Every night around 1am I have to go B-Lot to buy a new parking ticket so I don’t get towed the next day.
Tonight, I had the pleasure of Patrick’s company on the way to and back from B-Lot. As we were walking back to SJC, we cut through S-Lot which is a small parking lot near the kitchen entrance of the College.
I noticed that one of the cars in the lot had its driver side door wide open. The interior light was not on, so I couldn’t see inside. The car was about 40 feet away from us, so that made it even harder to discern what was going on in there.
I got Patrick’s attention. We stopped and looked at it from afar. Patrick turned to me.
“What do you think is going on?”
“I dunno. I think maybe the driver is in there?”
It didn’t make sense though. What would anyone be doing there with the interior lights off and door wide open?
We watched for several more seconds. There was no discernable motion coming from inside.
“Erwin, want to check it out?”
“Without back-up? I think we needed to be armed. Let’s go back to my room. I’m going to get my tennis racquet. I have a hockey stick, you can bring that.”
Both of us ran back to my room with the excitement only 20-something year-old guys can have when facing a potentially dangerous situation. I grabbed my racquet and handed my stick to Patrick.
“Do you have something heavier? This is light.”
“Dude, it’s aluminum, it’ll do.”
I also grabbed my Mag-Lite so we could see inside the car.
We hurriedly made our way back down the hall. We saw a resident in the hallway who must have known we were up to something. It’s a rare sight to see two guys with a hockey stick and a tennis racquet at 1am in the morning.
Outside, we arrived at the same spot we were about two minutes ago and stopped. I was wondering how we should approach the car. Having seen a million movies and TV shows where cops approach an unknown car, I thought I’d have a plan for sure.
We finally decided we’d go in nice and slow, but not at a snail’s pace. I held my racquet in a position that I must admit wasn’t the most the defensive, but it sure looked cool. I had it up against my shoulder like it was rifle. In hindsight, that was really dumb. It did allow me, however, to hold the Mag-Lite along the handle and shine it in a steady fashion.
I took the lead with Patrick about four or five feet behind me. Quietly as we could we came in from an angle (the car was facing away from us). Using a brisk crouch-walk, we got about 15 feet away from the car and I began to sweep around to get a better look into the driver side.
It was empty. I moved around further to see that the front of the car was empty too. The back seat was a still mystery though. The only way to find out was to get real close. We slowly inched our way to the back seat windows. I nervously pointed my flashlight into back… nothing. It was all clear.
I let my guard down a bit and tried the trunk. Locked.
“Erwin, it’s a rental. Look.”
There was a Budget sticker on the rear bumper. I checked the front. There was an S-Lot pass. This car wasn’t abandoned. Someone had bought a pass for it. Maybe it was a loaner or something.
I examined the contents of the car. There was a Club anti-theft device on the floor, a map, and a box of Frisk mints. The interior was very clean. It didn’t look like it had been rummaged through. Weird. What the hell was this?
The only thing I could think of was that the owner had forgot to lock the door, someone came by, opened the door, looked around, found nothing, and just left the door open.
What do to now though? I asked Patrick for his opinion.
“I think we should just leave it.”
“No way. We can’t do that.”
“What if you leave prints on it?”
“You think I’m going to get fingered for murder?”
I looked inside again. I saw the tell-tale flashing of a red LED on the dashboard. It was probably anti-theft.
“The anti-theft is on.”
“If you close the door, you might set off the alarm.”
“I’ll just ease it shut.”
I gently swung the door closed and then gave it a final push to lock the mechanism in place. No alarm went off.
There was nothing left to do. We walked back to the College. Patrick suggested I send a mail out to the College distribution list just in case that car was rented by someone at SJC. He also said I should add some “pizazz” to my description of what we did. I told him I’d probably tone it down.
Well, at least for five minutes tonight, I had some excitement in my life.