“Check your oil, Miss?”, Bubba Jones asked with a glint in his eye.
“No, thank you!,” the young blond replied. She was tired of being gawked at by the large man pumping her gas. Although customers were allowed to pump their own gas in South Carolina, Bubba had rushed up to her car, anxious to serve.
When he brought back her credit card slip to be signed, he purposely slid his greasy fingers over hers as he handed it back, smiling broadly, showing his two gold front teeth. She jerked her hand back, almost dropping her credit card on the ground. Oh no! She thought to herself. He’s going to pick it up and hand it to me and do his greasy finger slide thing again. Gross!
She sped away, watching his lustful eyes follow her until she was out of sight. “Men are such pigs!”, she said outloud. “The only thing missing was him drooling chewing tobacco down his jaw! Man!”
Bubba had grown up in New Bern and had made himself a pretty good life here. His father had opened the gas station, now aptly named “Bubba’s Best Gas and Convenience Store,” after Mr. Jones had died several years before. Everybody knew Bubba in New Bern, after all he had been the star right tackle on the town’s only state champion high school football team a decade ago.
Although he had packed on a few pounds since those days, he had been solid muscle during his six years of high school. And when Bubba Jones tackled you, you stayed on the ground. More players had been injured by Bubba when he was on the field than the team physician could keep track of. He seemed to take pleasure in not only stopping a running back, but putting him out of the rest of the game. Most of his hits were clean, and the ones that weren’t received no criticism from his teammates.
The New Bern Police Department had long suspected Bubba to be the primary drug dealer in their town — but they couldn’t prove it. He was often questioned, but never charged with any offenses. He had actually temporarily quit his drug-dealing a month ago, when a much more lucrative opportunity came along.
After high school, Bubba had enrolled in Durham County Technical College and had graduated first of his class in auto mechanics. His father had taught him a great deal, but he excelled in his classes at Tech, especially in brake systems.
He had often thought to himself, how hard would it be to compromise someone’s brakes in such a way that no post-accident investigation would provide any evidence of tampering? And then he had gotten that phone call. (to be continued)