Thursday, December 01, 2005

Two Cars: Their True Stories and Sad Ends

Images explained in Geo's italicized excerpt below.

A + B = C
Life imitates Lebowski

As I've been continuing to catch up on my reading, I discovered the sad story of the demise of a silver Ford Taurus, a little ship of dreams, at The Bummer Girls. I did lead her toward its purchase. I, and other friends, had gotten great deals on fleet cars coming off lease from a Mississippian named Clovis who ran a vehicle emporium near the Illinois-Wisconsin border.

When fleets of corporate cars were refreshed every couple of years, Clovis would receive trailers full of the old ones which he'd clean up (or not) and redistribute nationally to auto auctions and used car lots. He also ran his own lot where he'd sell any of the cars to you directly on a cash/as-is basis. No financing. No warranties. No fancy showroom. However, with a handshake and a photocopy of your driver's license, he'd let you take your prospective car for a night or weekend to put it through its paces, get it checked by a mechanic, see if your mother liked the color, whatever. He wasn't stressed about the return date. He sometimes had hundreds of cars flowing through per week. He was all about moving volume. As I recall, he didn't even assign the Bummer Girl a price on hers until she'd been driving it for a few weeks.

Normally, the choice on hand was American fleet cars, but he was also willing to trade around with other vendors for whatever you requested. I knew people who got a minivan that way, and I heard of another who requested a Benz that he was able to cattle trade into happening.

When I was in need, I found a dark green two year-old Taurus with low miles, tan leather interior, and power everything that I got for five-thousand something (see final state of noble chariot above). I could've easily resold it for 2-3k more, but that was the way it went with everyone I knew that bought there. When the Bummer Girl later needed a car, we went to see Clovis. Searching the disordered, muddy lot, we found a silver Taurus, newer than mine and in great condition. She picked it up, took it to a mechanic who gave it a clean bill, and drove it around. She ended up buying, and like me, got a loyal steed for a better-than-fair price.

Now, her logical wish must to be to see it totaled. My Taurus, too, was lost about a month ago. When I left Chicago, I sold it to my friend George who, in turn, passed it on to his brother Peter when he moved out of town. Here's the ugly story of its undeservedly undignified end. Ah, Life in the Big City:

As some of you may or may not know. The Taurus was stolen from outside of my brother's office a week and a half ago. After about ten days Peter was notified by certified mail that the city had the car impounded and it was under investigation for being in an accident. They had it in their impound lot since the day Peter reported it missing, though they got around to telling him a week or so later. Again, because it was being "investigated". After much investigation, no knowledge as to the crime or perpetrator of such deed was found. But the car was still impounded and Peter would be responsible for the $40 a day storage fee to retain the car. It goes on and on, but in short, apathetic police and uninterested public servants have not made this an easy road for someone who just happened to have their sweet ride jacked.

It gets better... Peter finally gained access to the car to see if any belongings were still present. He found that the car was not drivable, but that the things of value (Miro's golf shoes, Multi Disc CD Changer, and such) were still in the car. But wait, what's this? There is also a black backpack in the car. Hmmm.... Peter didn't have a black backpack in the car, though there one sits. And it has some school work in it. I don't believe Peter was still in school, but again, it is there. And it has the name "Darrell" on the home work. Peter's middle name is "Anthony", and that's not even close to a "Darrell". Where could this have come from?

Now I've watched my share of CSI, SVU and even SUV. And though I am not a skilled detective, I think that show has taught me a thing or two. For instance, it seems the Police didn't care to know that an individual with a backpack and baggie pants was standing at the corner holding a newspaper in front of his face that day. Hey... a backpack.... a car.... a stolen car with a backpack in it.... I'm at a loss. I'm sure another 10 days of investigation might shine some light on this. But this would be a good lead on any of these shows that's for sure.
But in the interim, if you meet a kid named Darell that has some bruises or injuries (Ford airbags did not deploy), and his homework is late, please let him know that his backpack has been found, though the car is being crushed into a cube. Perhaps he's already filed a report and it is being "investigated". Where is Walter Jacobson when you need him?

Peter says that this is life imitating art since the movie "The Big Lebowski" has a car stolen, but homework left behind.

Bummer Girl suggested maybe our two autos will share eternity in car heaven. I hope so, BG. I very much hope so.

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