Step back with me, Reader, to an evening long ago. Long ago on the streets of Arlington, Virginia, in a Taco Bell parking lot across the street from the inexplicably-devoid-of-parking Washington Post.com building.
For it was here that my sister Hannah, her husband Joe and I encountered a force of such pure and unrelenting evil, such depravity and general lowlifeyness, that it can hardly be believed without being seen.
It was late at night. Few, if any, were at the Taco Bell. And we parked there to cross the street and go up to the tenth floor of the WaPo.com building, where Joe worked at the time. We ascended to those lofty heights, stepped out onto the balcony and surveyed the darkened streets below us.
And Joe said, "Wait a minute. Where the hell is my car?"
We rushed down the hallway, down the elevator, out of the building, across the street to find Joe’s car was, indeed, gone… and there was a large, ugly tow truck, manned by two small, ugly men, chaining up another car with a remarkable lack of grace.
"Did you guys take my car?" Joe asked.
"Hell yeah, we did, and it was a f**kin’ piece of shit, too," responded one of the fellows. And the conversation rapidly went downhill from there.
It was an encounter altogether so strange that I’m not sure of the accuracy of my memories of it. I remember Joe and the tow truck driver very nearly coming to blows a couple of times… the tow truck pulling away with the inexpertly loaded car falling off of it… the police being called and the officer very sympathetically telling us he knew all about this tow truck outfit (Frank’s Towing, owned, oddly enough, by a man named George) and that unfortunately, there was nothing he could do… a long, nightmarish ride through the slummier bits of Arlington with a cab driver who had no idea where he was going and kept giggling inappropriately… and Joe and the tow truck drivers nearly coming to blows again when we entered the office where they sat behind a fat chunk of bulletproof glass and they greeted us with "Look, it’s that asshole and his two little bitches again."
When we got home, we did a little Googling and a little Lexis-Nexising (hooray for journalistic privilege!) and discovered that Frank’s Towing had a long and inglorious history of overcharging (they charged us $30 more for towing than the legal limit), lying in wait for people to leave their cars and then swooping in and grabbing them, abusive behavior toward unwilling "clients" and the like.
I have seldom been so angry in my life. I have never seen my sister so angry in her life, nor Joe. And every time that horrible night has come up in conversation since then, one of that normally peace-loving duo has suggested sending Frank’s Towing a mail bomb or lying in wait for the drivers with machine guns or something like that.
So imagine the delight we shared this morning when Joe passed along a link to this Washington Post story:
Towing Company Owner Accused of Tax Fraud
Arlington Arrest Follows Numerous Complaints of Overcharging
In the immortal words of John Lennon: "Karma’s gonna get you, if [Joe] don’t get you first."