"I hope you get your car back and that it's in good shape if you do," she said toward the end of our conversation.
"Out of curiosity," I asked, "what're the chances of that happening?"
"In all the time I've been here," she replied, "I've seen it happen once."
I didn't ask how long she'd been there. I was hoping she started the job that morning.
I had a friend drop me off at my wife's workplace to pick up our other car. I spent the rest of the day driving around looking for our stolen car. I saw it everywhere. But it was never quite it. It wasn't the right color. Or it didn't have Mardi Gras beads hanging from the rearview mirror. Or it didn't have a little love-tap dent toward the back on the passenger side.
The following afternoon, as I grieved alone in our big, empty house with no cool, dark-green convertible parked in front of it - my wife was with friends, our son was, too - the phone rang.
"Mr. Shahin?" the voice on the other end said, mispronouncing my name.
"This is Officer McDougle." (His name wasn't really McDougle. I've just given him a pseudonym so I can misquote him.) "Do you own a 1996 Chrysler Sebring convertible?"
"Yes," I replied hesitantly.
"I'm not really a car guy," I finally answered. "Maybe it has LoJack. I don't know." I didn't want to chance that I wouldn't get the car back if I didn't know the right answer. Plus, I really had no idea what LoJack was. I thought maybe it structurally altered my car, jacking it up like those '70s muscle cars or bringing it down like a lowrider.