The Case of the Missing Clunker

Everyone told us we’d never have to worry about our car getting stolen in Palau because, hey, it’s an island! Where are they gonna go with it?

Which is why I was so surprised the other day when Brian called and the following conversation ensued:


“Hey. You’re home, right?”

“Yes…” Koror is a mile and half away, and it’s hot out there–unless I ride in with Brian in the morning, I’m usually home.

“So you didn’t take the car anywhere?”


“That’s what I thought. Well, I’m standing in the road where I parked, and the car is gone.”

Conveniently, the Court Marshals were on the case (who steals a car from the Supreme Court parking lot?), checking their surveillance videos and running the plates of another Honda CRV parked nearby. It’s a common car in Palau, so it would be an easy mistake to walk up to a lookalike. The Marshals recommended Brian try his key in the door. No luck. Besides, the lookalike had black tinted windows and plush seats, and probably a passenger door that opens, and operable shocks, and non-screeching brakes—if a driver somehow missed the great swaths of rust stains on our silver paint job, then surely, he or she would have noticed daylight coming through the windows and a far less cushy ride.*

The Marshals found the owner’s name and number and called him. He’d sold the car a few months ago, he said, and gave them the new owner’s number to try. No answer.

Two hours later, two guys pull into the court parking lot in our car, looking sheepish. They apologized. One of the guys owns the other CRV. His key worked in our door. That’s reassuring.

“No problem, man.” Brian said, shaking his hand. And the Mystery of the Missing Honda was solved. We had our beloved car back. Until…

Two nights later, we discovered the car had a severely flat back tire. Brian went to work cranking bolts and jacking the frame, but when the flat tire came loose, the jack slipped, the car gave way, and it sounded like a stack of metal pipe spilling onto the concrete. We’re not sure how this works, but it seems the entire back undercarriage of the car came crashing to the ground.

We’re told there’s only one tow truck on Palau, and we’re told we really don’t want to have to use it.

So, to the dude who stole our clunker: we’re at the Belvedere Apartments. Come and get it!


* I should note, in all seriousness, that by Palau standards our car is considered reeeally nice. We can take it off-roading. The A/C cranks. It’s not infested with ants or cockroaches (sorry, Becca & Suz!).