Betty has this 11-year old Camry that is in hot demand. I should actually say had, because in about half an hour, Betty will have sold her car to a man named Bob.
A few months ago, when she had a garage sale, this man named Bob turned up and said, "Hey, are you selling your car?"
It turned out she was, or anyway, would be when she moved in with us.
And after that happened, several other people asked her about her car. People left notes on it. The woman who coordinated the clean-out crew offered to buy it. There was this sudden and odd interest in this decade-plus car with a scratched and dented bumper but new air conditioning.
OK. So last week, with a lot of help from professionals and dear friends, we got Betty moved over. The house closed yesterday. Only the car remained to be sold.
The transaction was going to happen Thursday or Friday.
Now, through conversations with my mother, it became clear that Bob had asked if he could keep the plates for a couple days after buying it, just to have time to get new ones. Which was cool with Betty. Not so cool with the law. Or Nick.
Nick suggested that she sell it Saturday, when he could go with her, just to make sure that everything went as it should. She gratefully agreed.
So Thursday, when I asked if she had organized everything with Bob, she said, "I don't have his number."
"What do you mean, you don't have his number?"
"Well, it was on a little piece of paper stuck to a shelf in Dad's office. Maybe it got packed."
Uh, maybe. Or thrown away.
"Mom. Does Bob have your cell number?"
"I don't think so. He always calls the home number."
The one that was disconnected on Friday.
Also, it turns out that Betty has, very cheerfully, been giving out the wrong cell phone number. It's only one number off, but you know how one number can make a big difference when you're talking phone numbers?
There was no way to get in touch with Bob. And Betty had his $50 deposit on the car, so she couldn't turn around and sell it to someone else.
Last night, Betty remembered his last name. It's not Jones, but it might as well be. We began calling the Bob Joneses around her area.
I'm not kidding you. There are a lot of Robert Joneses in Northern Virginia.
We didn't find him. We did, however, speak to a Bob Jones who expressed interest in the car.
So our plan was such. We were going to park the car in front of the house of her old neighbors, who are very dear friends. We were going to leave a note in the window saying: BOB PLEASE CALL BETTY and giving her phone number.
Because of course we didn't want Bob to think that Betty had made off with his money. Plus we needed to unload the car.
And then today, today Bob called. There was much rejoicing. We didn't tell him we'd been trolling the area for Bob Joneses.
With any luck, they'll be back in a couple hours with a wad of cash and no car.