I walked outside. My car was nowhere to be seen. Did I park it further down the block? My Love Interest suggested that maybe it had been towed. She lives in South Beach where it is only residential parking. If you do not have a guest pass hanging from your rearview mirror they can tow you away.
I called one tow truck company. They did not have my car. Good, maybe it was stolen and I could instead collect insurance money. But then I called the second tow truck company. “Yeah, we got it.”
“How much is it going to cost?”
“Two hundred and ten dollars.”
So now not only was my car kidnapped, but I had to pay a ransom to get it back. I biked to the ATM and then to the tow truck company. I waited in line. It was a busy Sunday evening for the thieves following around the meter maids looking for cars they could tow away. A middle aged woman stood behind bulletproof glass. She had her phone set on speaker so I could hear her being cursed out each time she answered. It did my heart good to know that those who chose a job preying on others must constantly be reminded that they make a living in a dishonest way. Finally it was my turn. I had to show them my license and proof of car ownership.
“Three hundred twenty dollars.” she told me.
“You told me on the phone it was two hundred and ten dollars.”
Suddenly as I questioned her she was joined by a big bruiser of a guy. Three hundred pounds, head shaven, and tattoos on his neck. He said, “You’ve had it here since Friday.”
“What are you talking about? I drove the car this morning.”
She looked over her records and saw I was right. “Two hundred ten dollars.” She told me.
Maybe I could get the price down lower. I saw on their paperwork that it said tow truck companies can only charge you $115 for my violation. She pointed out that did not include a $25 charge for labor, a $20 charge for storage, $30 charge for the inconvenience of them having to tow after hours. They had all the power in this situation, so I handed over my bills. I said, “You could have had three hundred twenty from me if you would have told me that price from the start.”
The Big Bruiser said without any irony. “That would be fucked up.”
My car was in the back. It was in perfect condition. The ticket for $23 held in place by my windshield wiper. When I grabbed it I noticed I did have a parking pass hanging from my rearview mirror. I pointed it out to the towers. They said, “Take it up with the courts.”