I step out onto the driveway, my feet clumsy with caked-on mud, and try not to slip as I walk to the car. It is a beauty—a new model Mustang, fire engine red, gleaming black tires. My stomach lurches as I suddenly realize I will have to sit in this spotless car in my rain-soaked, mud-splattered clothing when I drive it away from its owner, who is six months behind on his payments. Nervous at the thought of damaging the interior of such a pristine automobile, I stand and finger the car key in my pocket.
As I debate the situation, I turn my head and glance into the backseat. A navy-blue sweater with two white, horizontal stripes lies in a crumpled heap on the leather seat. I had a sweater like that once, before I kicked Jason Landis out of my apartment and my life. After searching high and low for the sweater in my small flat, I finally decided it had to have vanished along with Jason. Finding it here in this car makes me think it must have been a popular style a few years back. I haven’t seen it in stores since, and I have searched the malls and outlets for a replacement. I feel an ache in my chest and realize I really, really have missed that sweater. It went with a couple of my outfits quite well. The thought that I could take this sweater once I repossess the car crosses my mind, but guilt roars through me. I tell myself if I did that, I would be no better than Arnold Yondo. Stealing is stealing.
I glance around the deserted block, but no one is out on this cold, rainy night, and I reach down to unlock the driver’s door when something about the sweater catches my eye. I lean closer, squinting through the rain-washed window until I am sure I see a tiny tear in the waistband, and my eyes grow wide. My sweater had a small tear in that exact same spot. What a coincidence to find a sweater so much like the one that vanished along with Jason, lying in the first car I have been assigned to repossess.
It all hits home, and my stomach lurches at the exact moment the light of the house snaps on. The front door bangs open, and a tall, broad-shouldered figure appears on the porch, holding something. I squint through the rain and realize with a start it is a gun.
“Who the fuck is that?” the rugged, familiar voice snaps. “Get the fuck away from my car, asshole, or I’ll fuckin’ drop you right there.”