"So. You heard about the Schwartzbaums?"
"Irv and Goldie? No. What's going on with them?"
"I don't like to gossip, but they've been having... car trouble."
"Car trouble? Is it serious?"
"Tell me everything."
"The Kia had a breakdown. On the 405."
"Poor Goldie. She loves that Kia like the grandchild she never had."
"Who wouldn't? It's cute, zippy and affordable."
"My ex-Volvo stalled on the freeway once. It's a miracle I'm still alive."
"The Kia did more than stall. The front tire blew, too."
"Is Goldie okay?"
"Not so much."
"Oh, no! Is she hurt?"
"Let's just say her feelings are badly dented. On top of which, she wasn't even driving the Kia at the time."
"Who was driving?"
"Irv was driving? Not Goldie?"
"That's right. He took the Kia out for a spin after he dropped Goldie off to get highlights. He promised to get the Kia washed, but instead, he went off on a joy ride. Things turned ugly when he transitioned to the 101. He's lucky he didn't cause a pile-up. Not only that. He forgot his cell phone. Plus there were issues with the tow truck."
"Of course, there were."
"Meanwhile, Goldie was stuck at the salon, worried sick. She thought Irv was dead, which, under the circumstances, she might've forgiven. And now the Kia's in the shop and Irv's sleeping in the garage in his Ford Focus, which, just between us, gets terrible mileage."
"Irv is a moron. Still, it's not his fault the Kia crapped out."
"Try convincing Goldie of that."
"They need to sit down with a reliable mechanic and work this out."
"I couldn't agree more. So, how are things with your new Lexus?"
Carol Starr Schneider is a writer living in California.