Log in Subscribe
Ramona's Ramblings

(Baby won’t you) drive my car

Ramona Jan
Posted 4/12/22

The phone rings. It’s a New Jersey detective and he’s looking for my cousin, Davie. “He’s wanted for car theft,” informs said-detective.

“Spell your full …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in
Ramona's Ramblings

(Baby won’t you) drive my car


The phone rings. It’s a New Jersey detective and he’s looking for my cousin, Davie. “He’s wanted for car theft,” informs said-detective.

“Spell your full name,” I say cutting right to the chase, “And give me a number where I can reach you. I’ll call Davie and then call you right back. I’m quite sure this is all some kind of big mistake.”

I reach Davie on his cell. As usual, we exchange small talk and when I tell him that some garden-state gumshoe is looking for a car he rented he sounds confused, “The rental car? I returned it to the lot.”

I call flatfoot back to tell him that the car was returned to the rental lot, but he informs me that the security footage clearly shows that it was never returned.

I phone Davie and without a whiff of wrongdoing he assures me, “Well, I did return it but I can’t talk now because I’m driving. I’ll ring ya' later.” The call ends and only then do I recall that Davie doesn’t own a car. If he returned the rental, then what the heck is he driving? I try his cell again but he no longer picks up my calls—ever.

The investigator continues to phone me on a near daily basis. I press upon him that Davie is no longer talking to me, but I know what this bloodhound’s thinking; it’s a family operation—a large car thieving ring involving a boat load of relatives that spans at least two states. He’s even interviewed my 88-year-old mother!

I phone my mother. Her theory, despite the fact that I’ve verified the precinct and the agent, is that this detective is actually someone posing as a police officer. “Why would anyone do that?” I ask my mother. “For fun,” she says. “People don’t have very much to do these days.” And then she drops a bomb, “Davie rented a car to go to the airport.”

I phone the detective to suggest he check the airport parking lot, but he’s already done that and the car is not there. Then I remember asking Davie for his flight information and how he smoothly skirted the question without even mentioning the name of the airline. He only said that he was going to California to live in an airplane hangar with no address.

I search the internet and discover that stealing rental cars is a thing and it happens quite frequently. Rental cars are fairly easy to get and once pinched, complicated to recover mostly because police departments don’t have the time or manpower to pursue such cases. I conclude that my crazy cousin just swiped a car and that said car is long gone. He may have even bagged more than one over the years.

The next time Sherlock calls, I ask him not to call me anymore. I know that he must abide by this, at least for now. I never hear from him again. Days turn into weeks, and weeks into months. I pine to hear Davie’s voice. In so many ways, he was my lifeline; the only person with whom I could really talk; the one who really saw and appreciated me for who I am.

As a coping mechanism, I practice considering him dead by imagining his funeral. In each new daydream, I build upon the details. Open coffin or urn? Maybe he was cremated; a mix of attendees or only car thieves? I decide upon a smattering of family and underworld figures surrounded by aromatic white lilies. The phone rings. It’s Davie! We talk as if no time had passed, mostly about the weather and how happy he is in California. I don’t mention the detective or the car. It’s not worth it. He’ll only hang up on me and possibly never call again. I do ask what he’s doing for a living and he tells me that he ships auto parts overseas, and I pretend not to hear it.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here