I do not drive a derby car. I am not a member of a motorcycle gang. And yet, this morning after happily skipping to my Toyota 4runner, the sun already high and bouncing off the ol’girls black hood and freckling my skin, I turned the key in the ignition and was startled by the rumbling grumbling loud gurgling noise that spout out in force. It roared like a lion.  It chortled like some massive hyena.

In a panic, I shut my car off. My eyes wide. My nose twitching. My ears still reverberating from that great growl of my engine.  What the fuck was that?

In his gallant steed (his Rubicon), Derek arrived to save me; to conquer this beast that my sweet car had grown to be overnight.  He tossed me his keys (and a kiss) and sent me on my way. He would stay and fight this fight.

Hours later and on the other side of town, as I sat reading monster stories to two less furry monsters, I was told that he had diagnosed the problem: In the night, as I lay dreaming, some asshole took a sawzall to the underbelly of my Runner and hijacked the catalytic converter and two feet of my exhaust.

Five hundred dollars later, my car will be restored but my security isn’t quite such an easy fix. I’m scouring the neighborhood looking for other 4Runners that someone may be working on. Do I trust my car on the street? Or even in my driveway? But more than that, it has me questioning humanity. What kind of rat crawls thru this city, trying to eek out a living off of catalytic converters? What kind of city is this that there is nothing to be done but to put my money down on O’Reily’s countertop and keep my eyes peered for bottom feeders?