Prefatory note: The following is part 2 in the latest series of Sheriff Roy stories. For Part 1, please see “A Car Story.”—CLS They/Them
Sheriff Roy dialed a number for Kollision King in Dismal Seepage, Arkansas. It was a phone tree, which the Sheriff despised greatly. After punching a few numbers in and listening to a couple of menus, a woman with a slightly nasal tone to her voice reminiscent of Fran Drescher* answered.
“Kollision King, where your Car reigns supreme. How can I help you?”
“I’m calling about getting my wife’s hood latch fixed.”
“Okay, we can help with that. What’s your name, sir?”
“Roy Templeton.” The Sheriff opted to not include his designation as the top cop of Mud Lick, Alabama as he didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes.
“Okay, Roy. When did the accident occur that broke the hood latch?”
Sheriff Roy was confused. “Do what now? There was no accident. I took my wife’s car in for service and the guys at the garage said the hood latch was broken. It needs to be fixed by a body shop, they said.”
“Okay, do we have any idea how the hood latch broke then?”
“No idea at all.”
“Okay, well, we’re going to need to do an estimate before we can do anything repair related. Can you have the vehicle to our shop in Dismal Seepage tomorrow morning by 9 am?”
Sheriff Roy checked his schedule. It was a Saturday, and a rare day off for the lawman.
“I can certainly do that. What’s the cost?”
“No cost for the estimate. We have to do that before we can order parts though.”
“Seems reasonable. Anything else I need to know?”
“We’ll have the estimate to you Monday morning. That should be it.”
“Very good then. Thank you.”
“Have a pleasant day, Mr. Roy!” The Fran Drescher receptionist hung up after that.
Sheriff Roy resolved to show that woman clips from “The Nanny” on his smartphone if he ever met her.
Saturday came and Sheriff Roy drove to Kollision King’s “Kollison Kare Katch” in Dismal Seepage.
This body shop looked like none the Sheriff had ever seen. It was a renovated Motel 6. The waiting area was formerly the lobby area and part of the rooms had been cleared away for the service bays.
Most concerning to Sheriff Roy, however, was that no one seemed to be present for his 9 am estimate appointment. The lobby was dark, no one appeared to be in the service bays, and no doors were open.
Sheriff Roy thought of calling the number and seeing if the receptionist was still around to talk to about this when a voice from behind him said “Hey man, you need some help?”
The good Sheriff nearly jumped out of his skin as he was dead sure no one had been there five seconds previously. Spinning around he saw a young bespectacled man with wild black hair in a blue Kollision King polo shirt, khaki pants and sneakers.
No one had snuck up on Sheriff Roy ever before like that.
“I’m here for my 9 am estimate,” Sheriff Roy said to the young man.
The young man tapped a few buttons on his smartphone. “Roy Templeton? I’m Will Roberts. Pleasure to meet you.” He extended his hand to Sheriff Roy who shook it.
“I’m going to give your car a look over and take some pictures then we’ll send you on your way, okay?” the young man told Sheriff Roy.
“Fine, let’s get on with it then.”
The young man began snapping photos of every inch of Arlene’s red SUV.
Everything was photographed but the hood latch.
“Is all this really necessary?” the Sheriff asked. “All this for a hood latch?”
“Well, we need to make sure we get an accurate representation of what the vehicle looks like before repairs are done on the areas affected by a collision.”
Sheriff Roy swore loudly using a word we will not repeat here because this is a family blawg. It startled young Will Roberts, who nearly jumped out of his own skin at the expletive’s utterance.
“Is there a problem sir?”
“Yes there’s a damn problem. There’s been no collision. I took my wife’s car into a local garage to get the oil changed and tires rotated. When I couldn’t pop the hood, the garage guys told me the hood latch was broken and the grill on my wife’s SUV here wouldn’t let them bypass it. Said they’d need to probably remove the front bumper. That’s why I’m here. Not because of some collision.”
“My apologies sir. Let me check my notes.” Will tapped a few times on his smartphone and seemed to get a little color in his cheeks. He showed Sheriff Roy the display and said “My apologies sir, it seems like my receptionist just marked “Basic collision estimate” for my notes. May I please see the hood latch area?”
Sheriff Roy obliged the young man, who took pictures inside and out of the hood and latch.
“Okay Mr. Roy, we’ll see you out now. You be safe, and we’ll contact you Monday about the cost for the hood latch repair, all right?”
“Thank you kindly.” Sheriff Roy couldn’t wait to get out of there. He drove Arlene’s SUV back home and swore he would never deal with any of these people again if he could help it.
Monday came and no one from Kollision King called. Sheriff Roy, not one to allow others to waste his time, called back.
“Sorry, Mr. Roy,” the Fran Drescher sounding receptionist said, “We’ve been really busy today but I’ve got your total estimated costs here. Per our estimate, if insurance covers this your total cost for just the hood latch comes to $188.07 for parts and labor.”
“If insurance covers it?” Sheriff Roy asks.
“That’s if the actual problem really was just the hood latch.”
Sheriff Roy felt his fists involuntarily clench. He asked the receptionist to hold, then he muted his cell phone. When he was sure no one was listening, he swore loudly using a word we will not mention because this is a family blawg.
What I will say, dear readers, is Roy Junior asked his teacher what that word meant the next day at school and earned three weeks’ detention for it.
“There’s no doubt it was the hood latch,” Sheriff Roy said when he unmuted the phone. “I saw the issue and I saw the diagnosis. It’s the damn hood latch. Can we please order the parts so this can be fixed quickly? Please?”
“Yessir Mr. Roy. Not a problem. Please let me take a moment to pull up our payment processing software and we’ll take a major credit card today.”
Sheriff Roy, after thinking about it, used his Hull Express Card to pay for the parts. It was the best idea he had at the moment.
“You’ve got an emailed receipt coming your way Mr. Roy. We’ll call when the parts are in. Thank you!”
The good Sheriff hung up and swore one more time loudly.
Two days later Arlene came to the station in tears. She’d taken Roy Junior to school and upon returning home her beloved red SUV made an angry noise pulling into their driveway. When Arlene tried to park, the dashboard’s lights all lit up, the engine made a “WHUNK” noise, and Arlene smelled smoke so she promptly shut off the engine.
After giving Arlene a hug and telling her it would be okay, Sheriff Roy called Garage 66 and had the SUV towed to a dealership in Mobile.
Sheriff Roy was done with locals.
It was time, he thought, someone who knew what they were doing handled this.
TO BE CONTINUED…
*Dear readers, if you don’t know what Fran Drescher’s voice sounds like go watch some clips from a show called “The Nanny” on YouTube. The things I do for you.—CLS