Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Time I Had to Have a Parolee

break into my Husband's truck.

BTW, I chose this color b/c the truck had a racing stripe this same shade.

I have to back up and explain why I did something monumentally careless.
My Daddy [God Love him] and his Daddy[God love him, too] knew a lot of things. But they knew almost nothing about what they were looking at when they popped the hood of a car. And other than how to change a tire, and how to put gas in a car, they taught me nothing about cars.
Neither my first husband or my second husband, who knew how to pull, rebuild and replace an engine, corrected this deficit in my education. As a matter of fact, the husband in question used to tell me, "Don't worry about the car, I'll take care of the car." OK, fine.
Except when I got my CJ-7, he didn't take care of the maintenence. His idea of taking care of it would be to say something like, "you need to get the oil changed". But he'd say it while I was fixin' dinner, or bathin' two kids, or writin' a paper.
At the time he was workin' 40 hrs/week. I, on the other hand, was goin to school full time, and takin' care of 2 kids, and keepin house. So when he would say somethin' like that once every 5-6 months when I was busy with somethin else, it would go in one ear and out the other.
So, now that I've rationalized my carelessness, long story short, I blew the engine in my CJ-7. It hadn't had an oil change in 2.5 years. The oil in the pan was the consistency of chocolate puddin'. How many of you just shuddered?

While it's gettin fixed, I'm drivin' his truck.
I'm out doin' home visits one evening, but rather than out in the middle of nowhere, I'm in the city. This parolee, named Greg, lived on the edge of the "Projects". In fact, he lived a couple of streets over from Colored Man. He lived with his Daddy and I had been to see him before, this was just a routine 1/3months visit. I forget what he had gone to prison for, but if I was only seeing him once every three months he must have been doing pretty good on his parole.
Since it's my husband's truck, he had wanted me to lock it whenever I got out and wasn't going to be within sight of it "at all times". So I dutifully get out of the truck, lock it, and go up to Greg's door. I go inside, do the home visit, and go back out to the truck.
Reach in my pocket and NO KEYS. I look in the window, there they are, dangling from the ignition.
I go back to Greg's door and ask him if I can have a coat hanger. He looks at me funny, so I point to the truck and with a great deal of embarrassment admit that I've locked the keys inside the truck. He laughs at my predicament and tells me, "I can get in that truck in a jiffy. Those old Fords are easy."
Sure enough, he walked out and with a metal ruler and had the door open in about 5 seconds.
I thanked him and he said, "Sure."

I've never told anybody this story.


G Bro said...

The man had a useful skill. It just happened to be illegal.

And that story about the Jeep is a tragedy. (I think if it looked like chocolate pudding, it had water in it. If it looked like road tar, it was old, burnt-up oil.)

Matt G said...

2004. I ran out to assist the local fire department on a child locked in a pickup. The temp that afternoon was about 80 f. The truck wasn't running. The windows were both up. The family with the 14 mo. old baby in the pickup was mighty poor, and this little Chevy S-10 standard cab pickup was their only transportation. Bless 'em, they'd put the kiddon a car seat.

Now, I had a Universal Entry Device on my hip in the form of an ASP expandable baton. But I really didn't want to use it if I didn't have to. First, because I didn't want to have to worry about flying glass hitting that pretty little baby on the face, perhaps in the eyes. Second, I didn't want to break the window on the only vehicle that they had. There's no WAY that they would have done anything to fix it other than duct-taping some plastic over the window, perhaps bolstered with cardboard. Not good in the long run, if it could be avoided.

Then I thought: Just down the road about a block was the home of a certain felon's home and garage, where he worked in between stealing cars. This isn't speculation: I had personally assisted in arresting him on a blue warrant back in 2002, during which time I identified the Mustang he was driving as a stolen car. In the trunk of said Mustang were two sets of jiggler keys, two full-sized professional lockpick sets, slim jims, shims, wedges, and every kind of flashlight and headlamp you've every seen or heard of. For whatever reason, my chief had disallowed me from siezing those items as Burglary Tools, and he got them back.

I addressed the teenaged father of the boy: "You know where J.'s house and garage is?" Of course he did. "Go there and tell him what we've got, and get some burglary tools." He slapped his forehead for not having thought of it. Off he ran down the block.

Meanwhile, I checked out the baby. His own forehead had beads of sweat forming, but he was smiling, because his mother (all of about 16 years old) and grandmother (in her early 40's, and owner of the house trailer they lived in) were giving him LOTS of attention in the manner of silly faces. But it was getting warm to me, in the direct sun, wearing a short-sleeved dark blue cop uniform, gear, and vest. After five minutes (15 minutes after they'd locked the kid in the truck and 10 minutes after I'd gotten there) of waiting for the daddy to come back, I was discussing with a fireman how best to smash in the window. We had decided to wrap his fireaxe in a shop rag and smack the corner of the opposite window from the kid, hoping that the tempered glass would only crumble rather than shatter inward. About this time, up runs the panting kid-turned-father, with a thin bar, a wedge, and a slim jim. It took us uncoordinated responders about 30 seconds to get into the truck.

"Everybody knows J. is a car thief," said the dad. "I can't believe I didn't think to run down there myself. He wasn't home, so his mama got the stuff-- that's why it took so long; she didn't know where the slim jim was at first." But she DID know where the wedges and bar were. A family that steals together....

Ah, well. All's well that ends well.