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.
“Did my husband put you up to this?”
“Seriously?” I asked a third time. I hate to miss a punch line.
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.