Welcome to the Garage

"I like your car," Avery offered. The entire ride so far had been in awkward silence.

"Thanks," Memphis said, making a right, "Kip bought it for me."

Avery just nodded. Out the window Long Beach wasn't getting any prettier. And she started to wonder if there even was a beach in Long Beach. And if there was, it was probably covered in trash, in the regular and white variety.

Avery smirked, and then mentally kicked her self. Who was she? Channel? She didn't think like that, usually.

"So," Avery started, trying to distract her mind, "Why Memphis?"

"Uh," Randal shifted uncomfortably in his seat, "Well…what has Kip told you?"

"About you? Not much, just that your family was into cars." Avery replied, staring out the windshield. They seemed to be approaching a large junkyard. Complete with chain link and wood board fences.

"Well," Randal laughed to himself, "Yea, that's about right. I drove a car from here to Memphis once. When I was younger. And the name stuck."

Avery nodded. The car was parked.

For a junkyard there were an awful lot of antique cars scattered about. But the random piles of tires made up for it.

"Twilight zone," Avery mumbled.


"Oh, nothing," Avery turned her head to hide the blush. She noticed a couple of guys standing on what looked like a makeshift deck.

"Listen, the doors through there," Randal pointed, "Kip's probably in the back by the paint shop."

"Thanks," Avery smiled, unbuckling.

She noticed the figures watching them, one gave a singular beckoning wave in Memphis…er…Randal's direction.

Randal unbuckled and got out, "Listen I've gotta go take care of something or I'd walk you back myself."

"No worries, and thanks," Avery smiled and climbed out of the car, "It was nice to meet you."

Randall turned back to face her, a now familiar smirk plastered across his face, "Nice to meet you too."

Avery walked towards the unmarked entrance of the large, waterfront garage. Casually she glanced back at the group of three standing on the makeshift porch.

They seemed perfectly at ease with the surroundings. Spare car parts and tires piled about antique machines. It was right out of the twilight zone, Avery thought again. She pushed open the wooden door, it's rusted hinges squeaked, not that you could hear them over the din from inside the large building.

If the outside yard had been a mess, the inside was more like a small town in the after math of a hurricane. Avery held back a grimace.

All around her men covered in overalls and general baggy apparel, half soaked in oil and grease worked on various aspects of a wide variety of cars. Bon Jovi blared over all the drills and bits. Avery sighed, which way was the paint shop? She never had been one for tech-ed in High School.

A pit bull shaped man completer with jowls and graying around the temples approached her, eyes still shielded by goggles. "Can I help yah sweetharht?"

Perfect, Avery thought, "Yea, I'm lookin' for Kip?" She tried her best to keep an even voice, like it was typical for her to be hanging out surrounded by half working cars and a garage full of rough-around the edges middle aged men.

Out of the corner of her eye she saw an overall clad body turn. He'd been bent over a nearby car's hood, she guessed working diligently at something in the engine.

"Hey Jimmy," the body sauntered over, with a natural swagger built into his walk.

"Did ever body look like a boxer around here, or was it just her imagination?" she thought to herself, a waning smile still on her lips. She was going for friendly and worthy of directions to Kip.

"I got this, why don't you go back tah shinin' that Buick of yours." The guy said with a smirk. He was probably around Kip's age, Avery reasoned, so much for thinking the place was filled with the middle aged.

He was dressed in baggy denim overalls, only one strap clipped, with a plain maroon t-shirt underneath that looked one, maybe two sizes too small. His sandy blonde hair was done up in spikes, most likely helped out a bit by some gel.

Avery smirked to herself. Some things were just universal.

"Aw forget you kid," The guy spat in response, "You know damn well I'm workin' on that '35 Ford, and what'd yah got? A Pinto."

The newest stranger, the young one, faltered, the smile falling back a bit, "It's for sentimental value or somthin' it's not my fault Otto takes whatever he gets for work." He waved a hand around emphasizing his point.

Avery glanced, she was no expert in shop sure, but she knew a good car when she saw one.

Most of the cars, from what she could tell of them, seemed to be the valuable kind of antique. The Pinto definitely stuck out. Though there might have been a '96 minivan in the far corner, but she couldn't really tell, there were too many things blocking her line of sight to get a good view.

"Oh so you're goin' after Otto now?" The pit bull man didn't seem to be in a good, or helpful mood.

Avery frowned, the kid could definitely take the middle-aged guy, and his arms were in shape, she was sure the cut off sleeves meant to show off the muscles, like the tightness of it. And he didn't have the beer gut of his opponent but she really wasn't in the mood for a fight to break out. She just wanted to find Kip, which was kind of strange considering she didn't really know him that much better.

"I'm not goin' after anyone old man," the kid waved off the offer and turned his attention to Avery. Ending the confrontation before it really started.

"Hi," he smiled crooked and Avery's stomach did a flip. He stuck out a hand casually, "I'm Tumbler."

Avery couldn't entirely hide the smile, everyone had really strange names around here, "Avery," she offered, "I'm looking for Kip?"

"Ah," Tumbler said, a certain realization seeping into the swagger, "Yea he's out by the paint shop."

He paused, looking Avery over a minute longer then necessary, and sure enough a faint pink crept into her cheeks. That seemingly decided whatever it was that needed deciding in Tumbler's head, "I'll show yah."

"Thanks." Suddenly Avery found herself wishing she'd had her makeup bag this morning.

"Welcome to Otto's." He said, smiling infectiously. She couldn't stop the large smile that spread across her face in response.