At about 9 a.m., a licensed, bonded, independent repo man by the name of Jack Towaway gets a call from Bucky, the head honcho at Bucky’s Auto Mall.
“Jack,” Bucky says, “I have a job for you. Can you meet in an hour?”
“I’ll be there,” says Jack.
An hour later, Jack arrives at Bucky’s place. Jack tells the receptionist he has an appointment with Bucky. The receptionist punches a few numbers into her phone and says, “Uh huh. Ok. Sure.”
Then, “Bucky will be right with you,” she says.
Jack smiles. And waits. He smiles. And waits some more. He tries flirting with the receptionist. He comments on the weather.
She says, “You can have a seat over there while you’re waiting,” pointing to the customer reception area.
Jack has a seat.
After about 15 minutes of waiting, Bucky comes out and shakes Jack’s hand. “Thanks for coming,” Bucky says. “Come back to my office.”
They retreat to Bucky’s office. Jack sits on the pleather office chair across from Bucky’s desk. Bucky hands Jack a stack of papers.
“We need you to find a car,” says Bucky. “A 2011 GMC Yukon.” He hands a paper to Jack.
“Last known addresses, contact information, work information, vehicle keycode,” says Bucky, referring to the information displayed on the sheet. “He hasn’t made a payment on the vehicle in 4 months. We’ve called a dozen times, even contacted other family members. We’ve gotten nada. No response.”
He pauses. “Want some coffee?”
“Sure,” says Jack.
Jack looks over the paperwork and sees that the last known address is located in one of the worst – worst – neighborhoods in the city. Great, he thinks to himself. Just great.
They shake hands, and Jack retreats back to his house. Once there, he pulls up the address on Google Maps and plots his route to the location. The route confirms his suspicion that this is not going to be an easy job. The last time he entered this neighborhood, about 15 Dobermans that appeared to be foaming at the mouth were guarding the car. And the car was in a caged lot. That way locked. Hopefully, he thinks to himself, this one will go off a little smoother.
Jack decides to take a nap.
A few hours later, he wakes up, eats some dinner, and plays some Xbox. He calls his mom (hoping it’s not a last goodbye), feeds his cat, and watches some TV.
He sets his iPhone alarm for 3 a.m., then, around 10 p.m., goes to bed.
The alarm wakes Jack up at 3. He struggles to get out of bed. He’s groggy. Seriously, who sets their alarm for 3 a.m.? Oh yeah, repo men do.
He gets dressed and stops at the local gas station to fill his tow truck. He makes the half-hour trek to the bad neighborhood to find the vehicle. It shouldn’t be too hard to spot; it’s a nice-sized SUV.
He drives around the neighborhood and finds the address. It’s a beaten-down townhouse. The Yukon is nowhere to be found. He circles around the block.
He drives up a side street.
Then, Jack notices an alleyway behind the townhouse. Dimly lit would be an overstatement. It’s pitch black, save for the small illumination coming from a few houselights.
He takes a deep breath and cruises down the alleyway. Almost immediately, he spots the Yukon. He backs out of the alleyway, turns the truck around, and backs up to the Yukon.
Jack’s heart starts to race. He looks around and doesn’t see anyone behind him. He checks his mirrors. He still doesn’t see anyone. He takes the safety off of his gun and puts it back in its holster. He gets out of the truck.
As quickly as humanly possible, he hooks the Yukon up to the tow truck. He’s about to get back in the truck when he hears footsteps.
“What do you think you’re doing?” a gruff voice asks.
“Listen, man. I’m not hear to cause trouble,” says Jack. The man’s chest is equal to Jack’s eye level. “The payments haven’t been made on this car in nearly 5 months, and it has to be brought back to its owner.”
“I’m the owner,” says the man.
“Well, the bank says otherwise,” Jack says. His heart is thumping out of his chest. “I gotta do it, man. Sorry.”
Jack jumps in the truck and turns the lights on. He locks the doors. He hears the man yelling, “Come on, man! I need that truck! Come on! I gotta use that truck for work, man!”
Jack mouths “Sorry” and starts to move the truck forward. The man is standing in the middle of the alleyway.
Jack is expecting to be shot at, or worse. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time.
Jack revs the engine. The man, a look of resignation on his face, actually steps aside.
Jack pulls out of the alley, turns left, and speeds out of the neighborhood. About 10 minutes later, he starts to breathe again.
He looks at the clock on the dashboard. It’s 4:30 a.m. He can’t return the Yukon to the dealership until they open at 7. Now that the stress has left his body, he realizes he’s hungry.
He heads his favorite diner on his side of town and enjoys a leisurely breakfast. Around 6 a.m., he heads back to his truck. He drives to the dealership and waits for it to open.
At 7:04, he sees Bucky’s car entering the lot. He waves and rolls down his window.
“I have your delivery,” Jack calls.
“Excellent work, Jack,” says Bucky. “Check’ll be in the mail.”
Jack gets out of his tow truck, they shake hands, go over the necessary paperwork, and Jack heads home, waiting for the next call to come in.