FLASH FICTION: Parallel Parking

Kurt grinned nervously as the examiner approached.  He extended a hand, and Kurt realized — too late to avoid the shake — that his hands were clammy.  Inwardly he grimaced.  Great way to make a first impression, you idiot.

“Hello, Kurt. I’m Julio Pena, and I’ll be riding with you today.  Ready for the test?”

“Yes, sir!”  And now I sound too eager.

“Just relax.  Everything will be fine.”  The words were comforting.  The voice was rote.  “Let’s get in, and we can begin.”

Kurt strapped in, checked everything twice.  Couldn’t afford to lose points before he even started.  Especially with the difficult parallel parking section.

“That’s fine, Kurt, good job.”  Julio made some marks on the left side of the pad.  “Now, pull out gently.”


The door pulled open gently, and Marjorie walked into the front courtyard of the Myrtle Bank Hotel.  She rather enjoyed Kingston.  Three days Daddy had been here on business, and everyone called her “Miss Sircy.”  Not in that ghastly mocking way the headmistress so enjoyed, or in the familiar manner of the servants, but politely, as though she were a grown-up.

Miss Sircy of Holland Square.  How romantic.  She giggled.

There was barely a breath of wind in the air; the sun shone clear and bright. (Fancy this being January weather!)  Marjorie strolled along the hotel wall and gazed out at the street, the brick and stone of the buildings providing steady backdrops for vibrant splashes of Jamaican color.  Everything seemed so…alive!  And so many coloreds walking by.  She had shied away at first, but their smiles were infectious and their accents amusing.  Now they seemed almost normal.

It was the perfect sort of day, the kind that could yield to the whims of a young girl.


“Good yield,” Julio said.  Another mark on the left side.  Kurt felt good so far.  A few deductions, but nothing major.  He could do this.  He could.

“Only one thing left, Kurt.  Look for an opening, and then give me a nice smooth parallel park.”

Kurt saw an opening ahead.  It looked big enough.  Perfect.  He steered toward it confidently.

Then Julio yelled, and everything started to go wrong.


“And I think it’s just wrong, you know, that headmistresses have so much power.  Ruling like queens of their own little fiefdoms, yet so terribly unimportant.  I mean, this is aught-seven now, shouldn’t that sort of thing have gone out with Victoria?”

The young man — Stephen, had it been? — nodded intently, and Marjorie smiled from beneath the broad brim of her hat.  (Hibiscus blossoms in the band, a present from Daddy.)  He was a charming one.  Half an hour with her, and he had let her carry the conversation.  She hoped, as she excused herself, that she would see more of him.  Perhaps at supper tonight?

Time to go in, though.  The sun was bright, after all, and she didn’t want to burn.


Kurt felt his face burning as Julio glared at him.

“That opening was nowhere near big enough for us.”

“Well, we’re safe, aren’t we?”

“Yes. Barely,” Julio said.  “But I can’t pass you.”

Oh, no.  “Please…”

“Smoothly shifting between parallel universes is a major part of the job for our drivers.  Our researchers want to study unspoiled natural development.  Who knows what effect you’ve had on this universe by forcing us into it?  I’m sorry, but — move over, and I’ll take us home.”

Kurt glumly complied.  Another stint at training school.  Another four months on Mars.  Why didn’t his world just end now?


As she approached the door, Marjorie felt the air go very still.  Then the earth shook, and —


Let me know what you think of the story.  If you like it, please feel free to forward the link to your friends!  If it wasn’t to your taste, better luck tomorrow — a new piece of short fiction goes up every day.

Published in: on April 5, 2011 at 8:00 am  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I enjoyed this. Thanks for posting it!

  2. You’re quite welcome. Thanks for reading!

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