Garbol saw into the future, but only for about a second. A good number of wizards had the skill, and it had kept his keister out of the fire any number of times, like when the floor of the outhouse at Mr. Jessup’s cabin caved in. Close call.
Usually he saw something tangible, like a spilled drink, a dropped bowling pin, or a dangled participle. However, sometimes it was a rush of alarm and just a hint of what was coming, like the time he sensed the baseball just before it hit him in the jaw.
Garbol browsed the diverse cars in Mimby’s Car Lot to find something he might convince Mr. Mimby to loan him. He had very little money, so he had to bring his wizard class persuasion to the table.
He was looking at a 2003 Boxster, when a maroon, slightly beat 1971 Pinto turned onto the lot. Mrs. Pinkney, the fifth grade teacher at Maggery Park Elementary School, stopped the car in front of the entrance, and a Ford F-150 roared in and just before it rammed into the back of Mrs. Pinkney’s car, the rush flooded Garbol’s body.
He whirled toward the vehicles as the truck collided, and he threw his power into his pool cue as he thrust it toward the vision of an explosion that almost happened, enveloping the Pinto in stasis.
Mrs. Pinkney climbed out, and a sheepish freckle-faced teenager stepped down from the truck.
After nerves were calmed and names exchanged, the car salesman, Jeff, looked at the Pinto. “I’m sorry, Mrs. Pinkney. The trade-in value isn’t going to be very much now.”
“Jeffrey,” said Garbol. “The only thing preventing this vehicle from exploding is the fact that I’m holding it in stasis.”
“That’ll hurt the trade-in even more,” said Jeff.
“I really had my eye on one of those Porsches over there, but in order to keep this car from combusting it must pass into my ownership.”
“I’ll bet you can get it from Mrs. Pinkney for real cheap.”
“Here’s the thing, pal.” Garbol pointed his cue stick at him. “How much is it worth to you to prevent this thing from blowing up in your lot? Say—the full value of the trade-in before the wreck, plus a Mimby’s baseball cap?”
“Er… yeah. I suppose.”
“Take it in trade, and sign it over to me. We all win today.”
“How’s that a win for Mimby?” asked Jeff.
“You know as well as I do that I don’t have money, and you were going to happily lend me one of your Porsches by the time I was through cajoling. Porsche for a Pinto? I’d say you faired okay.”
Garbol held his hand out to Mrs. Pinkney for the keys. He took them, climbed in the Pinto, and started it. He rolled down the window. “Just send me the paperwork.”
The motor clattered and black smoke poured out of the tailpipe like sludge from a culvert. He waved as he drove onto the street and headed toward home.