This Is Why You Don’t Answer Craigslist Ads At 2 AM

image - Flickr / Natalie Parker
image – Flickr / Natalie Parker

So…I’m a dumbass. Let me just get that out there. Reading this, you’ll feel the urge to shake me and tell me just how many brain cells I’m missing. (The answer is: a lot.) Rest assured, I’m very well aware of how much of a fuck-up I am.

I’m currently looking for a car since I’m living on my own now and am using public transportation to get everywhere. I’m looking for a new job, though and I don’t want my housing options limited to wherever there is a bus stop. But because I’m a poor college student, most car dealerships are a way over my budget and when they DO have cars that are in my price range, they tend to be really shitty. So I’ve resorted to trying out my luck on various sites like Craigslist hoping to score a bargain deal.

This happened a few nights ago, right when my school went on Thanksgiving break. Since I don’t have to wake up early anymore, my whole sleeping schedule has flipped around with me typically going to bed around 4 AM. This particular night, I’m chilling in my parents basement at around 2 AM when I decide to check up on Craigslist to see if any car deals had been posted since the last I checked.

Turns out somebody had posted a KILLER DEAL on a fairly new, (2003 is new for me), car that was exactly in my price range. The description said there were no mechanical issues, passed all safety inspections, and the only reason they were selling it was because it was the seller’s dad had recently passed away and wanted to get rid of his father’s car.

Seeing as how I was bored and restless, I texted the number explaining my interest. I prepared myself for another few episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. I figured there’d be no way they’d get back to me that night, but I wanted to be the first offer they saw in the morning when they woke up. A few minutes later, my phone buzzed.

Here’s what it said:

Guy: Hey thanks for the interest! I didn’t expect so many people to answer an ad posted at midnight haha. I have someone coming to look at it around 7 AM, so you can swing by after if they don’t get it. Unless you want to come over now? I’m pulling an all-nighter so it doesn’t matter to me what time you want to come look at it.

At this point, I had two options. Do the sensible thing and wait until it was light outside, or decide to go meet a complete stranger at 2 AM in the morning. I could feel the smart angel and the dumb angel on opposing shoulders whispering in my ears, but the energy drinks I had just consumed helped the dumb angel win out.

Me: Sure man! It’s not often I go out and do crazy things this late at night, but that’s what being a stupid college kid is all about lol!

He texted me his location, but it was pretty far outside of town, so he agreed to meet me halfway. I hopped in my dad’s car and drove to the address, arriving at about 3 AM. The whole thing was exciting and I kind of reveled in the fact that I was doing something kind of stupid. But I figured taking a risk for such a great deal was how you GOT the good deals.

I parked in front of a parking garage and double checked the address. Yup, it landed me to a really seedy part of town that was deserted even during daylight hours. Before I could even text him, I got a text saying, “I C U.” I looked around and a figure came out of the parking garage, waving his hands. I got out of my car and got a look.

The guy was tall, about 40-years-old, and balding. He had pale white skin and a really, really strained smile. His whole face looked uncomfortable from how much he was grinning. Even in the dim light, I could see how yellow his teeth were. And while the lower half of his face was smiling, his eyes weren’t. They looked dead.

“Hi, hi, hi! So good to see you! The car is parked in the garage, let me take you to it!” He didn’t even wait for me to introduce myself before walking up to me and physically GRABBING my arm and attempting to steer me into the dark parking garage.

I may be a bit of a dumbass sometimes, but at this point, my alarm bells were going off. I wrenched myself free and tried to initiate a bit of small talk, but he kept shuffling around until he was eventually behind me and kept shuffling towards me as I talked, trying to push me into the parking garage.

At this point, I knew something was way off. I tried to glimpse into the garage and I couldn’t make out much…just a small red light a few feet off the ground — then, I realized what it was.

It was a video camera.

As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I was able to make out an outline of someone standing by the camera.

Again, I’m a total idiot most of the time, but every so often, I’ll have a bright idea. Thank God this was one of those times.

“Oh shit, hang on, I forgot my wallet in my car!” I said and tore myself free from his grasp. I started jogging towards my dad’s vehicle, sounding like the chill cucumber that I totally am. Without giving him a chance to respond, I looked over my shoulder and said, “Just give me a second, it’s in the passengers seat!” He stared at me, and for once his dead eyes showed emotion. Rage. It was one of the most terrifying things I’d ever seen. I still can’t get it out of my head. His smile was so huge and so forced, but his eyes were incredibly, incredibly angry.

He didn’t say anything as I got to my car. I unlocked it, got into the drivers seat, and acted like I was looking around for the wallet. I quickly jammed my keys in the ignition, started the car, and slammed my foot on the gas pedal. I heard him shout.

“HEY!” It was a really deep, angry voice that was totally different from the man I had been talking to. I sped out of there, and as I looked in my rearview mirror, I saw figures run out of the parking garage waving crowbars and bladed objects in the air.

I remember I was shaking throughout the drive. When I got home, I ran inside, and locked all the doors. I did a sweep of the house to check to see if anybody followed. They didn’t.

I phoned the police to tell them what I had seen. They came over and took my statement. I’m not sure if they believed me at first, since I was home when I had called them. The Craigslist ad had been deleted and I all I had were a series of text messages from what turned out to be a stolen phone. The parking garage was empty by the time they got there, and they didn’t find much, besides two rolls of duct tape knocked over in a corner.

So…lesson learned. I told my parents about it, and now, I’m now no longer allowed to use their cars after 8 PM. I don’t know exactly what the man from Craigslist was planning to do, but the weapons, duct tape, and video camera gave me a pretty good idea.

So when you really can’t sleep, don’t go answering Craigslist ads at 2 AM. TC mark

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