Today is the biggest shopping day of the year. You and your spouse are on your way to take advantage of the special sales at your local retail outlet. The radio in your car shouts about the HUGE WAREHOUSE SAVINGS that can be yours, so HEAD ON DOWN to your nearest location. The bright autumn sun glints off the hood of your new Prius as you pull into the mall parking lot.
As you expected, everyone is here today and there is nary a parking spot in sight. But Lady Luck is smiling upon you today, for you see a man walk quickly out of the mall, his hands swinging confidently at his side as he strides toward the parking lot. Fast as a cheetah on steroids, you pounce, swinging in behind him as he makes his way down one of the parallel rows.
When your potential prey actually approaches a car and begins to open the door, that is your time to strike. You begin to move forward, establishing your possession over the soon-to-be-vacant parking spot, but out of the corner of your eye you spot trouble: another motorist has spotted the departing shopper and is attempting to muscle in on your parking spot.
You and the usurping motorist stare at each other across the seemingly infinite expanse that separates the two of you as the shopper fumbles in his pocket looking for his keys. You glare at each other, hoping, through sheer willpower, to convince the other driver that if he takes your spot, you will pummel him to within an inch of his life.
After an eternity of this mute combat, you see the shopper pull out his keys and slip them into the lock. Your hands tighten on the wheel as sweat beads your brow. This is it, you think as he opens the door. The door swings out like the pendulum on the clock that counts down to Doomsday; the slight beeping coming from the car’s open door alarm is the clock’s chimes sounding out your salvation or your doom.
Your glance shifts to the other driver. A look of pained concentration is on his face, a look that is undoubtedly mirrored on your own. He begins to inch slowly forward and you follow suit, desperate to reassert your dominance. The gap between you narrows until it is so small as to be a veritable iron prison from which neither of you can escape.
You are so close together now that you can see every imperfection on his pinched, pockmarked face. He is the portrait of brutishness, a common usurper who seeks to pilfer what is rightfully yours. He sports a faded, misshapen cap from a ball team which only the degenerate and the ignorant would favor; it perches on his head like some diseased vulture and bushy eyebrows pop out from underneath its worn visor.
They are the picture of grotesqueness, avatars of that greedy avarice that motivates them to steal the parking spot that is rightfully yours. You glance over at your beautiful spouse, confident that such paragons of propriety and virtue such as yourselves will win the day and secure reasonable parking for yourselves and your posterity.
Yes, this is more that just a parking spot. It is a veritable battleground between good and evil, right and wrong, hybrid and diesel.
Your concentration is so intense that you barely register the shape that moves past your car. You glance over, and in stunned horror watch the shopper as he closes his car door and walks past you, slipping his wallet into his back pocket as he makes his way back toward the malls entrance. An entrance that seems miles out of your reach.
Sean Paroski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.