Mad Marx: Jiffy Road

Richard Marx photographed in 1987.  © Bernhard Kuhmstedt / Retna Ltd.


Mad Marx: Jiffy Road



Long story not long: After following a clue I’d read in an ancient scroll I found this lady who’d invented a machine that could look into the future and we had some drinks at this bar and she was great and dug Jack Nicolson movies and we went back to her place and we made out for a little while and then she showed me her machine.

Inside her laboratory everything was Emilio Estevez waging war against Lincoln County.

Outside the night was a bloodbath and the moon the last tampon.

“Ask it something.” the woman said to me. We were drinking scotch despite the fact that we both preferred bourbon. “It brings back facts about the future. Don’t you want to know about the future?”

I did want to know about the future and I was drunk so I asked the machine the 1st thing that popped into my head.

“Whatever happened to Richard Marx?”

She looked at me like I’d just grown a really fast mullet and then fed my question into the machine, tip first, followed by thrusting, followed by an assemblance of scream.

The machine processed the info and after what resembled a brief coughing fit spit out one long piece of paper upon which had been printed the soon to be fate of Richard Marx. It read like this:

In the year 2017 smacking a vegan is legal, a new president has taken over, and the banks fail. Not all the banks, just the ones in which coincidentally Richard Marx has stored all his 1980 pop song money. Skip ahead a bit, ergo: desperate measures proceeding desperate times etc, Richard Marx eventually accepts employment at the local Jiffy Lube next to a mall.

He is hired not for his skills in oil pan handling and windshield wiper replacement. He’s hired because the manager had been a teenager in the 1980’s and liked the song Don’t Mean Nothin’ in its time.

“Do you know Kenny Loggins?” he’d been asked during his interview.

“I don’t believe anyone really knows Kenny Loggins.” Marx had replied.

“Yeah.” the supervisor appeared to think about this. “Who gives a shit? You’re hired.”

The man who wrote Should Have Known Better thanks his new supervisor for the opportunity. The supervisor hands Richard his new Jiffy Lube uniform and instructs him to report to work at nine sharp the next morning.

Richard Marx had never been late for a Richard Marx concert in his life but this wasn’t a Richard Marx concert, this was his first day of work at the Lafayette Jiffy Lube so he showed up around 9:15, his hair carefully cared for, the red overalls with the name ‘Max’ stitched above his left nipple blowing against the beat of a mild wind.

“Yeah, we’re out of overalls that say Richard on em.” his supervisor said. “The last guy named Richard who worked here took em with him when he left and I’ve already spent our overall budget for the year on that Max patch and 3.2 beer. Max is close to Marx though, right?” it was quiet for a little bit before he moved on “Nobody reads the overalls anymore anyway. You’ll be fine.”

Richard Marx had spent his entire life making a name for himself. His new Jiffy Lube shift manager had taken that name and shucked it into the oil pit fast than ‘Max’ could do the math in his head.

“What time is it right now?” Marx/Max asked.

“It’s working time.” his 23 year old boss said. “What do you know how to do?”

Richard Marx knew how to write a catchy song, he knew how to operate a blow drier and order room service hotel food. He knew how to flag down the right limo at the Grammys. He knew how to make art that helped regular people get laid.

Unfortunately none of these skills were transferable to the oil change service industry so the boss put Richard Marx in charge of watching the lobby.

“All you gotta do is say hello when somebody walks in and find out what the fuck they’re here for and then, you know, up-sell the shit out of em. Ya?”

Richard Marx was familiar with the basic melody of up-selling but wasn’t sure how the song was supposed to be played so he was immediately horrible at it, like a kid who almost knows three chords trying to strum anything on Abby Road.

“I’d like an oil change please.” his very first customer said after strolling across the lobby and parking his large self before the counter.

“An oil change.” Richard Marx said. He was sweating hard like Carnegie Hall. “Would you like a transmission flush with that?”

“No.” the customer said.

“How about a new stereo system?” Richard Marx asked. “Music always sounds better on a new car system.”

“You sell car stereos.” the customer said

“No.” Richard Marx said, looking behind him at the big board that listed all the services that Jiffy Lube offered to be sure.

It only went one way. Downhill? From there.

At one point during his shift Richard Marx went to the bathroom and found an empty spool where the toilet paper should be. The world Richard Marx was used to living in was filled with bathrooms which contained toilet paper, but when he mentioned the situation to his boss he discovered that his world wasn’t the only world. There were other worlds too.

“Does this look like Grease Monkey to you mother fucker?” his boss said. “There’s napkins over there next to the complimentary coffee dispenser. Use one of those if you have to. And when you’re done powdering your thump go into the garage and pull the Kia out front. The owner’s waiting.”

Richard Marx entered the garage to find two Kias sitting there. Hoods down and ready to go. So he walked back into the lobby to ask his boss which one he wanted him to pull around. His boss told him to take out the red one but the information was meaningless because Richard Marx doesn’t see color. He sees emotions.

“Is that the one that looks like it stayed up all night crying or the one who’s still pissed off about prom?”

The boss looked at Richard Marx like he was Michael Bolton, shook his head a little bit and then mumbled ‘fuck it’. Yanked the car keys from Richard’s guitar strumming hand. “I’ll do it myself.”

Richard went back to the lobby, where he found his new coworker Charlie grinning like an old MTV V-jay. He’d been date stamping his dick.

At one point during his shift Marx was recognized by a customer. The recognizing followed by an odd encounter in which the customer exclusively responded to Richard Marx’s inquiries using song titles from the old pop stars albums.

“Are you happy with your windshield wipers current performance?” Richard asked.

“Now And Forever.” the woman replied.

“Charlie said your air filter needs replacing.”

“Should’ve Known Better.”

“Please stop doing that.”

“Hold On To The Night!”

The vending machine sandwich he purchased for lunch said chicken salad on the packaging but upon opening it became obvious that the chicken salad had been replaced by a magazine article about bull riding and a VHS copy of The Fellowship Of The Ring

At another point the boss asked Richard Marx to make coffee but Richard Marx doesn’t know how to make coffee so he made sweet love to a melody instead.

“That’s not what I expected.” I said to the woman who owned the future machine. “I figured Richard Marx would make a comeback. How long did he have to work there? He eventually writes a hit song again, doesn’t he? He’s gotta come back.”

I am told that according to the machine Richard Marx actually dies near the end of that very first day of employment at Jiffy Lube. The certificate will list mauled by Kaiju as an official cause of death. Evidently on that specific date in 2017 our reality will find itself transposed upon by another reality. And in this other reality the dominant species would appear to be Kaiju. Giant thumping beasts who will set about thrashing the shit out of everything immediately following the non-melodic incursion of two crazy fucked up worlds. An incursion that will take place roughly 17 minutes before Richard Marx is scheduled to complete his very first day of work in the oil replacing business.

Which is just: unnecessary. And mean. And sort of fucked up.

He will be attempting to correctly process a coupon for tire rotation and front end alignment when a monster the size of a large blimp and shaped like the head of a lion being devoured by the body of a green whale with people feet will scientifically appear, hovering over that goddamn Jiffy Lube. The monster will sniff the air or something like that, howl like the end of goddamn everything, and then it will eat the entire Jiffy Lube with everything in it without blinking.

Like a shark eats a license plate in the movies.

Or a long dream eats through sleep in real life.

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