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  • Writer's pictureErin Maher

"Only you can beat your Property": A Dramedy in Three Parts

This story has everything: me, a Honda sedan, and wild suspense.

In the criminal justice system,

sexually based offenses are considered especially heinous.

In Westchester County,

these crimes are exceptionally weird.

Here is one of their stories.

(Make sure your sound is ON for the FULL Law & Order inspired experience. This is a mandate. To begin, hit the orange circle with the white arrow below.)

Scene I

At 3:40 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon, I was sitting and stewing in my mid-workweek doldrums. Only 20 minutes ‘til I clocked out and was freed from the shackles of public service and, more importantly, the stifling confines of a fully lined and wired bra.

It was at that very moment while I imagined my bosom buddies and I just hanging free in the winds of liberation that my phone rang. It was the man, the myth, the tennis legend, my dad and yours too, Mr. Maher.

Getting a call from my dad while I was at work meant one of two things. First, it meant that he didn’t know the Wi-Fi password. The second reason could be that there was something amiss.

I answered the call to a flustered Mr. Maher, who said, “I just got a call from the police department.”

I conducted an internal audit and determined that thanks to the pandemic and subsequent quarantine, that there was a 99.7% chance that the police weren’t calling him about any illegal shenanigans of my own doing.

Turns out, my car, my pride, my joy, my sweet certified pre-owned 2015 navy blue Honda Accord LX, that I’ve lovingly named Bluebell, had been accosted. The police told my father that my car had been hit while parked in the municipal lot across the street from my job. She was hit by a man, who, according to police, was under the influence. On a Wednesday afternoon, in broad daylight. It's been a tough year, no judgement.

Bluebell was driveable, and the detective who called my dad said he left his card on my car if I wanted to press charges.

I felt a rush of emotions: denial (ugh, not MY car), anger (thou doesn’t know rage quite like a redhead), bargaining (if Bluebell is in bad condition and MUST be fixed, can I at least get a Jeep from the rental place in the interim?), depression (2020 really do be like that though), and finally, acceptance (okay, let’s go see how bad my baby’s been injured).

It was 4 p.m., and I set out to see what happened to my ride.


Scene II

My breath quickened with each step closer to my car. Finally, I stood at the edge of the lot, ready to meet my fate. I took a step and saw the front looked...fine. Another broken mirror or smashed glass...Finally, I walked right up to Bluebell. And the damage was...unnoticeable?!

Very confused, I did a lap around my car. And another. Bluebell didn’t look beaten, battered, or bruised. Dare I say, she looked good.

I ripped the police card from the clutches of my windshield wipers. On it was the phone number and name of a police officer. I went and sat in the car to dial the officer. As the phone rang, I looked at the card. The officer had an Irish last name, so from that moment on, I just assumed we were cousins, and for the rest of this story, we will refer to him as “Officer Cousin.”

Officer Cousin answered the phone, and I introduced myself as “Erin, the girl whose car got hit.” Make sure to put that in my obituary. He asked for my contact information:

Officer Cousin: Date of birth?

Me: August XX, XXXX

Officer Cousin: Oh oh oh! That’s a good time of year! My birthday is two days before yours!

Me: Oh, hey, Leo gang!

Officer Cousin: *chuckles and then clears throat* So, do you want to press charges?

Me: Uh, I still don’t understand…? My car looks fine. Did it get hit?

Officer Cousin: Yea, so. A guy smoked - he got real real high on something and was hitting your car.

Me: Hitting my car…? *light bulb goes on in my brain* Wait. With his hands?

Officer Cousin: Yes, exactly. He just went to town on it. Really beat it up.


Officer Cousin: So listen, if you want to press charges, just come down to the station, and it’s easy. You just literally sign a piece of paper that says, “The Perpetrator is not allowed to beat your car.”

‘Cause here’s the thing. Only you can beat your property. He can’t.

Me: Okay, I’m going to think about it and let you know.

I hung up the phone and proceeded to laugh for the next 12 minutes straight.


Scene III

After calling my parents and explaining the mix-up, we had a good laugh. I decided that since Bluebell was fine, I would walk in the mall to get my steps in and let off all the pent up energy from my day. 

As I strolled through the mall, my phone buzzed. It was another phone number with a 914 area code. 

 "This probably has something to do with today," I thought to myself. I answered the phone, and it was yet ANOTHER police officer from the city. A slow day at the office, I guess. His last name was very similar to a popular pasta brand, so we'll call him "Officer Pasta." 

Officer Pasta: Hello, is this Erin Maher?

Me: Yes.

Officer Pasta: Hello, I'm Officer Pasta. I was on the scene today with your car. I was wondering if you wanted to press charges?

Me: To be honest, it was dark when I looked at my car, so I didn't really see much damage. Can I think about it and let you know?

Officer Pasta: Hmm, let me ask my Lieutenant. *puts me on hold*

 *One minute later*

 Yea, that's fine. But you need to let me know as soon as possible. 

Me: Okay, I'll let you know tomorrow morning when I can see my car in daylight.

Officer Pasta: Okay. 

Me: Officer Pasta, can I ask you, how did you find out my car was getting hit?

Officer Pasta: Yea, well. We got a call that a naked man was beating a car in the garage parking lot. 

Me: OH. 

Officer Pasta: Yea, so a lot of us responded. He's currently at the hospital getting the help he needs.

Me: Okay, I'll call you tomorrow. Thanks. 


After my mall walk, I took Bluebell to my parents house to check her out. Turns out, she did have some damage. My hood and fender were dented, and in total, my car needed $2500 worth of repairs. The next day when I bought Bluebell to the repair shop, I noticed that in the thin layer of dust on my hood was an outline, of which it looked like someone was lying on my car. I'm not sure what body part touched it, nor do I think I want to know.

And yes, for the curious minds asking: I did get a copy of the police report. Yes, I will probably frame it, and you know I'll absolutely be hanging it in my bathroom. According to the police report, the "perp" (hire me, SVU writing team) was high on narcotics, which if you know me, you'd know I'm a VERY big fan of.

Finally, and most excitingly, the report stated that FOUR police officers responded on the scene. To break up a fight between an automobile and a man. And somehow, even though the man was naked, they found an open utility knife on his person. I would surmise that without the ease of pockets, he kept it clenched between his butt cheeks.


Narrator.....Erin Maher

Non-hispanic/Latino Victim.....Erin Maher

Car.....2015 pre-owned Honda Accord LX

Officer Cousin.....Officer Cousin

Officer Pasta....Officer Pasta

Mr. Maher.....Mr. Maher


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