It took a visit to the Brooklyn Navy Yard depot last night to learn that my rental car wasn’t stolen — it was towed. $138 bills if I pick it up before 2 pm today, and $276 if I miss the deadline. I tried paying the fine last night, of course, but since the Dollar guy let me have the car last Saturday afternoon without actually signing an agreement (he knows and trusts me and has my debit card and driver’s license info) I had no rental agreement to present as proof of temporary ownership, so they said “no dice.”

So I called the North Bergen Dollar guy this morning and told him to fax over a letter (written on letterhead stationery) stating that I’m authorized to take the car. Except he can’t fax it to the towing office because their fax machine isn’t working, and so far I haven’t been able to find anyone in my neighborhood who has a working fax. As soon as I locate one I’ll call the Dollar guy with a number.

Except I can’t drive the car out of the Brooklyn Navy Yard because it has a flat front-left tire. (That’s why I was towed in the first place, more or less — I parked it yesterday morning in the most acceptable spot I could find on short notice after spotting the flat, but I couldn’t drive all over the place.) So I have to arrange for a AAA truck to meet me at the BNY around noon or 1 pm so he can help with the tire-change. I don’t trust the flimsy car jack with all the ice and snow.

The long and the short is that this episode will eat up the next six or seven hours because after I’m out of the towing lot I’ll have to drive it over to a tire-repair guy in North Bergen — a friend of the Dollar guy — who’s relatively inexpensive. And then wait for the work to be done, etc. And then drive it back to Brooklyn and park the car on the same street where it got towed. I still have to drive down to see a dentist in New Jersey — the original plan — so I can’t return it until that’s done.