. Stolen Car .

 

by Philip Wallace

William went out to get another box when he noticed all of the flyers on the windshield of his car. You can’t even get moved into a place without being hounded by salesmen he thought. He grabbed another box from the moving van and snatched the fliers from his car. Once inside the doorway he dumped the box on the floor with a loud thump causing his wife Stephanie and son Jake to leap and lose their breath. William dumped the fliers on the coffee table with a flourish of disdain. “Ooooh, pizza coupons,” said Jake.

So they had pizza that night. The next day they started their new life in the city. William’s transfer had been sudden, but it meant more money and opportunity so they had welcomed it. An apartment wouldn’t be too bad to live in for a few months. They had sold William’s big truck, but they still had the car. He could carpool to work and Stephanie could use the car when he wasn’t. Once they found a new home, they could get another vehicle. Life wouldn’t be so bad.

Work consumed William for the first few weeks. They didn’t have time to look for a new house or barely think. He bought a small grill and barbecued some burgers one fall afternoon. Jake brought his little rocking chair out on the patio and watched. It was a nice relaxing day. They woke the next morning to find the grill and chair missing. “Maybe it was the wind,” said Stephanie. Maybe it was, thought William. A few days later they figured out that it wasn’t the wind.

They had finally found a house worth looking at so the whole family had gone to see it. When they returned to the apartment they found it ransacked. The computer had been stolen. The television, stereo, and music collection were taken. Stephanie’s jewelry box had been swiped. Even some of Jake’s better toys were missing. There was no sign of forced entry but they both remembered William locking the deadbolt. The police couldn’t help them. It was just lucky they weren’t home or they could have been hurt was what everybody told them.


William installed new locks even though it was against the rules. He went and bought a gun. Stephanie scoured the pawnshops trying to find their missing stuff. Jake said that they needed a good watchdog. Time went by and they began to get comfortable again. They had settled on building a house and it would be ready next spring when their lease ran out.

Deep in the holiday season somebody tried to break into their car. William was beside himself. He had been violated for the last time. Stephanie told him to calm down. “I can’t calm down, this is the last, hey what is this,” asked William? It was one of the original fliers he had found on his windshield the day they had moved into the apartment. It was an ad for an on board monitoring system for automobiles called the Merry-matic Monitor. It promised help if you had locked your keys inside, roadside assistance for mechanical problems, and immediate help if the vehicle was stolen. This might give me some security thought William.

He asked around at his office for opinions about such services. They all said such a service was great, but none of them had ever heard of the Merry-matic company. It could be some pimple-faced geek with a GPS unit ripping you off he was told. Others said he should try a known company. But money was getting tight. After all he was having a house built. Merry-matic could help him feel more secure at a much lower cost than a name company. So William called and got the service installed. They even had a guarantee that they would replace the car with a new model if it got destroyed through no fault of William of course. And he felt much better about life.

His wife and son went out of town soon after to visit her parents. William rode into the office with a group of three others. It was a nice day. He could turn his mind off and drift. Later that day the gang decided to go out for lunch. As they were headed to a Chinese restaurant he thought he saw his car drive by. It should be parked at the apartment he thought. Just to be safe he decided to call the Merry-matic folks. He quickly learned that it was his car. It must have been stolen and the Merry-matic operator wanted to know if he wanted action taken. “Hell yes,” William screamed into the phone. The Merry-matic operator told him to relax and they would take care of the situation. He arrived at the restaurant with his co-workers in a frantic state.They told him not to worry and they would even pick up his tab. He told them to go in while he waited outside. His cell phone rang after a few minutes.

“So did you catch them yet,” he asked.

“Catch whom,” asked his wife?

“Oh honey it’s you,” he said, “look I’m expecting an important call any minute now and I need to have the line free.”

“This is kind of important,” said his wife, “I think we’re being followed.”

“What are you talking about,” asked William?

“We got home early and got the car and now something’s following us, it looks like a missile and I’m getting scared…”

“What? You’re in the car,” said William.

A sound like a rising wind could be heard over Stephanie’s line. William could hear Jake screaming to pull over. He heard the car screech to a halt. Then he heard what sounded like door handles that would not open.

“William, what’s going on? What’s happen….”?

The phone line went dead. And then rang almost immediately. William answered. “You’ll be glad to know sir that Merry-matic has stopped the criminals that stole your car. We did have to take rather drastic measures, but you can rest assured that complete customer satisfaction is our goal. You should be receiving a brand new car in a few…”

William ended the call. He dialed his wife’s number with shaking hands. There was no ring. He tried again. There was still nothing. He dialed and operator who also came up empty. William slumped against the outside wall of the restaurant. It began to rain and garbage blew through the lot bouncing off of the cars and was pushed to a drainage ditch. He staggered away toward the street and was almost hit by a car, but luckily his co-workers had missed him and found him before it could happen.

All calls to Merry-matic reached a disconnected number. No company with that name could be found in any business listing. The government couldn’t find anything out either which was no shock. William didn’t want to, but before the funeral he had to go retrieve some papers from the apartment. When he got there, a brand new car was in his parking place. The windshield was covered in promotional fliers. But William didn’t feel like pizza.

 

The End


 

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