Inga-Lill Bengtsson: ”Glance out at the parking space. No car”
Bettan, a Toyota Corolla -99, is a faithful servant. She has never complained, despite damage from collisions and dents in the roof. Damage caused by her owner.
But it came as a surprise that she should disappear.
”This has been an exciting call, says the woman on the phone”Inga-Lill Bengtsson
It was a long day at work in May. Along with my faithful colleague Sofyan Aswad I struggled with texts, just a few days until deadline. We took it in turns to go out every two hours and change the p-discs in our cars.
At half past five my colleague went off to the gym. An hour later I started to look for my car keys. They're in the car, I thought, I who never lock the car – the locks on the doors don't work.
Glance out at the parking space. No car. Ask some lads standing at the entrance to the shopping centre at Gamlegården if they've seen my car.
– Is it insured? they ask.
– What kind of car is it?
– How much is it worth?
I dial 11414 , must try to find Bettan.
”In my mind's eye I can see Bettan on her way to Denmark, or in flames on some industrial estate”Inga-Lill Bengtson
The woman who answers from the police is patient. She has difficulty in registering the address.
– I'm speaking to some boys here. They're very sympathetic, I explain to the woman at the other end of the line.
– Sympathetic, what's that? one of the boys asks.
– You're demented, I think, says another, and goes on:
– I learnt that today. We read about it in school.
Suddenly a silver-grey car appears on Bataljonsvägen.
– My car, I yell to the boys and the woman on the phone.
– After it! Has anyone got a bike?
I run, with my phone pressed to my ear, the boys follow on.
The car turns north, out on to Näsbychausséen. And vanishes.
– This has been an exciting call, says the woman on the phone before ringing off.
Sofyan calls from the gym, and promises to come as soon as he can.
– Here's a car you can buy, I can fix it, he says, and shows me on his phone.
I think we should try to find Bettan first.
”No hash, I say, in an attempt to be funny”Inga-Lill Bengtsson
A few hours later I call it a day. In my mind's eye I can see Bettan on her way to Denmark, or in flames on some industrial estate.
In Hanaskog, at ten o'clock at night, I get a call from the police.
– We've found your car, with the keys in it.
When we meet again, Bettan and I, two hefty young policemen are standing close by.
I'm elated, start telling them about the p-disc I changed every two hours – but didn't notice that the keys were in the ignition.
I wait for a dressing-down for being so careless.
But it doesn't come.
– We've searched your car, there's nothing dangerous in it.
– No hash, I say, in an attempt to be funny.
The policemen don't show a flicker of a smile.
The thief didn't have time to go so far, to judge by the petrol-gauge.
Bettan is her usual self again. And she has passed her M.O.T test, with flying colours.