The Game Is Sold: A day at Best Coast
A day at Best Coast Motorsports actually starts the day before for me.
3:23 AM: I’m sitting in my driveway behind the wheel of an S600, Disclosure pumping away on the Harman Kardon stereo. Honestly I’m too beat to get out of the car right now. I zone out for a minute but snap back when I remember that I smacked two of the wheels against the median on Park Road earlier. I stumble out of the car, trying to figure out how many drinks we had over at “Barreled At The Lift”. It doesn’t matter though, because I’m home.
8:30 AM: I barely slept three hours but now I’m fresh and running out of the house to the Benz. Traffic will hopefully be light on 277 this morning so I can just sink into the seat and aim with one eye barely open. The car kicks out slightly onto the main road as I take another sip of the third Red Bull I’ve had so far this morning. I continue coasting mindlessly towards the dealership, prepared for whatever may happen.
9:05 AM: I walk in the door and head immediately to the alarm panel so I can type in the four-digit code. I turn on the coffee maker and ice machine, then switch on the televisions in the showroom. In the morning light the showroom is dim until I turn up the track lighting and watch it reflect off the paint of the cars inside. I walk into my office and check the fax machine; more bad news as usual. One of the banks doesn’t like some of our paperwork and is still holding the money.
9:13 AM: I stare at the check engine light still illuminated on the dashboard of one of the Maseratis currently warming up in the showroom. It’s one of the days a week I start up the stuff that doesn’t move often.
9:38 AM: The phone rings and it’s my rep from the floorplan company asking about some Ferrari I don’t remember us buying. I stall her to check our buying activity at Manheim. No Ferrari. I soon realize that the Ferrari in question was purchased from a friend of my partner Gerald’s — who has not been paid yet for said car. Also Gerald was driving it around town like the diminutive, middle-aged, man-child he is.
10:43 AM: I’m staring at my computer screen, mostly trying not to fall asleep. I’m yet again searching for S550s on Mannheim OVE. There’s a white one with low miles on the screen when Jason finally comes through the door. I was so zoned out I didn’t even realize he’d pulled up outside and had time to smoke a bowl before he walked in. It was good timing too, because a customer rolls up and I shoo Jason out to the lot.
11:19 AM : Tom rolls in, pupils pinned, iPhone tight to his ear arguing most likely with a drug dealer. I’m in the middle of trying to figure out why a lender isn’t sending us our money. I’m furiously going through my copies of the paperwork, when I get a knock on the glass between our offices and look up to see Tom flicking me off.
11:47 AM: Paul from EU Auto calls. I can hear the insulting, Eastern European tone from across the room as Jason hands me the phone. He finally has finished replacing the motor in the CLS500 I’d technically sold a week before. I have a GL that needed maintenance, so I can go pick up the CLS by myself.
11:55 AM: The dashboard on the GL550 flashes all types of warnings and lights at me as the engine falls to idle. The passenger door flies open as Jason jumps up into the big Benz. He’s decided to join me for whatever reason on this journey, my guess is mostly to recount events from the night before. Before we can get back to his antics at the Young Jeezy party, we’ve arrived.
12:20 PM: I’m saying my goodbyes to Jerry as Paul puts up a middle finger while lighting another cigarette. Jason asks for the keys to the CLS, I don’t question him because between the late night and midday hunger I really am not ready for Charlotte’s drivers.
12:38 PM: I slowly realize Jason isn’t headed to the dealership. Soon, the low-roofed Benz is turning off of Wilkinson Boulevard as Club Nikki’s comes into view. Security daps up Jason like they’ve known him since childhood. Future is bumping as Jason grabs a bucket of Bud Light Platinums and we head out back to the patio. I drink a swig from the beer and let the sun warm me up as Jason chats away with his favorite day-shift exotic dancers across the table.
2:18 PM: I’m back in the passenger seat of the CLS500. I finally look down at my iPhone 4S and notice three missed calls from Tom. I couldn’t care less as we merge off of I-277; we’re listening to the Young Jeezy album, mad again cause we couldn’t get into his party at Cameo. We probably shouldn’t have brought Gerald with us. But then again we did have a good time over at Barreled.
2:31 PM: Tom asks where we’ve been in an of- putting tone and immediately starts ranting about how many ups pulled up while we were gone. Seeing as there isn’t a soul in the showroom but him, I realize he was just being paranoid because he wanted to get high without a customer interrupting. I continue ignoring him by asking what’s for lunch.
3:05 PM: I walk back in from the hibachi restaurant next door with lunch. Jason has somebody sat down in Tom’s office. I selfishly eat as Jason comes in and runs us down his customer’s story. The young woman was looking at one of the 2008 Cayennes I had on the lot. Both silver. One just had less miles. Oh, and one also may have had the driver’s door skin glued on by hand.
3:32 PM: I screw the dealer plate on tight to the nice Cayenne. She has to pick her daughter up from daycare soon, so I help get her car seat in the back as Jason gets in the passenger seat. I wave them off and go to play with my serially broken 535i.
3:39 PM: The 535 spits a small flame from the exhaust and immediately goes into limp mode again. I look up in my rear view mirror and that grey Audi A8L makes its way into the parking lot again. Tom scurries out of the building and hops in the passenger seat. I continue playing with the scan tool as Tom hops back out and makes his way back inside. I know who the guy is and I know what he’s selling, but I mind my own business.
4:37 PM: Jason is back with his customer sitting down inside, I’m looking at her credit application on Dealertrack while my phone dials Chandler, the kid who repairs our wheels. He doesn’t seem irritated that I’ve called him near the end of his workday, but even if he had been angry I’d have continued the call. I’d rather not have to hear Gerald whine about me curbing the wheels on the S600. I mean he bought all the drinks anyway, so it’s some of his fault.
5:03 PM: I walk back inside from the lot where Chandler has one side of the big Benz on jack stands fixing my drunken damage. Our customer on the Cayenne is patiently waiting for me to prep all the paperwork while she smiles at her daughter. The lender doesn’t ask for much since she has an Equifax score well into the 700s. As I’m highlighting all the signature lines, I see Tom quietly making his way out the door to his Infiniti Q50. He’s high and has lost interest completely in the tasks at hand.
5:37 PM: I’m writing out the temporary tag for the Cayenne as Jason returns from filling up the tank. I walk his customer out to him and send her off with a handshake. I walk back inside through the showroom to the front pad. I lean on a 911 Turbo and stare at the standstill traffic on Independence Boulevard.
5:48 PM: The Cayenne customer honks as she pulls away from the lot and I wave. Jason walks up and lights a joint next to me as I tell him how much money we made on the deal. He’s pleased but wonders where all of this is going and I can’t truly reassure him that I know a thing about the future of the business.
6:32 PM: I walk into the showroom as Jason sits back on the couch and sips from an orange Fanta while CNN plays on in the background. As I begin to stare at the nearby tv screen and let existential dread wash over me … I hear the sound of a Ferrari F430.
6:35 PM: Gerald finally rolls through the door after sitting in the bright cross-eyed Ferrari giggling on the phone with some other loser’s wife. I ask where he’s been all day and I get a vague set of non-answers in return. Jason’s done his part in making me money for the day so I let him head home.
7:02 PM: I finish berating Gerald about title work he hasn’t done. It’s late enough and the lot is quiet. I don’t even say bye as I walk out to the S600. The traffic running down Independence creates a light whoosh I can hear as the late evening sun colors the clouds. As I settle into the seat of the Benz, and listen to the V12 turn over in a baritone with just a hint of mechanical trouble in the background, I can’t help but feel like today was all too easy.