Repo Man Stories II
I got a file to check on the south side of Chicago, a Mercury Marquis I seem to remember, and lo and behold the vehicle was sitting there right on the street in front of the main address, somewhere around Damen and 51st St. (an unusually crappy neighborhood, even for the south side).
There was a good two feet of lake effect snow, covering everything including the car. I brushed away some snow from the corner of the windshield, and yep the VIN matched my file. At this point, some lady across the street starts yelling at me "what are you doing with that car?"
As if it is any of her business.
I grabbed my trusty slimjim, and jimmied my way through the driver's side door. Lots of cars back then were easy to slim into, and Ford products were especially easy. I plunked my butt down in the seat and opened my toolbox. In my awesome tool arsenal I had a Ford force tool. I popped off the butterfly from the ignition, and pounded the force tool onto the ignition with my sledge hammer - a standard sledge hammer with half the handle cut off to make it more maneuverable.
I fit a wrench onto the force tool, cranked it backwards to break those pins in the cylinder, and then cranked the wrench forward. Crunch! The car turned over and started the first time.
Then came some tense maneuvering of the vehicle out of its parking spot, with the door open so I could see. This car was covered in thick, wet snow.
Just as the car was inching out of the spot and onto the street, the putative owner of the vehicle comes running out of the house, in his underwear, like a barefooted athlete through deep snow. The wheels on the car were spinning, but not much was happening . . . the deep unplowed snow was impeding almost all progress.
This guy almost caught up to me (and he was pissed). So here I am, hanging out of the door of the car, steering this boat as it barely pulls away from the screaming, nearly-naked customer.
It was like being in a cartoon.
I must have driven half a mile with that driver's door open, with me hanging out. I drove past not one, but two Chicago police patrol cars along Garfield Boulevard, who seemed nonplussed.
Go see the previous installment of Repo Man Stories.