The Great Clyde Break-In

“This is the Prior Lake police department,” the voice on the other end of the line said when the phone rang at 4:30 this morning.

Funny how your body goes on autopilot when the phone rings so late/early in the morning. It rang and my voice sounded oddly coherent for being awakened from a dead sleep. Of course when it filtered through my brain that the police were calling me at 4:30 in the morning, I tried to think of everything I had done wrong today.

Let’s see, I thought. I didn’t kill any sisters in a fit of pre-wedding tension. I paid for all the junk I bought at the stores. They can’t get your for speeding four hours after the fact, can they? Then I panicked. Oh my god! Someone I love is dead. Tracy and tony are staying at Tony’s parents’ house in prior lake. Oh no! Mom and Dad were at the casino in Prior Lake tonight. Shit! Someone I love is dead; I have to identify the bodies. I don’t want to do this. Why in the hell else would the police call me at 4:30 a.m.? All this thinking was done in about a three second time period.

“Is this Jodi?” said the man’s voice on the other end of the line.
“Yes, this is Jodi.”
“Hi Jodi this is Officer Hanson, Im in your parking lot. (Fuck!) Someone broke into your car. (Fuck) We have the guy here in the backseat (wha?) and we want you to come out and see if anything is missing.”
“Uh, okay,” I said.
“So, get dressed. Well wait outside for you,” he said.

I turn on the light, roll out of bed and have the common sense to put on a bra (yes, I thought to put on a bra). I throw on some shorts and a sweatshirt, grab my glasses, run my fingers through my hair, and nab my keys on the way out the door. The whole time I was thinking, “If this is some sort of pre-wedding practical joke, there will be bloodshed.”

I timidly make my way outside and I see the building manager standing next to his van. There are two cop cars in the parking lot one from savage (the itty bitty town next door to prior lake {which is an ittier bittier town}), the city my parents’ bowling alley resides in) and a prior lake squad.

I approach my car with trepidation. Thinking of all the stuff that’s in there. Yes, I was embarrassed. Officer Hanson comes over with his super-duper high beam flashlight and says they need me to take a look to see if I am missing anything. Holy shit! I think, he’s cute. Hmm, they are right what they say about a man in uniform. Yummy! My hero, my rescuer, my knight in shining armor is a hottie! Good thing I put on a bra.

I open Clydes door and of course that stupid light is out, so I have to turn on the lights and I see the junk heap. Fast food wrappers, assorted tapes, mittens. Nothing looks like it’s missing. I dig around. Check to make sure my David Foster Wallace book is still in there. Thats mostly what I was worried about.

“Is that your baseball cap?” cute Officer Hanson asks.
“Yes, that’s mine and so is the cowboy hat (a token from work on the release of our new software, I also have a mug in the shape of a cowboy boot) and so is the sombrero (a free birthday gift when you have birthday lunch at Chevys Mexican restaurant in Eden Prairie).”
“Ok, do you see anything missing?’
“No.”
“How about the glove box?”
“Hmm, looks like the usual insurance junk and fast food napkins.”
“He looked like he was digging at the stereo,” manger man says.
“What kind of stereo do you have?” cute Officer Hanson asks.
“I dont know,” I said, “I think it’s the stereo that came with Clyde.”
“Whos Clyde?”
“Clyde is the car.”
“Oh, you named your car?”
“Yes, I named my car.”
“Yep, factory installed stereo.”

So we linger outside for a bit and cute Officer Hanson gets my information. When I tell him my birthday he says, “I wouldn’t have guessed you were 28.” That’s when I fall in love. So he goes and talks to the “perp.” Yes, he used the word perp., which made me feel like I was stuck inside an episode of “Law & Order.”

“C’mere,” he says, walking away from Clyde and the squad cars, “I want to talk to you out of earshot.” At this point I am willing to follow cute Officer Hanson anywhere. He tells me that since nothing is missing, that we can’t get him on a theft charge. But we can get him with auto tampering or something. Cute Officer Hanson goes on to tell me that this kid is well known in the Savage and Prior Lake police departments and if I press charges that I will go to court. This kid takes everything to court. Officer Hanson keeps telling me that I am the victim (I am not a victim!) and that whatever I want to do, he’ll do. I notice he’s wearing a wedding ring. Rats!

“If I press charges, will it stop him from doing it again?” I ask all naively and good-Samaritan-like. This garners me a look from cute Officer Hanson like I just stepped off the moon. I see that Officer Hanson has been hardened by the mean streets of Prior Lake, Minnesota. All those donuts. Hes seen too many rich kids pulled over in convertibles and Jeeps that mommy and daddy bought them to believe that one person can make a difference anymore.

The two cops check the rest of the cars in the parking lot to see if they’ve been broken into, allowing me a moment to ponder my options. I look at the stars, shiver, and see if I can find Orion. I do. I don’t know what to do. Ive never been in a position to press charges. I don’t want to go to court. I just want to go back to bed.

Cute Officer Hanson tells me that pressing charges will probably get me nowhere. But if they discover other cars have been broken into and things are missing, I could be called to testify or something. He thanks my apartment manger profusely.

“Theres nothing like calling someone at 4 in the morning and telling them they’re a victim (I am not a victim!) and that we’ve got the perp in the back seat,” he says.

Thank yous are handed all around and I am sent back into my warm apartment with the warning to keep my car locked. Rats! I should have ask for a note. A note to tell everyone that I was a crime victim. Gah! what was I thinking? Damnit.

Oh well, another opportunity to get flowers is lost. Grrrr. I think I am gonna go back to bed now. I need a nap.

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