"It's a 2005 Cadillac. I should at least get 25k for it!"
You could tell he thought we were all idiots, but I doubt it was just as apparent to him what a dumbass we all thought he was. After a while it became clear that there was no talking to him and so we just stopped trying. More and more, any expression of doubt in Mike's "plan" led to a sort of diaper rash freak-out on his part -- like a demon-possessed, straight-jacketed Wilfred Brimley. It got old fast.
Mike first tried selling his car online, which didn't work out so well since his "busy schedule" wouldn't allow for the five minutes it would have taken to explain to him how to actually go about selling a car online. There was no way he was going to get $25,000, not on the web, and definitely not at a car dealership, which is where he went next. Just knowing Mike, I imagined him walking on the lots of these places with the type of confidence that only a fool who thinks he can beat the house in Vegas would have. And to more than a few dealerships did Mike go. This was over the course of one week. Every now and then Mike would show back up at the office to get his mail. We'd ask him how selling his car was going and he kind of growl or mumble something about how they were offering too little money and that they were just trying to rip him off but that that wouldn't happen because what did they think he was a sucker he wasn't a sucker he used to be a cop and he knows more about the in's and out's than any civilian and if they thought for one second they were going to sucker him then they had another thing coming. Then he'd force himself to perk up and attempt to assure himself more than us that everything would turn out alright and that he'd get the dough in time and that it would be enough.
All this time I'd been under the impression that selling a car at a dealership was the last thing you'd want to do because they'd tea-bag you every time. 25k? It was hard to think that Mike was serious. He was quirky and a little crazy but this was something concerning, at least to me, because it didn't seem like he truly had a grasp on reality -- oh, if I only knew how much more crazy and absurd things would get.
It was a Thursday or Friday when Mike called. He said that he'd sold the car and needed someone to pick him up at the dealership. I went, following the directions he gave me, and eventually ended up in a part of town where all the storefronts, billboards are in Spanish, and Mexican music is piped out onto the street. The "dealership" looked like a chop shop. Mike was standing out front, looking like he'd just been released from jail immediately after having been gang-raped. When he got in the car, neither one of us said anything for a while. Mike was the first one to pipe up. He wanted us to go to the bank. I figured that was was as good a cue as any so I asked him how much he got for the car. Looking out the passenger window he said, "Seventy-five hundred."
"Yeah?" I said, thinking OMG he stuck his dick in it this time!
"Yeah. See? I told you guys not worry. I told all of you that everything was going to turn out alright -- that the universe would take care of us. We're gonna make it. Everything's going good so far and it's only going to get better."
He spoke with an almost smug, pissed-off expression, as if to say, "I shouldn't have to tell you so."He was serious, or so it seemed. At the bank he flirted with the teller like he was depositing his first million. When I dropped him off at his apartment he said, "It's been a good day, buddy," and then shook my hand. Before pulling away from the curb I accidentally caught, out of the corner in my eye, the spring in Mike's step as he walked down the street like he owned it.
$7500. Jesus. I laughed my ass off all the way home and continued off and on until I fell asleep.