The Impossible Pursuit of Justice, Part 3.

March 10, 2012

[Check out Part 1 and Part 2 if you haven’t already.]

Finally picking up where I left off…

The morning after that epic day of nothingness, F and I drove all the way to Fernando de la Mora Sur to yet another police station. We were not holding our breaths, but the visit was still worth a shot.

We walked into a decrepit and bare bones room. Four uniformed officers were seated around a desk with the local Asuncion newspaper laying open. In the centerfold was a voluptuous girl clad in nothing more than a white thong. Forcing attention away from their beloved was an inconvenient chore that communicated clearly. All the officers stared at us with annoyed expressions as we inquired about filing a denuncio. Finally, one huffily stood up and with the angst and attitude of a hormonal teenager, escorted us to another prison cell room.

As we waited for someone–anyone–to get their act together, we sweltered. I made 100% sure my chair was drenched by the time we left (and shuddered to think how many others had done the same before me). In any case, another police officer entered with a composition notebook under his arm. He sat down and then requested I narrate what happened.

Five words in, he held up his hand and told me to slow the h-e-double hockey sticks down. I then realized he was painstakingly transcribing everything by hand. His handwriting was quite neat, but honest to goodness, it took him 40 seconds to write each LETTER. Omg. I crossed my eyes at Forest and resigned myself to the reality that I would be inhabiting that chair for the next seven hours, if not the entire evening and then some.

Fast forward through repeated reenacted scenarios, the officer’s thirty-minute search for a map(!), and eight reminders that he had spelled my name wrong (despite the fact that my passport was right in front of him and all he had to do was copy verbatim), we at long last held a one-page, handwritten report documented on ever professional notebook paper. I requested a few more notes be added (like the fact that the other guy fled the scene…) and then sealed it with my signature.

The composition book was taken to yet another room adorned only with a row of seats and an antique computer. I had a slinking suspicion it wasn’t there as decoration. I was given a torn piece of scrap paper with a report numeral and a phone number, and was informed my report would be ready on Monday (we filed on Friday). But I was also instructed to call ahead to double-check the report status.

I called every day for three weeks straight, and every day they told me, “No, senorita, it’s not ready yet. But maybe this afternoon…” I eventually lost patience and went a little verbally crazy on the phone. The voice on the other line immediately promised to personally see that the report would be ready for me by the afternoon.

The cynic in me waited another few days before venturing to pick up the report (turns out, all they needed to do was type it up! aslkj;al). I almost died seven times driving there. Of course, upon my return, nobody knew what was going on or where to direct me, so I wandered from room to room in the police station, praying I wouldn’t get shot. I found the place that had given me the slip and took a seat amidst all the people crowding the desk of the one working employee.

Naturally, I chose the one camouflaged broken chair and after several embarrassing minutes of flailing limbs and consecutive massive heart attacks (as if everyone was not already scrutinizing the young Chinese girl in the police station), I gave up my desire to sit and wait. The slowly developing Paraguayan instinct in me pushed me to pounce on an officer trying to exit the room, and forced her to attend to me, preparing to throw down should I be informed that my report was not yet ready.

But miracles of miracles, it actually was (processed just that morning)! The officer sandwiched one of those ghetto carbon sheets between two sheets of blank paper, and after a twenty minute battle, my report came screaming out of a printer that I swear was twice my age. It was crooked and barely legible, but behold, it was a denuncio in the flesh.

I still had to wait another day to submit the report to the insurance agency (they are only open until 1pm), and yet another week and a half for the auto shop to complete its body work on the car. But after many dead ends, headaches, and multitudes of inefficiency, I can officially wash my hands of this situation.

Oy.

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