Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Wick Fisher
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

It's in the tank

Wick's World


One final screw and the exhaust system would finally be tight. Fritz, one of my Moose Lake mechanics, fit the screw to the drill's magnetic head and hit the switch. The screw entered the metal and snugged the exhaust pipe hanger to the frame; or what was supposed to be the car's frame. We both instantly realized what actually happened when a stream of liquid squirted out like a pinhole in a water balloon.

"Oh, crap!" I yelled.

Fritz uttered a similar, but stronger phase.

The frame of the car was actually the gas tank. The "Fritz, 10-minute fix" had taken on a new life of its own. The $$ signs on the cash register in my brain began to spin out of control.

Disparaging thoughts circled my mind. A new gas tank would cost several hundred dollars. It's Saturday; I'll never be able to find one, even in Duluth. I called anyway, to no avail. What was I supposed to do? We needed to be back in the Twin Cities no later than 9 a.m. Monday.

Fritz said exactly what I was thinking. "We'll have to go to plan B."

He called a local auto body repairman and asked, "What kind of stuff do they have for repairing gas tanks?"

It took until the next day to purchase the products, dry out the gas tank and make the necessary repairs.

I started the car and breathed a sigh of relief when Fritz said, "No leaks."

Both of my front fenders were tightened down and back in place was the exhaust system. The front splash guard was tucked away under the car, right where it belonged.

I was driving in the middle lane in heavy traffic in the city one morning when I had no choice but to drive right over a huge chunk from a truck tire; thus all the damage.

"How much do I owe you?" I asked Fritz.

"Oh, give me 10 bucks," he said.

Although the 10-minute fix had turned into two days, the result of getting into too big a hurry; there was no way I could settle on 10 bucks. It's always that way with Fritz. Every time after he works on my vehicles, I ask how much and then I pay him double.

I now call him 'Half-price Fritz.'


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