Good lord, it's fun to go back! The other night Iexperiencced a rush back in time and place such as i have not had in years! It all started on christmas morning, at the annual breakfast of the McCaffertys and Dembinskis [next door neighbors]. My kids insist on this annual tradition, and at 28 years old and 25 years old, they still insist on the Easter egg hunt too. so every year I get up early and go to have breakfast with Barb, Jamie, Kylene, and all the seemingly hundreds of Dembinskis. Merry Christmas! After breakfast there is a round of gift opening, which is post-apocalyptic to the christmas eve gift opening, and a prequil to the christmas night gift opening at the various Scott households, and then finally it peters out at my place sometime in the coming week to pick up the stockings at dad's. I'm exhausted just typing it all.
So anyway, in all this comes the mention of a car that must be repossesed. Jamie is very unhappy with this part of his mother's job. he doesn't like the idea of his mom strapping the .45 caliber waist holster on and the ankle .22 on her right ankle and the hidden 9 mm thigh holster under her skirt. He is a very sensitive and caring son, and believes if the job requires 3 pistols and a knife in your purse, you should find another job. This is the stuff we used to tell my father in law, Barb's father, back when he was alive. It may have had something to do with his demise. Any how, Barb gave me the opportunity to ride along on an afternoon drive by, a look-see to get the lay of the land and make sure that when the car gets 'popped', the person doing so knows where to go to get out, and doesn't get stuck turning around and looking down the barrel of the other guy's weapon in the cul de sac of a dead end. Since it was just a daytime drive by to find the address and such, we brought Kylene along with us, in my car, as that way we would be much less suspicious in the 'hood.
Well, the address we sought was in croydon, old croydon down on the river, not far from the Neshaminy creek. This is not the best of neighborhoods, and Barb and I have both reposessed cars and trucks from this area many times before. On the way Kylene did what she always does when not driving the car, she started to fall asleep. Until we got to the area we were looking for, and then the flow of adrenaline was contagious. Looking for the address on the houses to find the right one in a neighborhood where putting your house number someplace visible was a considered a foolish aid to the police, we finally determined the house we were looking for was the one with the fenced in parking area and the 200 pound rotweiler in the front yard. And the truck we sought was not there. Well, that would have been way too convenient. So we headed home after a short drive around the block, just to confirm this house was way down the end of the one-way street, way down the very dark, unlit street, where cries for help would never be heard by anyone but the like-minded and probable co-conspirato neighbors.
At any rate, it was a nice drive in the countryside for the 3 of us, and we went home. I asked Barb if I could drive by later and pop the car if it was there, and she readily gave up this job for me. To her it was a pain in the butt after hours and unpaid overtime task of her job. For me, it was a romantic return to those exciting days of yesteryear, to those halcyon days of my youth, when lasers beams shot from my eyes, lightning from my fingertips, and thunder from my voice! Back then, I walked like John Wayne into the most violent and dangerous areas of the country, with no more than the knowledge that i was shrewder, faster, meaner and loved by god more than the poor hapless slob from whom I was taking the ride. I knew that as I walked from my car to the target vehicle, the residents looked out their windows and saw not some easily picked off stranger, but a man to be feared and respected. I was shielded by the armor of my character and the bullet proof aura i projected. they knew as I did, that I was the meanest S.O.B. in the valley, that's right, I'm cool, I'm down, and I'm here to take what I want. They would huddle in their homes and close the drapes. turn up the TV.
We all went home as the fantasy rolled in my head like a movie in widescreen panavision with dolby sound. Barb was thinking 'well, maybe he'll get lucky and I won't have to go out late tonight, I can stay home and get some sleep'. Kylene was probably thinking how boring all this was, and she should get a nap in before that night's party. At least she would get points for hanging with the parents, and at the very least, she could tic off jamie with the fact that we were together having fun without him.
Around 6 pm that night, my mind was running on adrenaline, pure adrenaline. I was thinking of every possible scenario. Fantasies of gunfights and memories of Billy Raspanti and Sean Syron ran though my mind. Two young protoges of mine back in the day, one was my boss's son, the other a young employee who I thought needed some experience in the art of repossesion. So when the opportunity arose, I sent them on an 'easy' pop. They came back with the rear window of the chase vehicle shot out, and no car was repossessed.
That was the only time in my lifetime experience anyone was shot at repossesing a car, and boy was I peeved it happened to them and not me!
Well, I was Walter Mitty-ing through the potential events of the night before me, and I figured I should reconoiter the area in the dark as well as that afternoon's daylight drive-by. I took off for the theater of operations, bringing lots of hershy's dark chocalate kisses with me to keep me awake through what could be a long cold stake out.
I slowly rolled down the gentle slope of the road, toward the house that was my quarry, much like a black jaguar in the jungle stalking his prey, the radio now off, the windows down to detect every noise, I could hear a twig snap a hundred yards away. Every nerve in my body was ready to react at any moment to what I thought was the inevitable confrontation of an entire neighborhood of hostiles intent on preventing me from getting the truck i was there for. Fools that they were, they probably thought they would discard my body and I would never be seen or heard from again. This is the kind of place where things like that happened.
I had of course, a mapquest of the area, the second set of keys, a remote unock keyfob, a copy of the registration and rental agreement and a cell phone into which I had already dialed the Bristol township police phone number. The music that constantly runs throught the back of my head, that music that is the soundtrack to the movie of my life, was building up tension and was of course a 150 piece symphony orchestra.
Ahead of me I could see nothing but my headlights reflected in the tail lights of a Ford F-150 pickup, conveniently parked on the side of the road, in front of the target household, outside of the fenced in parking area, which fence now PROTECTED me from the 300 pound rotwieler with distemper. The music stopped suddenly in my mind, the street lights became way too bright, the kids in the street playing hockey were now 10 years old instead of 20 something thugs selling dope, and man this was spiraling way downward fast, I was losing my powers like superman walking into a roomful of krypton. I parked my car up the street, walked down to the truck, remotely unlocked the door, started it up and drove back to McCafferty Ford.
I was disappointed, there was no olympic hurdle of the fence, no NFL-like dodging and weaving of the 400 pound rotwieler with distemper and his entire family, there was no neighborhood full of villagers with torches and pitchforks, the homeowner was at dinner and never heard his truck pull away in the dark, and he wouldn't know it till the next morning. There were no sudden bright searchlights blinding me, I so wanted to drive the truck through the fence and watch it fall down in front of me and no one, no one shot at me.
Sometimes life stinks.
Well, even if i didn't get shot at for Christmas, I had a marvelous Christmas fantasy and shared time with family. I got what every old man needs, a safe trip back to his youth. The bad guy who doesn't pay his bills gave me something that will last for a long time to come: a family memory for me, and a story my daughter Kylene will retell with typical Irish embellishment for the rest of her life. I think she will soon be telling her friends I accompanied her on 'her' first repo. Happy New Year!
James J. McCafferty, Sr.
The Answer To All Questions Automotive!
110 West Byberry Road Tower D Suite 11
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19116