It was like buzzards circling a body.
The Jones kid, Randy, was out in the Mule Barn parking lot with the hood up on his car. He was staring down into it the way a first-time parachutist would look out the airplane door. You never quite knew for sure what lay ahead.
"Looks like Randy's got problems," said Steve.
"Let's have a look," said Dud.
So coffee was left to get cold and the entire Supreme Court of All Things Mechanical - Steve, Dud, Doc, Herb and Dewey - trooped out to see what was going on.
They formed a powerful semi-circle of wisdom around the youth and his engine with folded arms and facial expressions that said, "It's okay, Kid. We're here."
Dewey spoke first. "Having trouble, Randy?"
Doc, who has the most initials after his name, said, "Give it a try."
Randy ground the engine, but it wouldn't kick over.
"Stop! Stop!" Doc yelled. "Don't want to flood it."
All Doc knows about flooding is that the animals went on board, two by two.
"Randy, I think it's the solenoid," said Steve, looking wise.
"Doesn't have one, Steve," Randy said.
"Sure it does. All cars have solenoids."
"Not the new ones. Haven't made solenoids in years."
Steve's expression said, "Young punks, what do they know?" But his voice said, "Well, what do you know about that?"
"Need a jump?" Dewey asked.
"Got plenty of spark," Randy said.
Randy looked at the older men and then bent to the engine and smiled. His voice came floating up over the radiator. "Might be the junction fibrillator. Or it could be a malfunction of the Johnson switch. If I rerun the wire from the organ housing to the pump by-pass, that might get it done."
When Randy looked up, all the men had gone back in for coffee. He smiled and called Triple A on his cell phone.