The Case Of The Elusive Car Salesman

I was pacing around Lexington, waiting for my local mechanic to finish the
latest repairs on my 77 Chevy Impala. My name\'s Yesterday, Sam Yesterday.
It was hot in Lexington, by that is not uncommon for mid-July. I\'d had a
good several months, and I was in good financial position for the first time
since I bought that Impala back in 1977. That car had served me well, but
lately it had been failing. Maybe it was time for a trade, I thought; so I
walked over to the nearest friendly (sort of) car dealership.
As soon as I set foot on the shiny showroom floor, it seized me. It was the
most beautiful thing I had ever seen. A sparkling combination of steel,
leather, electronics, and a very large engine. The muscle car had been
revitalized in the form of a 1995 Chevy Impala SS. It was sleek, resembling
the type of car Darth Vader would drive. I grabbed the nearest salesman,
hopped into the body hugging leather bucket, fired up the 275 bhp. LT1 engine
and took off. As the 6-speaker CD stereo belted out Aerosmith the poor
salesman tried to sell me a car that had already sold itself. I had fallen in
love, it was the only car that I had loved since that 77 Impala. It had an
engine large enough to satisfy my primitive need for power, an image that
screamed "Hey you with the radar gun! See if you can catch me!" Granted, it
was heavy, it had watery boat-like handling, and drank gas like my Uncle
Bubba drinks beer. Still, I loved it. It wasn\'t Japanese, German, Korean, or
otherwise. It was a big hunk of purebred, American muscle car, dammit.
I picked out a nice shiny new one, called the bank and drove home in my new
wheels. I decided to spring for all the bells and whistles; leather, CD
player, alarm system, keyless entry, etc. I figured that if this car was
going to run as long as my last Impala it should be well-equipped.
As I was admiring the view from my office in the Financial Center, the phone
rang. I answered and was greeted by a rather hysterical woman named Diane
who thought that she had been cheated by her car dealership.
"That evil Car salesman has kidnaped my car!" she explained.
I calmed her down and asked what happened.
"Well, Larry, the salesman, picked up my Lexus for servicing, just as usual.
Also as usual, he left a more expensive car as a loaner. Later in the day,
I received a call saying that my car had been destroyed. Larry said that one
of the technicians had accidentally cranked it right up into the ceiling
while it was sitting on the lift. I found it hard to believe, but he
promised me a new model if I would just come over and sign the papers. As
soon as I arrived, Larry said that he would credit me the value of the car if
I wanted to by a nicer mor expensive model. I agreed and ended up with a
lovely new sports coupe."
"Nice car," I remarked, realizing that the salesman was making a tidy profit
on the transaction.
"Yes, it is. But I still miss my Essie."
"Essie?" I interrupted, quizzically.
"Yes, Essie was the name of my old car, the ES300, I loved Essie, and the
new car wasn\'t the same."
"You had a brand new $55,000 Lexus, which you got for only $25,00 and you
miss you older $35,000 Lexus?" I asked, beginning to wonder whether she was
playing this game with a full deck.
"Yes, I did. So, anyway, I read the article in the paper covering the
incident, and was struck by something. The general manager said that he was
baffled, because there are safety mechanisms on the lifts, preventing them
from going that high. I also realized that Larry would be making his regular
commission on a $55,000 Lexus, and not a $25,000 one, because the payment for
the ES was made by the insurance company after the sale. So, not only had he
made money on Essie, but on the new car as well."
"Interesting. Is that all?" I asked.
"Yes. If the accident wasn\'t really an accident, I want to know, and I want
a lot more than a new sports coupe, that car meant a lot to me." She
concluded, between sobs.
I agreed to take the case and drew up a contract. I thanked her, promised
to get to