The 50' Merc

By Chad Carroway

The shadow of a solitary moth performs a lonely minuet against the backdrop of a shoplight hanging from the hood of Krazinsky’s 50’ Mercury Monterey. It’s after 3am once again. The smell of Wild Turkey is running to a close second against the mineral spirits that cleaned the wrenches after a recent overhaul.

“She’s not around to gripe anymore”

…he slurs looking at a Calico crouched on a shop stool…

”So…what if I drink the entire bottle tonight, who would notice other than you?”

“I…”

(suddenly his pathetic speech to the feline is interrupted with the jingling of the shop-door lock…)

Krazinsky, unplugs the light, grabs his wrench and crouches behind his car next to the entrance of the shop. Within seconds, the door is opened and a tall figure enters. After about ten seconds, the burglar is on his face and zip-tied to the shop bench.

“You chose me to rob, a retired cop, big mistake thug!”

After taking a deep breath, the perpetrator answered… “I figured that you’d be laid out by now old man.”

“Laid out…?” Krazinsky huffed.

“Come on Mr. K, you knock out a bottle a night…I walk the trash alley, I am not stupid ya know!”

Krazinsky laughed as he crouched down…

“Not stupid…ahh…you’re the one tied to a shop bench at 3am…what’s your name by way? Oh yeah…Billy, I know you. So, Billy, what did you plan on stealing?

“My ticket out of this dump!” Tears began to well up in Billy’s eyes. “The 50 Merc, what do you think!”

Krazinsky’s anger increased, the vein in his neck began to bubble. He rose to his feet and stomped towards house to make a call to the 911. Standing bolt upright and gripping the shop door, he felt pain shooting through his left forearm clear to his shoulder — he was paralyzed. Within seconds he realized that he had not taken his meds for the past couple of days, his BP was high. His head was hot, pounding — like a fever. Of course he was no stranger to this scenario, except this was worse than any other before. Everything faded to black all at once.

Within seconds, though it seemed, Krazinsky could hear Billy screaming…

”Mr. K! Mr. K!”

He couldn’t move anything other than his head. Billy appeared genuinely concerned and before either could speak, a bright light beamed underneath the shop door from the outside. It was still dark outside and the door opened... a man entered.

“Well…look at the two of you…”

The man sat on a stool as he spoke those few words and smiled. It was a familiar looking face to both Billy and Krazinsky. He wore hemp sandals, a flowing white shirt, denim jeans and he had long braided hair in a pony tail.

Billy was the first to begin the nervous conversation…

“Hey…are you uhh…?”

Krazinsky completed the question…

“Willie Nelson…?”

The man answered with a chuckle and put there minds to ease.

“You know, I get that a lot. Actually no, but I have met him before. My name is Agello. Look guys, I will be quick and to the point. I have just a few questions…”

As Agello smiled, looking directly at Billy “Why is leaving this town so important…?”

Billy explained that his dad abandoned him and his mother six years prior. Everything about the town reminded him about his dad leaving. He could not think of the good times anymore, only the darkness. Stealing the 50’Merc and getting away for good was his way of leaving it all behind.

Agello then looked to Mr. K with the same smile and gentle voice. He asked him to explain his lonely shop, drinking so abusively, avoiding the love of his church, friends and those who miss him in the community? Kranzinsky began to describe the sadness he felt about his wife’s death. With tears, he poured out how cancer took her away from him so many years ago. The 50’Merc was what reminded him of her most. The drive-in dates, their magical honeymoon, vacations and so many other precious moments.

Agello then told them about two people who once no longer had much time on earth. They both knew they had to leave loved ones behind — a moment of decision was near. From some visiting locals the two were offered the message of eternal life. These two requested that the message reach their loved ones who they were leaving behind. Agello informed Mr. K and Billy that the two of them were the recipients of that wish. The message that he was sent to share with them in that shop. He shared the Gospel of Christ. This was at the request of Billy’s father and Krazinsky’s wife as they were offered the same message at their bedside in a cancer center in the last hours of their earthly life.

Agello explained that Billy’s father didn’t abandon his family. He left at the discovery of his diagnosis, taking his tremendous battle of cancer with him. He didn’t want his family to endure the burden. Mrs. Kranzinsky didn’t wish for her husband to bear the burden of eternal loneliness and separation from Christ — on either side of heaven. Both understood that the joy of knowing Christ will fill all of their needs now and then.

Billy and Mr. K both received and believed in the Gospel, accepting Christ as their Savior. As the sun rose that morning, two neighbors were retrieving the morning paper at the end of their drives and spotted Billy driving the 50’ Merc with Mr. K riding shotgun. They waved in amazement. One was astounded that Krazinsky would allow anyone to drive his prized classic and the other neighbor was certain that he spotted Willie Nelson riding in the backseat.

Hebrews 13:2 (ESV) 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.