Parking Space: A Love Story! Chapter 48 - New Job, New City, And …
Published: November 12th, 2021
By: Shelly Reuben

Parking Space: A Love Story! Chapter 48 - New Job, New City, and … Columnist Shelly Reuben

This is the last chapter of Shelly Reuben’s new novel. If you missed any earlier ones, you can find them all in our article archive. Now, welcome…and say goodbye to:

There isn’t really all that much more to tell.

In a sense, though, this story ends as it began, with Lilly Snow, and…well, let me wrap it up for you and tie it with a big bow.

Monday morning.

First day of the week.

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Lilly’s first morning on a new job as secretary to a woman whom, over the course of two days, she had come to admire very much.

A Sherlock to her Watson.

A Wonder Woman whose shield she could polish, and whose dog – if Chiquita Bamberger had a dog – she could shampoo.

Lilly had packed up her copy of The Count of Monte Cristo, left the Midwest, and invaded The Big City like an explosion of confetti. In the course of just one week, she made eight new friends. One for each of the days she had lived there…if you included into your calculations her first day at her new job. And all of them would be coming by subway, bus, or car, to gather in the parking lot outside the employee entrance to City Hall.

Amos Goode and Noah Pitt arrived first.

Noah had closed his office and told his employees to stay home and take the day off.

Amos, exhausted after a week of fourteen hour days, planned to go home after the mayor’s breakfast and spend time with his family.

Maid Marion, in her turquoise Coupe de Ville, had picked up Burgess “Mouse” Meekly, Jimmy Christmas, and Daisy Dalrymple, and parked in one of the City Hall visitor spaces about eighty feet away.

Lilly Snow wanted to arrive early to walk around and acquaint herself with the neighborhood before breakfast, so she had taken the bus.

And Mrs. Miracle Elsie Abbot took the subway, as she always did to work.

They were gossiping amiably about everything and nothing when they heard the soft toot of a horn and saw the mayor turn left off Congress Street into the parking lot.

As one, all turned and smiled.

Lilly, who had been standing inside the mayor’s reserved space, stepped away from it, and like the maître d' of a fine restaurant, dramatically gestured the car inside.

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And…

Well, you know what happened next.

You can feel it in your bones, can’t you?

As inevitable as a ragweed allergy or a summer cold.

The mayor always accelerated very, very slowly when she was parking her car.

The front end of Chiquita’s Thunderbird inched forward.

A little more forward.

A bit more forward still.

But as soon as her front bumper reached the outer edge of her reserved parking space, something prevented it from advancing further.

Chiquita revved the engine.

Nothing happened.

She revved the engine again.

More nothing.

She put her car into park, opened the driver’s side door, and began to walk into the space.

“No. Don’t!” Mouse Meekly shouted frantically, the only one of the group to suspect what was about to happen.

But he was too late.

Chiquita Bamberger, award winning actress, dancer, singer, movie star, mayor, wife, and friend, squeaked, “Ouch!”

And she turned away from her parking space with an injured (a little swollen but not bleeding) nose.

Amos and Noah shook their heads in disgust. They then performed what was becoming a ritual of inspection, walking the perimeter of the space with exploratory hands, and discovering exactly what they expected:

Invisible: Check.

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Impenetrable: Check.

Undetectable: Check.

Impassable: Check.

Lilly, feeling guilty and responsible, breached the unbreachable barrier that had kept everyone else out, stopped when she got to the center, put her hands on her hips, stomped her foot, and huffed in exasperation, “Really!”

Then Chiquita Bamberger began to laugh.

In no time, all of them except Mrs. Abbot, who looked sternly disapproving, were laughing, too.

Even Lilly Snow.

About what can happen in a Big City – perhaps the greatest city in the world – to an inanimate object.

And a pretty young woman.

When a parking space.

Falls in love.

The End

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




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