A Slippery Move

The Puzzler

RAY: Many, many years ago, I lived in Vermont. One Saturday morning, the phone rang. It was one of my fellow teachers, and he needed a hand moving a cast iron stove into his house.

He explained that he was going to pick it up at the factory, and he'd be back in a few hours. He asked if I could help. I said, "Sure. Go get the stove. I'll be waiting."

I immediately got dressed and engaged in every manner of household activity, hoping that I'd have some kind of an accident. Nothing worked, and as I waited, I noticed a wonderful thing began to happen: The snow that was falling down changed to freezing rain.

I said to myself, "This could be good. He's never going to be able to get up his steep driveway when he returns." I'd be off the hook. And maybe by tomorrow, when the ice has melted, his brother-in-law would be home to help.

Sure enough, there I am, hiding behind the drapes when he pulls up. I peek out and I see that he's slipping and sliding and can't get up the driveway. Every time he lets the clutch out, the wheels spin like crazy, even with the additional weight of the cast iron stove.

He gets out and throws some sand under the wheels, but it doesn't help.

He gets out again. This time, he opens that little engine compartment door that the VW Microbus had in the back. He does something, which takes a second or two, and then he closes the engine compartment door. The next thing I know, he's climbed the driveway and calling me to come over and help him move the stove!

The question is, what did he do?

Think you know? Drop Ray a note!

[ Car Talk Puzzler ]

Support for Car Talk is provided by:

Donate Your Car,
Support Your NPR Station

...and get a tax break!

Get Started

Find a Mechanic

Promo tile

Rocket Fuel