This morning we were heading out early to drive to Edmonton to meet up with my parents and brothers for lunch. As we were pulling out of the parking lot we noticed that our Passat was dented and scratched and that our neighbour had apparently run into it when he came home last night (at 5:30 am, only to crank the tunes but that's another story). Brian started banging on the neighbours door but there was no answer.
We knew, based on things we've seen with our neighbours (like the time they needed to borrow our electricity or came to the house so high they wanted to use our phone to call their lost cell phone and then listened intently like somehow it might be in our house) that if we left and tried to follow up later they would have no recollection of hitting our car and that in fact they may even have disappeared entirely. As Brian was knocking he noticed a guy walk out from behind the houses across the street, towards us and then sort of veer off behind our house. He knew right away that this guy probably lived at this house and was likely our culprit, (as opposed to his wife who smiled at the guy in an attempt to distract him from the fact that we were banging on our neighbor's door) so Brian followed him to the back of the house. By the time Brian got around the back the guy had one leg in the basement window and was caught a little off-guard when Brian asked, "Do you live here?" A negative answer would mean he was breaking and entering and admitting that he did indeed live there would necessitate a conversation with Brian...he clearly didn't know what to do. "Uhhh...yah" he said after a long pause. Brian got him to come around the front to inspect the damage and proceeded to ask him what had happened. The exchange was priceless:
Brian: Is this your car?
Guy: No, it's my roomates.
Brian: Where is your roomate? What's his name?
Guy: Uhhh, he's Donnie. He went to Edmonton yesterday afternoon on the bus.
Brian: Okay, so who else lives here?
Guy: Nobody. Just me.
Brian: And you are?
Brian: Okay Clayton. So tell me, were you driving the car?
Clayton: No way man, I can't drive, I have a suspended license. I don't know who drove the car.
Brian: So let me get this straight. You're the only one here but you don't know who drove the car last night?
Clayton: Yah man.
It went on like this for awhile...I left at this point to go and call the police because obviously Clayton (who was still drunk) wasn't going to be very helpful.
The cops showed up and heard the same story Brian had but were a little less patient that we had been. Clayton disappeared in the house at some point and the cops were unable to retrieve him. They banged on the door and called the house. He eventually emerged, shoeless, about 10 minutes later claiming he had fallen asleep. The cops called the registered owners of the vehicle who turned out to be Donnie's parents. They told the cops that they would come and sort it out. We were about to be unwilling witnesses to a white trash reunion.
The parents pulled up at about the same time that Donnie, who supposedly was in Edmonton, appeared from nowhere. They started yelling at the two boys, "Which one of you drove the car" and then to Clayton, "And who the hell are you anyway?! Do you live here!?" Brian and I slowly but steadily backed up into our house, behind the door while this spilled out onto our front lawn. I felt like I was in an episode of Cops and I was waiting for someone to be cuffed and thrown into the cruiser. I didn't have to wait too long.
Before we really knew what was happening Donnie was being patted down and cuffed while Clayton was being given a sobriety test. There was more yelling and then tears. By the time Donnie was taken away the Mom was crying, the sister was crying and Clayton was sitting on the front stoop, head in hands, crying. The parents were throwing garbage out of the car and repossessing it and were yelling about selling the house from underneath them. Donnie was charged with a hit and run (even though the cops were convinced it was Clayton who had been driving) along with who knows what else and it looks like we're getting new neighbours.
What drama! A small dent on our car and a call to the police and this kid's life fell apart in front of our eyes. I felt pretty bad but at the same time I knew there must have been a lot more going on than just a scratched car and a drunken mistake.
It sucks that our car, which we were supposed to sell this week is now going to have to be fixed and could take weeks to sell. But to keep it in perspective...at least we aren't those guys.