Immediately, I knew that Bobby had taken the car. All through his life, he was always taking things that did not belong to him because he needed it at that particular moment. Just a few days earlier, Mom and I had been talking about Bobby and she mentioned one time years ago when she woke up one morning and her car was missing from the driveway because during the night Bobby had taken it to visit his then girlfriend Vivian. I also remembered in October of 1994, while my parents were down in Florida, I had took part in one of those Civil War battlefield tour groups at Gettysburg. The morning after the night I returned home, when I had gotten into my car to drive to work, I noticed that the license plates had been removed from my mom’s car. It seems that while I was away for the weekend, Bobby decided he wanted to go fishing, so he took the plates and put them on a car he was using and proceeded to get into an accident in Wantagh.
I tried to call Bobby, the call went straight into voice mail, whereupon I left an angry message. Based on his past behavior, and the fact I had not heard from him since I spoke to him on my cell phone at 8:30 the night before, I decided to call the police. He did not have a driver’s license and he had no authorization to drive mom’s car. If he were to get into an accident with the car, it could create a bad situation for my mom. But when the police officer arrived and I explained the situation to him, he said there was not much they could do. Since I told him that my mom was in the hospital and incoherent, she was not in any position to say that Bobby was not allowed to use the car. He said he would drive past a few bars in the Hicksville/Levittown area and speak to Bobby if he found the car. By this time I was really riled up and decided to drive around a few of the bars he had frequented in the past. My search turned up nothing and after making one last drive by mom’s place to see if the car had been returned, I drove home.
All the time I had been thinking about where he might have gone with the car and what he might be doing. A bad thought occurred to me. Earlier in the week, a notice for Bobby from the Nassau County Family Court had been mailed to my house. I brought it to him on Christmas Day and after he read it, he told me that it was not good news. Apparently Chris had filed a petition claiming Bobby was not making his child support payments. I did not know if Bobby knew where Chris lived in the Poconos, but I had this terrible thought that if he did know where she was, perhaps he might have gone there to confront her about the petition she filed. I tried calling the numbers for her in my mom’s phonebook, but one number was disconnected and the other rang and rang without anyone picking up. I recalled scenes from countless movies where the police or a loved one tries to call a possible victim to warn her that the killer might be coming after her, and as the phone rings, the camera cuts to her apartment and as it pans across the room you see blood spattered walls and a body sprawled on the floor while the phone continues to ring.
The next morning I spoke to my uncle about the situation, and he reminded me that I had a Power of Attorney enabling me to act on mom’s behalf in the event that she was incapacitated. I fished it out of her accordion file and called the 8th Precinct again. This time, after meeting with another police officer, I was successful in getting a report filed. I also called mom’s car insurance policy to report the incident so that in the event there was an accident, mom would not be held liable. Between the fatigue and the stress, I was in a very frazzled state and thought I was going to be sick.
Around 1 p.m., after dropping my wife off at the train station to go to work, I drove with my kids to the hospital, My cousin Dawn and her husband Mike, who had gotten married just a couple of weeks earlier, where there. Before arriving at the hospital, Dawn and Mike had gone to mom’s place to change the locks on her door in the event that Bobby had the keys to her apartment. A few minutes after I arrived, the hospital staff had to perform some procedure on my mom, so we all went down to the lobby area to hang out until it was okay to go back up to mom’s room. No sooner had we gathered there then guess who walks in?
“Where the hell have you been?” I asked Bobby sternly. Bobby got all defensive and told us that his cell phone had died out Friday night. Michael offered to take my kids to a nearby McDonald’s while Dawn and I went outside with Bobby and unleashed a double canister on him. He said that he had spent Friday night at the place of some woman in Queens he used to go out with. I asked him why he did not try to call me using her phone, and he claimed he did not have my phone number memorized. (As an aside, while I will not repeat my phone number here, it is one of the easiest phone numbers to remember that I know of) He argued that since mom seemed fine that Friday morning before he left for work, and the fact that I told him Friday night that I was going to see her, he did not see what the big deal was. When I chastised him about the car, he conceded that he should not have taken it, but that when he went to mom’s place after getting off work the day before, the door was locked and he did not know how to get in touch with me. I found this hard to believe given that my house was only a couple of miles up the road and all he had to do was park the car in front of my house and wait for us to return. When I asked him how he got hold of mom’s car keys if he was locked out of the house, he told me that he had gotten mom’s mail Thursday night and had forgotten to take the keys out of his pocket. The mail box key was on the key ring but not the house key.
One of the things you have to understand about Bobby is that he has this way of arguing that makes him out to be the victim in just about any situation. If he had excelled in academics and gone to law school, he would have made a hell of a trial defense attorney. No matter what I said, it just did not seem to sink into him that what he had done was wrong. In a broke and homeless state, my mom had taken Bobby in to give him a chance to recover his strength and be able to save up some money to afford an apartment of his own. The pneumonia that struck my mom down she in all likelihood had caught from him. With mom being very sick not only from pneumonia, but also having limited mobility from a fall, Bobby’s priority that Friday night was not to be there to help take care of her but rather to get laid. When I had spoken to him that Friday night before his phone battery died out, he never said a word to me about not spending the night at mom’s place. He had so many options he could have taken to avoid the mess that ensued. He could have written down my phone number so that he could call me, knowing that his cell phone battery would soon fail. He could have asked this woman with whom he intended to stay the night to make a drive by mom’s place to make sure she was alright before committing to spend the night. He could have left a written note in my mail box about taking the car so at least I knew what was going on. Instead, by being conveniently unreachable, he left me with no option but to assume a worst case scenario.
I took the keys to mom’s car from him and told him that he would not be allowed to stay at mom’s place anymore. He vehemently protested and argued that mom had said he could stay there until the 15th when he planned to move into a room he was intending to rent. I told him that was out of the question, because if mom was in a lucid frame of mind, she would have been very angry with him because of his taking of her car without permission, and that what he had done was a betrayal of trust. I then said that I had to go to the 8th Precinct to have the charges against him dismissed, as the detective told me over the phone that the charges could only be dropped in person. Dawn said that she was going to meet up with Michael and my kids, leaving Bobby alone at the hospital. When I sat down in mom’s car, there was a rectangular white box on the passenger seat containing a Marine hunting knife. Visions of Chris’s blood spattered apartment briefly returned to me, but I had spoken to my brother John earlier that day and he had heard from his ex-wife Lisa (that’s a whole other story by the way, but one not nearly as interesting) that Chris had gotten evicted from the apartment she was staying on Friday.
After taking care of business at the 8th Precinct, I drove to the McDonald’s to meet with Dawn, Michael and the kids. They kindly offered to watch my kids at my house while I went back to the hospital for a decisive encounter that I was too exhausted to want to face but which I knew could not be avoided. Little did I realize that Bobby had one more card up his sleeve.
(Coming soon... Part 7 and The Conclusion)