The optional prompt over at F2K’s Madeleine L’Engle room –
Picture yourself sitting in a car in a department store parking lot. You’re waiting for your friend, windows rolled down and music playing from the car radio. Suddenly, a man runs past your car, tosses a package on the seat beside you and keeps on running. In 500 words or less, what is in the package and what do you do with it?
Ever the procrastinator, I only got hit with inspiration late yesterday evening, almost 6 days after the prompt was posted. Typical me.
I caught movement from the corner of my eye and barely managed to catch the package that was tossed recklessly into my car window before it fell down underneath the car seat.
I looked at the retreating back of the man running away and recognised Sam’s bald spot, glinting in the afternoon sun. He didn’t even stop to say hello. I let out a sigh; I’d need to have a word with him later. He was taking this whole skulking around parking lots endeavour to a whole unnecessary level.
I held on to the package gently and placed it back on the seat beside me. Then, and only then, did I take a deep, cleansing breath. I let my eyelids droop and focused on the female singer on the radio crooning about her dark side. Okay, I thought to myself, maybe it was a mistake to arrange the drop off here while waiting for Denise. She could’ve seen Sam and then there’d be questions. But I didn’t have a choice.
I’d told her I’d be her ride the next time she needed to see the dentist. And eventhough she didn’t give me advance notice that she needed to go today and that I was her ride like I promised earlier, I couldn’t bail out. So I’d called Sam and told him that I’d be parked in my car outside the mall and he had to pass me the package then instead of the original plan of me picking it up from his office downtown.
I ripped the packaging none-too-gently and removed a cassette. Sam had scribbled 19 September, Holiday Inn, Room 3201 on it. That was two days ago when I was at an out-of-town conference. My hands started trembling.
The car suddenly felt claustrophobic and I was perspiring. I switched the radio off and pushed the cassette into the player and held my breath. There was a whirring sound then I heard a voice Hey, babe. I could recognise Caleb’s voice anywhere.I’m so glad you came. My breaths started quickening and I could feel my heart starting to beat wildly. I placed my hands on the steering wheel and gripped hard until my knuckles turned white. I’d suspected and here was proof. There was rustling of clothes then a groan. Caleb’s. I closed my eyes and laid my head on my hands. Then I heard him say Oh, Denise.
My head shot up and at that moment, how opportune, Denise stepped out and started walking towards where I was parked. I swiped the tears from my eyes, started the engine and revved. The moans escalating now, reverberating rudely through my car, blocking out any other noise. I put the car into drive and headed towards Denise, accelerating, not caring. My last thought as the groans of the lovers on the cassette became louder was This is gonna hurt more than your root canal, bitch.
(Word count: 486)