By Tim Mollen
Journal entry: March 21, 2002 (age 32)
If helping someone move is socially challenging for the best of friends, it is colossally awkward for complete strangers. Such was the case a few weeks ago, when two guys from a moving company showed up at our Falls Church, Virginia, apartment to help my wife, Amanda, and me move to my hometown of Binghamton. There wasn’t much time for niceties or bonding. “Hi, how ya doing? Can you grab those 30 boxes of books?”
The ensuing hours of lifting, dragging, hoisting, and herniating did little to build a sense of teamwork amongst our little makeshift crew. And things were about to get much worse. Some weeks before, Amanda and I had made a seemingly brilliant plan for the move. She needed to finish some coursework at a local community college, so she would stay behind for a week at her parents’ house. Then she would drive up to Binghamton in our car. Our only car.
That meant that I would have to make the trip to Binghamton…with the movers. So Amanda, the only one even attempting to be friendly and sociable, left Team Mollen Move. I was forced to climb into the cab of the truck, between my two new best friends, and settle in for the cozy, seven-hour drive. My companions were about as pleased by my presence as I was. The driver didn’t speak, and the other mover spent most of the trip on his cell phone, talking to his two girlfriends. As the trip wore on, it became clear that the two girlfriends lived in the same house, and were mutually unaware of their polygamous situation.
The unpleasant story would have ended there, if it were not for a number of mysterious charges that showed up on Amanda’s next credit card statement. She contacted the bank to cancel the card, and they said that she would not be held responsible for the fraudulent charges. The charges were not large enough to warrant an investigation by the bank, but we were still curious about how this could have happened. We decided to investigate on our own. The Mollen & Mollen Detective Agency was on the case.
We noted that three of the fraudulent debits were made at a Domino’s Pizza in Spotsylvania, Va. At virtually the same moment, we each came up with a farfetched but intriguing thought. That thought was, “I wonder if they were dumb enough to have the pizzas delivered.” A quick call to the Domino’s in question revealed that they were, indeed, that stupid. The address was stored in the store’s computer, and local police quickly made an arrest.
Today, the culprit was identified as none other than my cell phone-addicted buddy from the moving truck. He also was wanted for kidnapping, which makes us feel better about helping to catch him. I just wonder if he knows the mistake that led to his arrest. He may have an inkling, but probably blames it on having ordered too much “Crazy Bread.”