George Again 10/22/21

Update by Richard Bleil

William Shakespeare wrote a play called “A Comedy of Errors”, which involved mistaken identity.  Okay, my store doesn’t deal with mistake identity, but it could easily fall under the same title, and most certainly is unraveling into a comically tragic tale that, frankly, just can’t be made up.  Please forgive me for being repetitive, but to tell today’s tale, I have to recap some earlier details. 

So George lives a few blocks from me.  He’s a handyman of sorts, and I allowed him previously to mow my lawn.  I tend to be overly nice, so I was overly generous in my tips for him, and as time went on, we got to chatting more and more.  He shared with me that he had been in jail and had substance abuse issues but that he was recovering and trying to get back on his feet on both counts.  I support these efforts but, of course, there is no way for me to verify the validity of his statements.  It was simply a matter of trust, something that I feel is in short supply in our society. 

If you’ve been reading my recent posts, you’ll remember that he had eyes for my old Ford truck.  We settled on a price, but he needed time to gather the cash.  As such, I loaned the truck to him to help him expand his business.  About a week ago, George had a birthday, and apparently found (I assume without payment, but I do not know) companionship for the night.  He went to her home, and when we woke up the key to the truck was gone, as was, of course, the truck.  His friend was pulled over in the truck across the river in a town called “Council Bluffs”, and police impounded the truck.

Before I knew the truck had been impounded, I decided it best to report the truck stolen, with George’s approval and participation.  In a technical sense, it had been since she didn’t have permission to take the vehicle, and certainly not from me.  Mainly, reporting it stolen was a way of protecting myself in case drugs or other illegal materials were found in the truck, both protecting myself and at least improving my chances of recovering it. 

As it turns out, it had been impounded by the Council Bluffs police.  Unfortunately, police departments don’t communicate with each other (you’d think there would be some kind of national database with at least basic information accessible), so the Omaha police didn’t realize that it was impounded.  On Tuesday I went and paid to get the truck out of impound, plus a penalty because they were closed on Monday.  So I get the truck back, return all of George’s property to him, and because of the damage to the truck and because he broke my trust in failing to tell me that he didn’t have, and never did have, a driver’s license, I cut ties with him.  (Keep this in mind a bit later in this story.)

Enter my neighbor.  She is Native American and has been having a tough time of it with her recently divorced husband and income issues.  Recently, the reservation (she tells me) gave her some money with more expected soon to help her out.  Now, I don’t talk with her often, but I like trying to build the relationship, so yesterday I saw her in her driveway in a black pickup truck.  I stopped over to check in with her since I know that they (her entire family) recently had a bout with Covid-19. 

She told me that she had just bought the truck, and that it runs pretty well but for the key that often fails to turn in the ignition.  I told her that I was looking to sell my Ford, and she expressed interest.  Apparently, she wants to buy it to lend it out to her daughter.  She didn’t want her daughter to own it because she, too, is having man problems and fears he might do something to take it. 

So, last night I lent it to her.  She needed to make a quick food and diaper run, and I thought, hey, try it out and see if you like it.  Now it gets interesting.

First, when I went to get it out of the rather tight spot where it’s always parked, I noticed that the driver’s side door was ajar.  Inside there was a coin holder, and being OCD as I am, I always kept it full for things like toll roads and parking meters.  When I recovered the vehicle, I know the change was still there because I noticed it when I emptied the center console of George’s property.  Last night, it was gone.  George is the only person who knows where I live, where I park the vehicle, that the I don’t lock the door and that there is no alarm on it.  I’ve no doubt George broke in and took the money, which further disappoints me.  We’re only talking a few dollars’ worth of change but it still speaks to his character.

So about 9 PM, I get a call from her.  She was pulled over in (ready for this?) Council Bluffs, and the police were detaining her because (you guessed it) the vehicle was reported as stolen.  Oh, sure, let’s share that information but not the fact that it was recovered.  I spent some time with the officer on the scene and could answer all of his questions (my birth date, the license plate and so forth), and they eventually decided that it was, in fact, legally on loan to my neighbor who, as it turns out, doesn’t have a driver’s license. 

Okay, honestly, it’s a little bit different.  See, George never had his driver’s license, while my friend let hers expire.  Yet, when the officer asked for her license, she gave him her reservation identification card (which is not accepted as valid identification in many places, despite the fact that the Native Americans are by treaty independent nations). 

As it turns out, something else that was missing from the vehicle was the registration.  I’m sure that is in George’s possession as well, and I don’t really understand the point to this since the plates are still on the vehicle.  None the less, today I will be filling out an application for a replacement registration, and Monday I’m sure I’ll have to pay for that as well. 

I’m tempted to think that I’m too trusting, but I’ll be honest with you, I don’t think there’s enough trust in this world.  George betrayed my trust and got away with a few more dollars, but that’s the best he’ll do from this point forward.  My neighbor is okay; I’m disappointed she didn’t tell me about her license, but she wants to purchase the vehicle outright, so I’ll sell it to her.  As for the truck, well, let’s just hope this farcical tale of befalling tragedies is nearing its end.


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