A Tale of a Lynwood Serve,
Compliments of the Orange County Professional Servers
Rarely was I out of my comfort zone. But here? I was never welcome in any neighborhood. My presence alone was bad news for my subject. For no matter where I was or who I was looking for, I would not be thwarted. In time, I learned to gives some of my subjects options in order to secure a successful serve. I could give him or her choices: “When and where” for example. A man destined to be a successful process server could not afford to play cat and mouse on every serve.
For once I was not “the cat”. I exited my 2005 white Toyota Corolla, grateful that my car did not stand out even if I did. I parked my car down the street from where Angel Mondragon was supposed to reside. Lynwood was no less a ghetto than any other. I observed kids run and play on streets that hadn’t been fixed since the 60’s. I had crossed over to a different universe, and I wondered, absently what part of my cerebral cortex was causing my legs to move forward in this direction. I smiled, wryly as I realized that some of my competitors would have their papers in the gutter by now. They would follow it up with declarations that indicated when and how they “personally served” their legal documents.
I stood in front of the apartment complex that housed Mondragon, assuming the address was correct. It was a fortress. I’ve seen many fortresses before, and most of them were in San Juan Capistrano or Silverado, or Coto de Caza. The building was old. The paint faded and chipped. Both in front and in the rear of the building, bars and locks made it impossible to enter. But I saw some of the hispanic neighbors and told them I needed to see Angel. They let me in without hesitation.
I went to apartment #9, and played a conversation in my head that I had with my mentor. Several months ago he told me about a repo he pulled in Arizona. He drove back in a Lamborghini he repossessed. I heard him as if he was next to me: “ In this line of work, if you’re not awake to the danger, if your heart isn’t moving, you’re in the wrong line of work.” I knew exactly what he meant.
A doorbell did not exist in front of Apartment #9. I tapped the window lightly. I waited a few minutes, and repeated the tapping. About 2 minutes later the door opened and Mondragon opened both doors. I could see that Mondragon was no dragon. He was about 5’6, 145 lbs, 30, and smiling. I told him that I had papers for him. Angel called it: ”Its , a summons and complaint, isn’t it?” he said without dropping the smile. I laughed……”yeah how did you know”? A couple of us were betting on what your business is here, and I guessed you are here to serve papers. Mondragon laughed and tapped me on the back affably. I smiled and wished him luck…..I stared at him for a few seconds before turning to leave.