Thank God it’s (Joe) Friday!

Ladies and gentlemen, the story you’re about to hear is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.

This is the city: Appleton, Wisconsin. I work here. I don’t carry a badge.

The call came in at 18:00 Tuesday.

“Ma’am, this is the officer Joe Friday with the Appleton Police Department.”

“Seriously?” I said.

“Yes Ma’am. Do you have anyone visiting your house from Illinois?”

“No sir,” I said. It was a lie. We had been harboring my mother in-law’s 2005 blue Ford Crown Victoria for the past 33 hours. We just didn’t talk about it.

“There’s been a report of an abandoned vehicle with Illinois plates on your street,” the officer said.

“Seriously?” I asked eloquently.

“Yes ma’am.”

“Did my husband put you up to this?”

“No ma’am.”

“Seriously?” I asked a third time. I hate to miss a punch line.

“Yes ma’am.”

I strolled to the front window of our house and flicked open a corner of the curtain.

There she sat, the Crown Vic, a favorite of taxi cab drivers, police departments and anyone looking for some extra room in the trunk.

I could see where this conversation was heading.

“We’re temporarily storing my mother in-law’s car,” I blurted out. “It will be gone by the end of the week.”

“So, I can close my report?” he asked.

“Sir, yes sir!” I said.

In a way, I’ll be sorry to see the old girl go. Parked near the corner of the three-way stop in front of our house, she’s been a good decoy for speeding motorist. She’s been much more effective than our summer solution, which is my husband sitting on the front porch yelling “Slow down!” and “Hey buddy that’s a stop sign!” at intermittent passing cars.

If you’re interested in purchasing a gently used potential squad car, swing by the house in the next few days and take her for a spin.

Do you have real adventure in your soul? You better have, because you’re gonna do time in a prowl car. Oh, it’s going to be a thrill a minute when you get an unknown-trouble call and hit a backyard at two in the morning, never knowing who you’ll meet– a kid with a knife, a pill-head with a gun,  two ex-cons with nothing to lose, or an innocent family vehicle minding its own business on a boring Midwestern street corner.

Just the facts, Ma’am.

Reported as an abandoned vehicle, perhaps because of her big city plates, she actually felt quite at home on our little street and even made friends with the neighbor's rescue dog, Thor.
Reported as an abandoned vehicle, perhaps because of her big city plates, she actually felt quite at home on our little street and even made friends with the neighbor’s rescue dog, Thor.
Guarding the stop sign
You’d hit the brakes too if you came to this intersection and saw this vehicle parked there. (And, on a lovely summer day, if you didn’t hit the brakes, you’d hear a loud, middle-aged voice shouting from the front porch, “Slow Down,” which is not embarrassing at all.)
My name is Joe Friday and I carry a badge


4 thoughts on “Thank God it’s (Joe) Friday!

  1. Hey, I’d like to borrow the Crown Vic – I live on a cul-de-sac and we still have speeders even though they can only go one way fast! 😉
    Thanks for the morning coffee giggle

  2. Great post! Sometime I’ll tell you about my run in with the law and your corner. You are a great writer.

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