Seeing (Parking) Spots

Submitted into Contest #116 in response to: Write a story that centers around a parking permit.... view prompt


Contemporary Adventure Funny

Seeing (Parking) Spots

Karla pulled her 2005 silver Honda Civic into the visitor’s spot of her building. Her front bumper made a terrible scraping noise as it hit the concrete divider. The bumper was sagging lower than a rapper's pants, due to hitting a mailbox when she was 16. She stepped out and hit the lock button on her keys. The car made a sound that was more like a wheeze than a beep. She walked up the steps of her building, and into the front office. Today was the today she was going to get a parking permit. Due to the fees, she had been putting it off. Which meant she had to drive around her neighborhood for forty-five minutes each night to find somewhere to park. She had stopped going out with her friends, because she knew that if she left past 8 pm the closest spot for her when she returned would be four miles away. Taking an uber from her car to the apartment hardly seemed worth it. 

    “Alright Mrs. Jardim, it's taken a month but I’ve saved up the money so let's do it!” Karla said, walking up to the desk. Mrs. Jardim made a noise like pulling a nail out of a tire when she stood up. 

    “Alright dear, as you know the fee is twenty-five dollars,” Mrs. Jardim said, eyeballing Karla’s crusty singles.

    “Here you go! I am ready for my permit!” Karla said, sliding what looked like a pile of failed origami attempts towards Mrs. Jardim.

    “Not so fast. There’s the matter of paperwork.” Mrs. Jardim lifted a huge stack of papers onto the desk. “I’ll need three forms of ID, including an original birth certificate. Additionally I’ll need your mother’s maiden name, three letters of recommendation, a three page description of your car, a copy of your lease agreement, and a DNA sample,” Mrs. Jardim smiled. 

    “Are you serious?” Karla exclaimed. 

    “It’s Orlando hun, what do you expect? Also you have sixty more seconds in the visitor’s spot before you’re towed.”

    “It’s going to take me at least twenty minutes to read all this!”

    “Forty-five seconds.”

    “Alright I’m going! But I’ll be back!” Karla said, scooping up the stack of papers. She threw open her car door, and tossed the paperwork onto the backseat. She slammed the door closed, but it swung right back out. She sighed, lifted the handle, closed it, and lightly put the handle back down. That was her car's newest quirk. Sometimes she would forget, and it would swing open on the parkway. 

    “Excuse me, I don’t mean to be weird or anything, but do you need a parking pass?” A man in a light blue suit said. He stood up off the stairs, and walked towards her. “I’m moving to Oregon next week, and mine doesn't expire till next year. If you’d like, you can have it.”

    “Oh my God, yes please!” Karla said, shaking the man's hand. 

“I will happily give it to you… I just need one small favor in return.” 

    “And that would be?” Karla said, stepping back.

    “Oh, nothing really. I just need you to adopt a ferret for me,” the man said, looking down at his shoes.

    “ A ferret? Why can’t you just adopt one yourself?” 

    “The only pet shop in town is right next to the hardware store my daughter works at. The ferret is a surprise for her. Look, I'll give you the money for it and everything. All you have to do is adopt it. Then I'll give you the permit. No funny business.”

    “Okay, fine. You have a deal,” Karla said. The man handed her the money, and typed the address into her phone. They shook hands, and Karla drove off.

    Karla was hit in the face by the smell of wet woodchips as the pet shop door opened with a ‘ding’. She walked right up to the man at the counter. He had a parrot on each shoulder. When she walked up, all three heads turned towards her.

    “How can I help you ma'am?” The parrot on the right said.

    “Um… oh yeah, I need a ferret,” she said, staring at the parrots. 

    “No problem, you’ll just pay the twenty-five-dollar adoption fee, and I’ll need you to fill out a form,” the man said, much to Karla’s relief. The man handed her three pieces of paper on a clipboard. Karla filled them out, and handed it back to the man. 

    “Okay, let me go back to the ferret room real quick,” the man said. As he turned around and walked into the back, the parrots' heads remained pointed towards Karla. They kept eye contact till they vanished behind the doorway. 

    “Okay, small problem,” the man said, walking back towards the counter. “ We only have one ferret left, and it’s on hold for some lady. BUT, I would be willing to give it to you. I will just tell the person who ordered it that there was a clerical error or something,” the man said. Karla smiled, grateful to be leaving the musky shop.

    “I just need one favor, '' the parrot on the right said.

    “Of course you do,” Karla thought. 

    “I just need a dump truck. Er-rather I need you to rent one for me. I’m remodeling my backyard, and I really need one. And look, before you get all freaked out, it's super easy. I would rent it myself, but I got banned from the place for making too many ‘back-hoe jokes’. It’s just like driving a regular car. It’s right across the street, you don't even have to move your car. I’ll give you the cash, and you’ll be back here in 30 minutes tops. I would ask one of my friends but parrots can't drive… hahah ahhh,” the man laughed awkwardly. 

    “Yanno what, screw it! You have a deal,” Karla said. She walked out of the petshop, and took a huge breath, happy to no longer have pet dander in her lungs. She crossed the street to Mike’s Machines, and walked in.

