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7.05.2004

The stolen rental car.

::: DISCLAIMER ::: This blog entry contains liberal use of the word "fuck" so if you can't handle it, I'd suggest you choke on this for a while.

For those of you who don't know yet, right now I have taken a temporary job washing and prepping rental cars in the basement of a parking garage in downtown San Francisco. I asked my friend Joey, who manages the place, if he had any open positions at his franchise that had very little responsibility and where I would not have to deal with customers directly, or at least not very often.

He asked me, "Wanna wash cars?" After pondering about it for a minute or two, I figured it would be a quick way to earn some extra money so I can buy a Canon Eos Rebel, a G5, music mixing software, plus get my photography business off the ground.

"Sure," I replied, not really realizing what I had committed to. Contract work has been scarce lately and this seemed like an easy enough job. I basically check in rental returns in the basement of the parking garage the franchise is located in, wash them, gas them up if needed, fill out a ready tag, and drive 'em up to the 8th floor of the garage. Simple, mindless (which affords me plenty of opportunity to plot, daydream, fantasize, and just be in my right brain), and sometimes sweaty work. Apparently, fetching recovered stolen rentals is in my job description, so off I went one bright, sunny morning down to Pier 70, the automotive quagmire where all towed cars in San Francisco end up if they're not claimed within 72 hours.

Well, it took almost an hour to find this particular car, an almost brand-new light blue Dodge Stratus coupe with less than 2000 miles on its clock. The story behind this particular vehicle is an interesting one, for sure. The retarded tourists who rented it drove up to the rental office after it had closed, where a bedraggled homeless man with dreadlocks greeted them. Smiling, he informed them he was the National/Alamo representative, and he'd take it from there. Obediently, the boobs got out of the car after parking it on the sidewalk, retrieved their bags, handed the man their rental agreement, and watched as he got in the car, started the engine, put it in gear, and drove away, never to return. They walked away, not once considering that perhaps something was amiss.

People that stupid shouldn't be allowed to leave their houses, much less go on vacation to San Francisco. Homeless people that enterprising should be running for office, and I've gotta give him credit for stealing a brand-new car like that in broad daylight.

So anyway, there I was down at Pier 70, sunning myself on the hood of a wrecked early 90's Cadillac DeVille, waiting for the attendant to find this poor Stratus so I could go back to washing Mitsubishis, Chevrolets, Nissans, and Dodges in that dank basement with a bunch of Mexicans who hate me because I'm a gringo and no habla espanol. Almost an hour passed before the ancient clattering and smoke-belching tow truck dragged a rather sad-looking car to the entrance of the impound lot.

"You have GOT to be kidding me," I thought.

The car was filthy, and the doors were covered in dark powder where the police had dusted it for prints. One of the tires had a large bulge in the sidewall where the homeless man (or perhaps the tourists) had slammed into a curb, and was missing a wheel cover as well. The windows were smeared with what appeared to be some sort of grease, and the entire thing was covered in at least an inch of dirt and dust.

"Um," I said to the attendant driving the tow truck. "I specifically asked for it to be detailed BEFORE you brought it to me. You are SO fired! Who is the manager of this establishment?"

The attendant, not used to people talking to him, much less being admonished for not cleaning a car when his only responsibility was to fetch them, looked at me helplessly, doe-eyed, blinking, like a small child who had just been scolded for running in a hallway or playing with a neighbor's garden hose. Being the merciful ex-Catholic I am, I decided to let him off the hook. "Just kidding, man," I grinned. He looked relieved, and smiled, revealing a single, lonely, somewhat-rotted tooth in his mouth. He shuffled away with his goofy, yet bashful smile still intact, and I walked up to Stratus to survey the damage.

Oh my fucking god.

Sitting there in plain view, on the front passenger seat, was a ROASTED CHICKEN from Safeway. Yeah...you read that right, a roasted fucking chicken...along with a bunch of used condoms on the floor and back seat. Closer inspection revealed an empty bottle of gin, greasy smears of questionable origin covering most surfaces, and rancid reddish-pink vomit all over the back seat and rear floor mats. Opening the glove box, I found a half-eaten package of sliced roast beef. WHY the fuck someone would stash slices of roast beef in a glovebox is beyond me, perhaps the be-dreadlocked gentleman thought it was some sort of refrigeration unit. Either that or he was a fucking cracked-out pig who had absolutely no sense of reality or decency.

Either sounds plausible.

I popped open the trunk, revealing MORE satan-barf (what the FUCK did this guy eat, anyway) and about 250 broken and crumbling Ritz crackers strewn about, along with an unearthly stench that reminded me of sewage, rotting cabbage, and dogshit, with a bit of Oakland at low tide thrown in just for good measure. In the middle of the mess was an unopened package of puke-splattered Keebler Soft Batch chocolate chip cookies.

What. The. Fuck.

This guy had class...steal a rental Dodge, shoplift some groceries ('cause you just KNOW he didn't put the groceries on his debit card or earn free United miles with his Safeway Select Club Card), stuff yourself with chicken and roast beef, fuck some nasty skank (I had to respect him for using condoms, though), chug a bottle of cheap gin, throw crackers around the trunk, barf everywhere, and abandon the car in the Tenderloin...now THAT'S an evening, if you ask me.

Shaking my head and heaving a gusty sigh, I realized I had to drive this jalopy back to the garage, about 3 miles to the north. Bile rising in my throat, I slipped behind the steering wheel and tried to start the engine. It started, ran for about 5 seconds, started chugging, and died. "God fucking dammit, what the fuck now?" I said to no-one in particular. Turns out it these newfangled Daimler-Chrysler jobs now sport an anti-theft device designed cut the fuel to the engine if started with any key other than the original, effectively stranding me at Pier 70 in this fetid vehicle. Thankfully, a hunky attendant (not 'ol Toothy Tootherson but a cute, butch guy in his mid-20's), took pity on me and performed some electronic magic with some wires, a pair of nail clippers, and some chewing gum, bypassing the fuel cutoff circuit. The car sputtered to life, ran rough for a few seconds, and I dropped it into gear.

Let's just say I let someone else clean that one when I got back to the garage.

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3 Comments:

At 04:03, Blogger Michael said...

This blog set a new record. I laughed out loud... seven times.

 
At 11:19, Anonymous Chachi Chacharoo said...

positively rancid......i want more!

 
At 16:39, Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow...and I thought my rental car story was a hot mess!!

 

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