32. Grand Theft Auto

May 29, 2005

“Dad, Dad!  I think someone’s in your truck!”

One night I thought I’d heard something outside.  I peeped out my window and saw that one of the doors on Dad’s truck was open, so I dashed upstairs to wake him up.  I burst through the doorway and hit the light switch on the wall.  Dad was spread-eagled on the bed wearing a T-shirt and nothing else, and his flagpole was at full attention.  Holy God.

He awoke with a gasp and stumbled out of bed.  He didn’t even bother putting on pants.  Dad just yanked the front of his shirt down to cover the family jewels and ran down the stairs and out the front door.  The neighbor’s motion-activated light came on as he trotted down the driveway, and all I saw were two wobbling butt cheeks going across the street.

Turns out, there was nobody in his truck at all.  He’d simply forgotten to close the door to his truck.  Dad always forgot to close it.  Whenever I went to work with him I’d hear tools and equipment tumbling out the back onto the highway.

Then it was my turn.  On this night in particular, I had gone for a bike ride and came back shortly after midnight.  I spent about 15 minutes doing my go-to-bed things. When I was done I shut the light off and lay in bed listening to some music.  Then in the space of about five seconds I heard my car door slam shut and my engine start up.  I leaped to my window just in time to see my car shooting away from the curb with the headlights off.

SHIT!!!

I tore up the stairs. “Dad! Dad!” I yelled, slamming on the lights in his room. He woke up as if a ghoul had just appeared. “Somebody just took my fucking car!” I yelled at him.  Thankfully he had on pants this time.

Then I ran outside and looked around.  Nobody.  That shit was gone.  This asshole was definitely a pro because there was no broken glass and I was extremely vigilant about locking my doors.  He jimmied the lock and hot wired it in less than two minutes.  Unbelievable.  Dad would leave his keys in the ignition or hanging in the car door, or would leave his truck open all day and night, and nobody ever touched a thing. I always had my car sealed up tighter than a mason jar, and off it went in five seconds.

I ran back inside and Dad was on the phone with 911. He handed the phone off to me and I filled them in on all the details.  About two minutes later a police car pulled up in front of the house and I gave him the rundown as well.  He had me sign some affidavit stating that I gave no one permission to use my vehicle.  Then he gave me some hopeful news:

“We think we have it – it’s trying to get away from us,” he said.  He told me to stay home and that they’d call with information.   Then he zoomed off.  I had a hard time believing him.  All I thought was that I would never see my beloved car again.  And it was a piece of crap, a beaten-up 88 Pontiac with peeling paint and rust spots.  What in the world would someone want to steal it for?  To do what with it?  It just didn’t make any sense.

Dad took his car for a spin around the neighborhood and I paced anxiously back at home, waiting for the police to call.  I kept vigil until he returned, and then I took a spin in his car myself.  I had to do something.  I couldn’t sit still.  If I stayed home I would have paced a trench into the ground.

Finally at 1:45 the call came through.  The cop said that they had the car, but I couldn’t get any information out of him.  Dad and I called the precinct back at 2:30 and spoke to him again, but he still wouldn’t say anything except that he’d call back.  We waited another 45 minutes without a word, and I stood up and announced that I was going down to the precinct to find out what was going on.  Dad said he’d come with me.  His agitation with the situation by then nearly matched my own.

We marched in there around 4AM and Dad asked to speak to the desk sergeant.  He appeared a minute later, hooking his thumbs into his belt and standing in front of us in classic police posture.  Dad started right up:

“When I was on the force…” he began.  Oh great, here we go… I rolled my eyes as Dad went into a harangue about how things were “back in the day” when he was a police officer, and about PR and dealing with the public, etc.  Jesus Christ.  I should have just left him home.  But I finally got some information.  The sergeant told me they definitely had my car and it was on its way out to the impound yard 30 miles away. And it could be a couple of weeks before I got back.  Great.

I also learned that it was quite a chase. The asshole who stole my car was a real intellectual, because he went right past the precinct with it and the place emptied out after him.  There were maybe 20 cars chasing my little Pontiac down the highway.  Then he took out a road sign, which collapsed onto the hood and went through the windshield (unfortunately missing him by inches).  He dumped the car and fled into the woods and they had to flush him out with the K-9 units.

With that I went home and finally got some rest.  It took me a while to fall asleep, and when I woke up it was afternoon.  I heard cousin Bill’s voice booming out in the living room.  Ah, so he was finally here.  I really wasn’t in the mood to see or talk to anyone, so I changed my clothes and jumped out the window.  I couldn’t get to the front door without being seen, so I kicked out my screen and dropped to the ground.  Outside I rang my brother Johnny and waited down at the corner for him to come pick me up.  He took me over to my mother’s house in the next town, where he lived along with Mary and Shannon.  Hanging out with them was much better than being at home.

So over the past few days I stepped in my grandmother’s shit, had my car stolen, and jumped out of my window.

And the excitement was just beginning.

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