Perhaps you remember Zen, my former friend and tenant who got on drugs (along with her son) and trashed the mobile home I owned and rented to her.
Because Zen wasn't paying rent, I repo'd the home to find quite a mess. The total in past rent and damages was well over what I was given, but I was still given a substantial sum.
After the court ruling, Zen told many people that "you can't get blood out of a stone" and made it very clear that she wasn't going to pay me a dime. Why would she, when you have to pay good money to get totally awesome drugs? Drugs aren't cheap, ya know.
Then she disappeared, so that she couldn't be summonsed to court to enforce the judgement.
It's taken some work, but I found her address, in a town that's several cities away. I need the money now, just as I needed the money then (she somehow is under the false impression that I'm fabulously wealthy). So, I re-opened the case, paying fees to do so and have her served once more. I even drove by her residence to make sure she indeed lived there (she does).
On Monday I got a notice in the mail that the Sheriff's Department couldn't serve her and 'no such person' lived at that address. Knowing that this wasn't true, I contacted the sheriff's process server.
The process server told me that when he had gone up to her apartment complex (which is a hippie enclave of some kind) that the man who answered the door said that Zen didn't live there. The tenant added that HE had lived there for seven years, and he would surely know. So, the process server gave up. (Note to everyone involved in a case in Hillsborough County: Don't use the sheriff's process server - find a private one.)
So I had a long discussion with my best friend, Pov, who felt that he should drive all that way early in the morning to see if she'd moved or if she was just dodging the court (bless Pov for caring enough to do that, when other people slept warm in their beds... including me).
Pov was there before 6 AM, in enough time to see her car and the lights go on in her apartment. I called him to check on what was happening and he told me, asking me to call the process server to see if he could return now that we KNEW she was there.
I called the process server, but he told me that he's only paid to go out and try during that one period of time, and he couldn't do a thing unless we waited for his supervisor to OK it. His supervisor's shift began between 10-12 AM. It was 7:45.
So I did some research, and called a nearby private process server, "Sue", at 7:45 in the morning. And woke her up out of a sound sleep.
"Call me back in half an hour, OK?" she asked sleepily. I agreed, somewhat disgruntled. I wanted Zen served before she disappeared.
I cheated a little: I called at 8:12. And at 8:17.
At 8:25, Sue called back, somewhat understandably irritated but hiding it as well as she could. When I had explained the situation to her, she said she was willing to go out there and serve Zen as soon as she had her coffee and a quick shower. In the meantime, she asked me to fax her the paperwork.
I did. Then I called her to see if she'd received the fax. "Uh, let me get out of the shower, first, OK?" Sue asked patiently.
Meanwhile, I had Pov on the phone, letting him know what was going on. Pov reported that Zen was still there.
Sue called me when she was on her way. I gave her Pov's number so that they could coordinate. In a short while, Pov called me gleefully.
"She went roaring up to Zen's door in a sparkling new Mustang," he reported. "So because she didn't look like a cop, Zen opened the door to her and she handed Zen the paperwork - Zen's been served!"
I danced around and whooped a lot, and then called Sue to tell her she was a goddess.
Then I called Pov back to celebrate a little more. His voice echoed strangely. "Where are you?" I asked.
"In a gas station bathroom, if you don't mind," Pov snapped. "You try sitting in a car for four hours without being able to go to the bathroom. If I'd had a jar in that car, it would be full!"
Now I'll see Zen in court in January. Contrary to what many people think, I can dock her pay - so it's not so easy to dodge what she owes me. Zen's used to landlords who don't care and can afford to write off such large sums. I can't do that.
It's time for Zen to pay up.