    “How can we help you, young lady?”  A man with a huge beard asked. 

    “I need a dump truck,” Karla said.

    “Looks like you already got a great one on ya!” a man said, from the other side of the store.

    “Ignore those boys. They’re animals,” the bearded man said. A different man wolf whistled from the distance. “Anyway, I can get ya fixed up with one no problem. I’ll just need your insurance, license, and for you to fill out these two pages real quick.”

    “Okay, no problem,” Karla said. She took his Bob the Builder pen from the cup, and scribbled out her information. Afterwards she handed him her license and insurance card.

    “Okay everything looks good here… except you’re not twenty-one. That’s going to be a problem” the man said, handing her things back to her.

    “I’m twenty-one in two weeks! I’m so close. Two weeks is nothing!” Karla exclaimed.

    “Well, I think I could let it slide.” 

Karla sighed.

    “...In exchange for a favor.”

    “Karla rolled her eyes.

    “I need, well… I need a gun.” 

    “Excuse me?” Karla said.

    “It’s not for nothing weird. I swear. All my buddies are going on a hunting trip, and they all have rifles. I can't be the odd man out. They already pick on me cuz I’m small.” Karla looked up at the six-foot-two, two-hundred-pound man. She nodded politely.

    “Anyways, I can’t get one myself given that I have a felony on my record.  Now before you start judging, when I was around eighteen I stole two poodles… their owner was just so mean. I didn’t think it was right. So I untied them, and brought them home. The cops found out real quickly, and took them back. Turned out they were pure-bred show poodles, worth $10,000 each. So it constituted grand larceny, and well yeah. Felony. You seem like a nice girl with a clean record. Get me a hunting rifle, and the truck is yours,” the man said, scratching his beard.

Karla’s heart dropped for a moment, then she thought about all that time spent circling the block.  She could do this. That spot was hers. She could do this. 

    She drove across town to a gun store. The gun shop was in a plaza right in between a McDonald’s and a dentist. She felt confident until she walked through the door. How could she possibly do this?

“Look, I need a hunting rifle. I know it probably takes weeks or I need a training course but--”

“No problem, just fill out our form,” the cashier cut her off.  He handed her an index card that had a line to fill in her name and address, then a single check box that said, “Are you a felon? Yes/No,” followed by a place to sign at the bottom. Karla laughed to herself, and filled it out. She slid it across the counter to the man. The man picked it up, and stared at it for a moment. 

“We got a problem here, missy,” the man said, putting down the card.

“What? Do you need me to cosign a credit card for you? Or adopt a baby from Vietnam? Or or or or…”

“Whoa calm down. Calm down. I don’t need any of that. You just forgot to write the date right there,” the man said, pointing to the paper. Karla paused for a minute, then filled out the date.

“Well here's your Timber Classic, Marlin 336. Enjoy responsibly, young lady,” the man said, handing her the gun. 

“That's it?” Karla asked the man. Dazed, holding a gun almost as tall as her.

“This is Florida ma'am. What’d ya expect? That’ll be ninety-nine dollars, plus tax,” he said smiling. Karla handed him the money the bearded man had given her. She buckled up the weapon in the front seat. She drove to Mike’s, and burst through the door holding the gun. The room was silent. She handed the bearded man the gun, and he handed her the keys. She then drove the dump truck across the street to the petshop. She walked in, slammed the keys on the counter, and the parrot man handed her a crate with a ferret. She walked back across the street, buckled the ferret box in the front seat, and drove to her apartment building. She parked in the visitor spot, and called the man in the blue suit. 

After a few minutes the man came down, and met her at her car. They exchanged animal for permit. Karla slapped the parking permit sticker on her windshield, and leaned back against her Civic. Mrs. Jardim was walking out the door as Karla was putting the sticker on.

“You know, young lady, if you want to transfer a parking permit you have to fill out the proper transfer forms,” Mrs. Jardim said, eyeballing the car.

“I’m not filling out any more forms! I have been running around all day filling out forms! And yanno what? IT WAS EASIER TO GET A FREAKING GUN THAN IT WAS TO GET A STUPID PASS HERE. SO YANNO WHAT MRS. JARDIM. YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE TO JUST DEAL WITH IT. I AM PARKING HERE, AND GOING INTO MY APARTMENT TO TAKE A NAP!” Karla yelled. 

Mrs. Jardims face got very red. 

“I suppose I could let it slide. Wouldn’t cause any harm,” Mrs. Jardim said quietly. She looked through the car windows, very worried about the aforementioned gun. 

“Thank you!” Karla said. She hit the lock button, and her car beep triumphantly. For the first time in weeks it didn't let out that awful weeze. She then marched upstairs to take a nap.

“What a lousy day. First I get a call saying the ferret I was going to buy isn't available anymore, and now that nasty girl yells at me,” Mrs. Jardim said, shuffling away. 

The End.

October 22, 2021 15:40

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09:00 Oct 27, 2021

An interesting story.


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09:00 Oct 27, 2021

An interesting story.


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Roger Davis
05:44 Oct 26, 2021

And she did all of that in one day? Wow! Just think of how something like this could continue for a week, a month or more. A person could forget where they started.


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