Christmas Flash Fiction: Parking Lot Gladiators

[A fun little piece I wrote about three years ago. It still makes me chuckle. Enjoy!]

I was hunting. I was hunting for the Holy Grail in the parking lot of the New Castle Mall. I was hunting for a parking spot. I was under the delusion that everyone had done their shopping on Black Friday, so I would be safe. The joke was on me.

It had been half an hour, stalking my prey up and down the endless asphalt corridors. My eyes swept the rows of cars, searching for a tell-tale gap. The radio was blaring some strange hip hop adaptation of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” but I wasn’t listening. All of my other senses had shut down.

Then, I saw it. A spot barely wide enough for a motorcycle, a quarter-mile from the nearest mall entrance. It was the worst spot imaginable, and I wanted it. At the opposite end of the row, a cherry red Escalade turned the corner. The driver, a fat man with a white beard, saw the spot. Looking around for any competitors, his eyes locked on me. He smirked. I grimaced. The gloves were off.

He revved his engine, taunting me. I returned by pressing my own gas pedal to the floor. My Ford Pinto growled like a kitten. This would not end well. But, if the wind was blowing in my favor, then victory would be sweet. The old man in the Escalade peeled rubber. Letting my foot off the brake, the Pinto’s wheels spun on the icy pavement for a moment before gaining traction and tearing down the racetrack.

The old man and I raced toward each other at blazing speeds topping off around fifteen miles per hour. The parking space was looking smaller and smaller the closer we got, but it was too late to abandon my quest. I could see that Old Man Escalade was laughing maniacally. I screamed my battle cry, “I need to buy my son a PlayStation!!!!”

We were coming dangerously close to the spoils of recklessness. It wasn’t about getting into the mall anymore. It was all about claiming the spot. It was personal, now. As we approached the turn into the spot, I jerked the wheel left. Old Man Escalade was turning sharply right.

The chains strapped securely over his massive tires gripped the sheet of ice. My Pinto’s blackwalls spun wildly and the little death trap maintained its original course and speed. The old man squeezed neatly into the prize winning spot. I turned my head as I skidded past. The old man laughed with a jolly chuckle.

As I turned back to see where I was sliding, a car pulled out of the row ahead of me. I slammed the brakes, but continued to slide. Just before I slammed into the unsuspecting minivan, I screamed at my bearded tormentor. “Damn you, sir!”

Christmas sucks.

— 30 —

[For more of my signature wit, follow me on Twitter at @jonnyeberle.]

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