Shelly Reuben’s new novel is about … well, we’ll let you find out for yourself as we weekly serialize the chapters. If you miss one, get back up to speed with our article archive. Now, welcome to:
Parking Space: A Love Story!
By Shelly Reuben
Chapter 17 - Change of Venue
It wasn’t until they reached the third floor that Lilly Snow remembered she had neither chairs nor medical supplies, so she got her tin of hot chocolate from her kitchen and followed all three men into Burgess Meekly’s apartment across the hall. There, blood was swabbed, hot beverages were served, and frozen feet and fingers were thawed. In due course, Noah asked his host, “How long have you lived here, Burgess?”
“A little over a year. And you can call me Mouse.”
Noah jutted his head toward the window and the parking space on the street.
“Has anything like this ever happened before, Mouse?”
The small man said, “Once I saw a movie about a U.S. aircraft shooting missiles at a spaceship trying to invade the earth, and the missiles bounced off an invisible force field exactly like the one downstairs.”
Noah shook his head.
“I mean in the real world, Mouse. Not a movie. On Chestnut Avenue. Did you ever experience anything like this before?”
“Do you know of anyone other than yourself who had similar difficulties entering that parking space?”
“Other than the two of you?”
“No. No one else. And I would know.”
“Because of Hector Van Hooft.”
And for the second time that night, Burgess told comparative strangers about the executive chef who lived down the hall and had bullied him into saving “his” space.
“I’m terrified of the guy, so I can guarantee that either he or I have occupied it nonstop since the day I moved in.” Burgess paused. “At least, until yesterday morning.”
Amos Goode and Noah Pitt exchanged a glance.
“What happened yesterday morning?”
The voiceover actor squinted – very rodent-like – at Lilly Snow. He said, “You happened.”
Lilly jerked back her head as if she had been slapped.
“Me? What did I do?”
And her new best friend responded, “Yesterday morning, you moved in.”
Copyright © Shelly Reuben, 2021. Shelly Reuben’s books have been nominated for Edgar, Prometheus, and Falcon awards. For more about her writing, visit www.shellyreuben.com