Here’s story that I was reminded of when I locked my keys in my car the other day. It happened while Nate and I were dating and he was living in Chicago. My key locking story wasn’t even half as exciting, so I’ll tell this one since I haven’t posted a story in awhile.
I got a call from an angry Nathan one day after I got home from class. He told me that he had gone out with his brother, Tim, and his mom and sister to try to find a dress for something. Having no desire to shop dresses in the store with them, he and Tim had sat in the car while the women shopped. It was a hot summer day, and they decided to get out and walk in front of the car to stretch their legs. While they were talking, they suddenly noticed that a tow truck was backing up to their car. Within 10 seconds, it had clamped the back wheels and, before their eyes, was carrying their car down the street. Nathan ran after it to stop the guy and tell him that they hadn’t parked it illegally. The guy of course continued to pick up speed. Nate eventually ran up and jumped on the sideboard beside the driver.
“Hey! I’m right here! That’s my car! It wasn’t parked illegally!”
“GET OFF MY TRUCK!” roared a guy with with a long, gray, scraggly beard and a hook on his right hand. I’m just kidding about the hook, I was just recalling the movie “Adventures in Babysitting”. I have no idea what the guy looked like, but it obviously had to be something like what I’m describing. Obviously.
“Stop and let me have my car back!” Nate shouted back.
Suddenly and unexpectedly, the guy pulled a knife on Nate, and Nate’s intelligent brain thus helped him decide to jump off the truck.
Nathan finished the story, and asked me if I could look up the directions to the towing place. I looked it up, and saw it was in a bad neighborhood in South Chicago.
There was a craziness to his voice. “We’re getting our car back. And we’re not paying for it… We’re going in. I’ll see you when I see you. BWA HA HA HA!” He hung up.
Nathan and Tim took the train or drove another car, I don’t remember, until they found their mark. It was a dumpy, dusty towing lot with trash littered around the fence, and in front stood a dirty, dilapidated trailer with tinted windows so you couldn’t see who was in it. They walked up to the window and immediately a grimey metal box shoved out from a slot below the window, accompanied by a voice through speaker holes.
“IF YOU WANT YOUR CAR BACK, YOU OWE US $300!”
Nathan used a voice I can still hear quite well in my mind. It was one that he used for 3 people: 1) the lady in this story or others similar to her in other stories, 2) Satan, and 3) me. When he got into trouble for something and I was mad at him, my voice changed from being the sweet and innocent voice I actually have to this low, chesty, rumbly mad voice in his stories. Our friends knew it well and would laughingly refer to it as the Satan/Lauren voice, while I pouted in the corner and rocked myself.
Anyway. The lady with the Satan/Lauren voice rumbled at him “YOU HAVE TO PAY US $300! NOW!”
Calm and collected: “We’re not going to pay you $300 when we weren’t parked illegally.”
“I DON’T CARE! GIVE US $300!” There might’ve been some cursing involved…
Less calm and collected: “Look, lady, you don’t need to be so rude. Your guy towed our car illegally and he pulled a knife on us–”
“GIVE ME $300! NOW!”
More conversation ensued. There might have been some more cursing involved. Definitely not calm and collected– “We’re going to call the police!”
Satan/Lauren: “PAY ME NOW OR WE’LL CRUSH YOUR CAR!”
Then they threw a grenade Tim had in his back pocket through the window and ran in to save the car. Just kidding. The rescue mission was much cooler.
After the shouting match proved ineffective, they walked away from the tatty trailer, red-faced (they have Irish blood) and brooding. Finally, they stood in front of it, stance wide and arms crossed to make their biceps bulge, like all men do for whatever testosteronely-charged reason, and scoped out their enemy’s territory. Satan/Lauren eyed them suspiciously from her tinted-window fortress…we assume since it was tinted. They walked around the perimeter of the fence, testing weak spots and concocting a mission plan. The trailer sat dumpily and suspiciously in the distance.
Finally, their plan was hatched. They walked across the street to a gas station. An Indian man waited with a turban wrapped around his head.
“Hi. Can you tell us the story about these guys? That towing place towed our car illegally.” They nodded toward the tatty trailer.
The man spoke animatedly in a heavy accent, “Oh! You are not the only one to have your car taken! Everybody hates those guys. The police do nothing.”
“Hmmm…Well, we have an idea. Um, perhaps do you have…a crowbar?”
The man looked at them sideways, paused. Then he nodded decisively and bent under the counter to pull out a crowbar. It was like God’s blessing on their truck rescue mission.
“Just do not bring it back,” he told them.
The men walked outside with new purpose. After a quick talk, the plan was in action. Splitting up, Tim walked around the front toward the trailer fortress. Nate walked around to the back of the lot where the high chain link fence had a gate held together by a rusted lock. He began to beat it with the crowbar. It came off easily (God’s blessing part 2), and he waited by the gate for his next move. He looked behind him.
A crowd of rough, tattooed basketball players had stopped their game and stood watching him, looking menacing.
“Oh…hey guys. Uh, we’re just breaking our car out of the towing lot…”
The air immediately went from cold and suspicious to animated chatter and warmth.
“Oh yeah, man. Cool!” they called.
“Cool.”
End of conversation.
Nate waited. After about 15 minutes, he heard yelling and a commotion inside the fence. A car revved loudly. The tension mounted in the moments as he waited for the storm to rise over the hill…
When it broke, he said it was most of the beautiful and gratifying sights he had ever seen. Tim’s old truck came roaring like the thunder through the towing lot, dodging cars and back wheels spinning out all over the place. In the middle of the lot, it went through a huge puddle of muddy water that sprayed out in all directions from the truck, something straight out of a scene from Dukes of Hazard. Satan/Lauren and a beefy bouncer ran behind, shaking their fists and screaming insults.
Nate quickly swung the gate open, and jumped in the door while the car was moving. They flew away from the trailer fortress to ecstatic cheers from the basketball crowd and curses from Satan/Lauren and her bouncer.
Turns out, sneaky Tim had run through an open gate when Mr. Bouncer wasn’t looking, and quickly jumped an inside fence, while Mr. Bouncer’s bulk prevented him from doing the same and made him wait to open the gate. Tim had gotten to his car just in time to reproduce the Dukes of Hazard scene we now celebrate.

This is one of my personal favorite Nathan stories.

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