedness and go straight to the assumption that the mechanic is being malicious, not incompetent.

I say, “Wait here,” and head back to the diner. The waitress greets me. I tell her the situation, and beg her to have somebody cover for her so she can act as a witness for me. She agrees, tells the cook she’ll be right back, and walks out with me.

We go back to the shop. The mechanic is still there, the car is not. It’s not in the parking lot, it’s not in the shop, it’s not up on the hydraulic lift. It’s nowhere.

I yell, “Where the hell is my car?”

The mechanic says, very calmly, “Sir, do you have a problem with our service?”

I say, “I’m done dealing with you. I’ll talk to your boss.”

I storm inside and demand to see the manager. A man comes out and introduces himself as the manager and owner. I brusquely explain what has happened, and cap it with, “Give my car and my money back now or I own this place.”

He says, “Let me check in the back, sir.” As he heads into a back room, I step outside to find my witness.

I don’t see her anywhere. She didn’t come inside the shop, or I would’ve seen her. The mechanic stands where my car had been, just looking at me. I don’t bother asking him where she is.

The only logical possibility is that she went back to the diner. I run over to the diner and step inside. She’s not there.

I ask the cook, “Did she come back?” He shakes his head “no.”

I head back to the shop. I ask the mechanic where she is. He smiles and, very calmly, says, “Who?”

At this point, I woke up. I don’t know where it was going. Did they make her disappear? Was she in on it, whatever “it” was? Was it a prank? Was it incompetence? Was I somehow getting my own car mixed up with someone else’s? Did I rescue the girl (if she needed rescuing) and blow the place up? Who knows. Maybe it’ll resume another night.