Disclaimer: Everything in this post is 100% true and actually happened. Although I wouldn't blame you if you called "Shenanigans". Due to the nature of my job I've always found it wise to have an extra vehicle on hand. About a year ago the motor in my 04 Sentra Spec-V decided it was time to retire and I sold it. My choice for a spare car has always leaned toward what one could consider a "rice burner". But life and needs tend to change and since my current shooting range is located on top of a mountain at the end of a 1/2 mile logging road and a range trip usually requires finding someone with a truck or going for a hike, I decided to go a different route this time. After much thinking, research and taking into consideration that the wife needs to be able to drive it I made my decision. A mid 90's Jeep Cherokee. Well proven, small enough for the missus, tons of aftermarket goodies available and I really like the look of them when they're done up. Now to find one. Welcome to New England. Hope you like snow. We sure do get our share of it. But driving's not a problem because oh boy, do we like to dump a lot of salt on the roads. To the point that it's damn near impossible to find a Jeep Cherokee that the frame and rocker panels aren't completely rotted out . And to top it off the lowest price I could find one of these testaments to automotive cancer for was $2,000. For at least 6 months I was looking for one. Then one day a couple months ago I casually mentioned to someone that I was looking. "I know someone with one. Bet they'll take $700 for it." My mind immediately went into "too good to be true" mode but I drove him over. Sure enough there was one sitting in the driveway. He knocked but nobody was home. "No problem. I'll call him and set things up for you." Well guess what. Never heard from that dude again. Back to more fruitless searching. Till the other day. I happened to drive by that house and noticed the Jeep Cherokee was still there and not in the same spot. So I figured why not? Knocked on the door and the guy answered. Turns out we know each other. I immediately apologize for knocking at 8:00am and tell him someone mentioned to me he might be willing to sell the Jeep. "Sure. I'll sell it." I ask how much? "$1,500 but I don't have time right now." So we set a time that afternoon for me to return. I go back with cash in pocket and he meets me at the door. "Umm.. Yea. My wife came home and she wants to keep the Jeep. Leave me your number and I'll work on her." Why was I not surprised? The Great Cherokee Search has been the most disappointing experience of my life. So I give him my cell number and leave mumbling about never seeing him again or sumptin'. Two nights ago my father decided the infection in his leg that he didn't tell anyone about needed looking at. So I drove him to the emergency room. After getting him inside I went out to legally park my car and grab my phone. Glanced at the phone to see I have a voice mail. I listen. It's the guy with the Jeep. "Call me. If you don't I'll understand." That's it. After 5 minutes of searching every aspect of my call history for his number I run in to see that my dad will be alright without me for a bit. I haul ass to his house which thankfully is in the same town as the hospital. Get there and he says, "Talked her onto it. The guy down the street wants to buy it too but I told him you asked first." I explained why I was in town and set it up that I would be there 8:00am the next morning. Also, dad's OK. Sunday 02/14/2016. I note that date because not only is it the day I'm to purchase a Jeep Cherokee, it will undoubtedly go down in history as the coldest day of 2016. So I get there and notice it's on a charger. Knock on the door and wake him up. We try and start it and get a few cranks before the battery gives up. I noticed the gas gauge is bottomed out on empty. Looked it over. A ton of stupid broken crap that's easy to fix. Broken turn signal lever, front passenger door won't open, broken hood latch, crap like that. Only rust is one poorly patched golf ball size hole in the floor behind the rear seats. Try to start it again with the same results. At this point he explains that there's a contact in the shifter that tells it it's in park and you need to push up on it to start it. I try it and he's right and I get a few more cranks. I mention that it needs front tires to pass inspection and he says "Oh, I forgot" and runs into the garage and comes out with two brand new tires, "These go with it". By now I've decided I'm buying it no matter what. So we go inside for coffee and let it charge up. I tell him I'll take it and won't even dick with him on the price. While making out the bill of sale he informs me he has a storage unit and in that unit is a roof mount light bar with lights, an off road front bumper and a brand new winch. Well imagine that? All parts I fully intended on purchasing. When he gets a chance he'll dig them out and we can make a deal on them. So we do the deal. He hands me a BOS and I hand him a white bank envelope with $1,500 cash. $200 in twenties, 12 new $100 bills and one older $100 bill. (bolded because this will become a very important detail). Go out to try and start it again. Same Same. I ask if it's like a neutral safety switch and put in neutral. Nothing. Put it back in park. Nothing. Can't even get it to turn over. We decide to give the charger awhile and he needs time to clean it out. I tell him I'll be back in a couple hours, poured a couple of gallons of gas I had in my trunk into the Jeep and left. Returned two hours later with my wife so she can drive my car home. Knock on the door and start showing my wife the Jeep. Some guy I don't recognize comes out of the house. "He's not here. They rushed him to the hospital. He had a massive stroke. Now why are you [email protected] with my friend's car?" I explain to him that I bought it and the battery is in the garage on the charger. He wants to see the BOS. I show it to him and he gets me the battery and goes inside. I tell my wife to quickly clean it out while I install a battery that obviously wasn't made for this car. The dude comes back out of the house and hands me a phone. It's the wife. "Did you give him the money for that car?" Yup and describe the money in detail. "Did he have it on him?" I don't know. "I have to go back to the hospital" and hangs up. Finish installing the battery and turn the key. Nothing. Figure it's the contact issue but I know the battery's crap too. So we jump in the car and drive 20 miles to Walmart for a new battery. Gonna need one anyway. We get back and nobody's there. Toss in the new battery and still nothing. So I put on the expired plates from my Spec-V and we call AAA. I pay them about $230 a year and it's time they earned it. Did you know AAA refuses to tow a car that's not legally registered to you? I didn't but do now. So figure I'll hit the DMV first thing in the morning. Left a note on the Jeep and went home to stress out about the whole thing all day and night. DMV opens at 7:45am on a Monday. I was there at 7:40. Happy Presidents Day by the way. So drove over and talked to his wife. Seems as soon as I left to go home for a couple hours he walked into the kitchen and hit the floor slamming his head on the dining table on the way down. He's not comatose is about the best news I could get from her. Explained about having to wait till tomorrow because of the holiday and she was good with it. She then informs me that she might need my help. Turns out that even though they refer to themselves as husband & wife, they're not legally married. And because of this small detail the hospital is refusing to release to her the $1,500 I paid her husband. So she might need me to identify it. Gave her my number and said I'd do whatever she needs. So I have no idea how long I must retain every detail about that envelope of cash. So here I sit telling you a tale about the 1996 Jeep Cherokee Classic I bought but don't have and won't start and the guy that almost dropped dead because some fool knocked on his door and bought his Jeep. At least the talk with the wife has greatly dropped my stress level. And it cost me less than a fully decked out Tommy Gun.