I’d debated not answering the phone given the caller ID had simply read, Incoming; but my curiosity got the best of me.
His introduction settled the telemarketer question.
“Is your husband James Martina?”
“Is my husband okay?” I queried, my thoughts wild with dread.
“Your husband . . . driving . . . Route 59 . . . “
I'd caught bits and pieces of the officer's statement as I'd struggled to connect the dreaded dots.
Okay, the picture was coming into focus.
“Ma-am, a Best Buy employee reported witnessing your husband dumping a television on their premises. Best Buy no longer accepts televisions for recycling.”
Jim had headed out 30 minutes earlier with the old CRT monster that had been living in the basement for the last 20 years, long before LED had revolutionized the world of television. We’d decided to kick said monster to the curb, only the trash man wouldn’t take it; Goodwill said no thanks; the local recycling center, a no-go. And now, apparently, Best Buy wouldn’t take the 50-pound ball-and-chain either.
“How did you get this number?” I asked with a mixture of curiosity and audacity.
I was obviously feeling a bit like Bonnie to my Clyde.
“I ran your plates, ma-am.”
Damn those plates! Damn Best Buy! Damn that television!
“My husband isn’t home, officer,” I said. “Would you like his cell number?”
So much for a life of crime! Just like that, I’d caved! I should have pleaded the 5th, invoked spousal privilege, done something, anything, gone rogue like my Jimmy.
Jimmy swung back by Best Buy at the request of the Aurora police, reloaded the television into the back of my car (officer and Best Buy employee watched without lifting a finger to help Jimmy load the 50-pound ball-and-chain) and then returned home.
He did confess to giving both officer and employee a piece of his mind. As if my Jimmy has any pieces to spare! That’s reported with much love.
“They should have a big sign up,” Jimmy protested as he shared the details of his saga.
"A sign?" I'd echoed, smiling ever so slightly.
This was sounding more and more like a Seinfield episode. I waited for more details.
“Yeah, a sign that says, ‘Best Buy NO LONGER takes old televisions for recycling!’"
Jimmy waved his arms wide over his head to emphasize the size of the sign required to convey the company's new position with regard to recycling.
"That would make sense," I replied, stifling a giggle.
"That kid, the employee, watched me unload the television outside the back of the building and didn’t say a word until I was ready to leave. And then he had the nerve to say, 'Sir, we don't take old TVs anymore.'"
Jimmy had returned my smile, seemingly reveling in the retelling.
"Really?" I offered, my eyes growing wide.
“Then why did you watch me unload this one and not say a word?” Jimmy reported firing back before he'd also reported closing the trunk and moving to get into the car.
More emphatic arm movements from Jimmy.
“Sir, you can’t just drive off and leave that TV here,” Jimmy mimicked, enjoying his leading role in the re-enactment.
“Watch me!” Jimmy had admitted firing back, before driving off.
"Well, then," I said. "I guess you showed him."
Silence. We were both exhausted from the re-enactment, Jimmy especially exhausted from lugging around a 50-pound ball-and-chain all afternoon.
"I'll look online later and see if I can find somebody who'll take the TV," Jimmy added a minute or two later.
"Good idea," I chimed, returning my husband's spent smile.
I accompanied Jimmy earlier today on a drive north to AVA Recycling in Glendale Heights. We finally said good riddance to our ball-and-chain. What's $30 when it comes to closure, not to mention peace of mind; undoubtedly, much less than the cost of bail.