No Parking

It was near midnight when HW and I heard the crash. I leapt out of bed, lowered the shade, peered out the window. “Damn, would you look at that, there’s a car in our backyard!” It’s July, midnight, so not totally dark. Even through our bedroom window (closed) I hear loud voices, sounds like people arguing. I lower the shade some more, get a better look. Shit, an eight foot section of wood fence (one of four destroyed) is jacked up in the air, over the hood of the car. The Mountain Ash tree is down (sorry Mom & Dad).

I throw on a pair of shorts and run downstairs, cell phone in hand. HW follows, frantic and pissed, with Black Dog in tow, visibly unsettled. At the base of the stairs, through the frosted glass on the front door I make out what I think is a human form turning to retreat down the porch steps. I find APD (Anchorage Police Department) in my contacts and touch “Call.” (Wait, maybe instead I should phone a community sympathizer expert in conflict resolution? Nah). Then I’m out the back door into the yard. The grass is chilly on my bare feet. I’m bare chested. The lawn is strewn with pieces of fence and car parts (a Chevy Cruze it turns out). I step carefully to avoid the debris, especially rusted wood screws. A Pacific Asian man (as I described him to the APD officer who eventually showed up an hour later ) appears. He sees I’m on the phone, appears to panic, gets in the car, starts it, puts it in reverse and tries to back away. The rear tires spin and squeal on the pedestrian path. No go, ain’t happening, the car is dead stuck, high-centered on the Mountain Ash, the right A-arm is bent, the hood is taco’d, windshield smashed. Suddenly, an overweight woman appears on the path, frantically waving a cellphone and shouting, “There was a dog…in the street… I didn’t want to hit it!” Granted, I was a bit groggy, but that pegged my bullshit meter.

I look at them both, they’re standing together on the path, maybe six feet from me. (And no masks – what’s wrong with these people!). I ask the man, “Can you tell me the license plate number, it’s bent, I can’t make it out, I have APD on the phone.” This last seems to alarm them. Poof, off they go, west, hurriedly down the path. That was last I saw of them. Our neighbor also heard the crash. He later told me he briefly spoke with the woman as she and the man walked staggered past his house. “Rod,” he said, “She was drunk, slurring her words.”

It was later, around 3:30 am, nearly dawn, HW and I are back in bed, Black Dog is resettled on the floor, when we hear the tow truck arrive – Beep Beep Beep – and then the twisting, crunching, moaning of the fence as it collapses around the car being dragged away. A half hour passes, there’s a knock at the front door. I jump up from bed again, HW restless next to to me. I throw on shorts and a sweatshirt, hobble downstairs. It’s the APD officer, she hands me a card with a case number printed on it, we exchange questions and answers. She asks me to reconfirm the description of the perps. I do. She confirms they haven’t been found (yet), but if/when they are, there will be criminal charges for fleeing the scene of an accident. She shares the name of the car owner, tells me he lives on the Kenai peninsula, 150+ miles from Anchorage.

Took all day Friday to clean up the mess and erect a temporary solution to keep Black Dog in – and the moose out of – the backyard. HW spotted a Mountain Ash she liked at the nursery. Estimates on fence repair are a week out at the two contractors I called. Summer’s a busy time for them. I’d repair it myself but figure the party liable for the damage will pay (Ha!), so may as well have it done quickly by the pros. What a fiasco.