I was in a hurry. I’m always in a hurry. I pulled into the lot at the Blockbusters, the movie City of Ember on my mind. I put the car in park, pulled on the emergency break, left the key in the ignition, the car still running and exited. I remembered to lock the door.
I didn’t realize what I’d done, my mind was still on City of Ember, but a few minutes later when I returned to the car, the unpleasant reality also arrived.
It was bad on so many levels. What kind of idiot locks his keys in the car and with the car running. This is going to cost me: time, money and embarrassment. I’d won the trifecta.
I called my father, maybe he had a key. But no, he thought he had one but couldn’t find it. “Call a locksmith,” he said.
“I could,” I said, “but that would be expensive.”
“See that cop in the parking lot? He’ll help you.”
“What cop,” I said. “There’s no cop in the parking lot.”
“Then it’s the locksmith,” he said.
“I could break out a small window,” I said. That would be fast, he agreed, but then the time and expense of fixing it will remind you that it was a stupid idea.
“No cop, huh,” he said, and hung up.
I was thinking there was no good solution and then – I walked straight to the phone booth and dialed the local police station. “Hi, I’m at 7th East and 21st South and there is a man looks like he’s trying to break into a car in the Blockbusters’ parking lot.”
I hung up as the dispatcher said, “And your name, sir.”
A few minutes later a patrol car pulled into the lot and an officer approached. “Could I see some identification,” he said? I showed him my driver’s license. “What’s the problem?” he said.
“I locked my keys in the car with the engine running. Pretty dumb, I know.”
“Maybe I can help,” he said. He retrieved some tools from the patrol car and a few minutes later he had it open.
“Thanks,” I said, “lucky you came by.”
“No luck at all,” he said. “We had a call from someone who said he thought a man might be breaking into a car.”
“Really,” I said.
“Yes,” he said, “quite a coincidence isn’t it?” “You lock your keys in your car and we get an anonymous call of a possible crime.”
“Yes, a coincidence” I said.