The Block: Part Nine

This is the ninth part of a fiction serial, in 840 words.

Middle Aged Biker Man knocked on my door one weekend. He wanted to ask if it was okay to put his sporty hatchback in my space while he washed it. He told me he intended to carry buckets of water up and down in the lift, as he didn’t trust the drive-through car wash at the garage not to scratch it. Plus, he was using his own space for the MX-5 he had bought, since deciding to get a parking permit to leave the other car in the street bays. I had only just got up, so couldn’t be arsed to argue, and told him that would be okay. Then he wanted to seek my support for getting rid of Barbara’s old Burger Ambulance, as he thought it was smelly and unsightly.

I told him he needed to get a life, and closed the door.

There was no way I was going to get involved in upsetting Babs. I fancied my chances of getting a date with her, and had decided to keep in her good books. I kept looking out for her, hoping to fabricate an excuse to casually bump into her and get chatting. But she was usually back by the time I got in from work. Her business required a pretty early start to catch the breakfast trade, and it went dead after the lunch rush.

It was a bad move letting Biker Man wash his car. He didn’t move it afterwards, and later that day I watched as he started to polish it. Then he was doing something with the wheels, before sitting inside and buffing up the interior with some cloths. It was dark by the next time I checked, and there it was, parked for the night. All the next day it was still there, and didn’t move out of my space once. I could have kicked myself for giving in, but I resolved that if it wasn’t gone the next day, I would make him sorry.

I watched from the balcony as Teacher Lady swung it into my spot, just after five. I knew Halfords was open until six, so got a move on, and walked there. I was in the shop forty-five minutes later, asking for advice about the strongest wheel clamp they had, one that couldn’t easily be cut off. They had a good one for a very reasonable twenty-five quid. It came in two parts, then snapped together. Two tiny keys came with it, and it didn’t have a separate padlock that could be cut off, and no chains to wrap around. You just slid it through the gaps in the wheel, and snap. I described the car, and the young guy in the shop assured me it would fit.

I waited until it was dark, and went down to the car park with my clamp. I had practiced with it on one of my kitchen stools, so had it down pat. I slipped it onto the front wheel on the driver’s side, and was back inside the block seconds later. Then I got the keys and dropped them down the rubbish chute. I must have been slick, as they didn’t notice until Teacher Lady left for work the next morning.

Apparently.

When I got home, she was knocking on the door seconds after I had closed it. She accused me of wheel-clamping her car, and that had caused her to be very late for work. Then she had left work early to get the breakdown service to come and take it off, but they couldn’t do it. They said they would have to send someone tomorrow, with an tool to cut through the metal. Then she calmed down and said that if I went down and took it off, she would never park any car in my space ever again.

I was pretty convincing, at least I thought so. I told her I had no idea what she was on about, had never owned a wheel clamp, and wouldn’t even know how to fix one onto a car. I suggested that it might be the management company. After all, she had a local parking permit on her car window, and that suggested that she didn’t live in the block. That threw her, it really did. Whilst she didn’t make a full apology, she said she would leave it at that and talk to her husband when he got home.

About two hours later, I saw Biker Man banging away at the clamp with some tools, while his wife stood next to him with her arms folded. Pretty soon, voices were raised, and he grabbed his toolbox and strutted back inside. The next morning, a mobile mechanic’s van was outside before seven, The bloke was using some noisy cutting wheel thing to get through the clamp, and it was making a shower of sparks that Teacher Lady stepped back to avoid. They never parked in my space again.

I reckoned that was twenty-five quid well spent.

36 thoughts on “The Block: Part Nine

  1. There’s a lot of nervy people in your story, Pete. I find it funny how allowing someone to wash their car in a parking spot justifies leaving it there for the rest of the day.

    I had something similar happen with my next-door neighbor. We both live at the end of a private drive. He is one of these guys who always seems to have four or more vehicles at his house. I could care less, but that sometimes means when someone comes over to visit him, his guest parks in our turnaround area. It would be one thing if the neighbor checked to see if that was okay, but he never did. One day my wife accidentally ran into a motorcycle that was parked in that area, causing $500-$600 damage to the bike. (She didn’t see it.) It would have been interesting to take the case to small claims court since it was my wife’s fault, but the person never asked if he could park there. I still get miffed thinking about it. In the end, we agreed to pay for the damages, but I told the neighbor no one could park there anymore. I get along with everyone, but this guy is a loose cannon with a temper. It is not the most pleasant of situations.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Living in a Central London block will leave you nervy and edgy, believe me.
      Your own example highlights just the kind of selfishness that goes on, and the tension that simple parking issues can bring.
      Private roads are even more fraught with problems, as here they do not count as a ‘public place’, so the police have little or no juristiction over them.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That was brilliant. Especially clever to deny any responsibility and blame it on the management company. That was possible, though unlikely, so what recourse did that leave them? They had to pay to have it removed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A callout fee for a mobile mechanic would have been around £120 at that time in the morning, plus any cost for ‘parts’. In his case, the price of the cutting disc. Add the inconvenience of being late, and leaving early for the breakdown club that couldn’t help, and I think Jeff was well in ‘revenge profit’.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. (1) Too bad Jack and Jill didn’t have access to a lift before they kicked the bucket.
    (2) So with Rest & Relaxation (R&R), one can’t be Arsed to Argue (A2A).
    (3) Barbara, who operates Babs’ Burger Ambulance (BBA), never got her Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree.
    (4) No one ever accused a nothingburger of being smelly and unsightly.
    (5) If you bump into it hard enough, you can upset the apple cart. So Jeff needs to be extra careful when he bumps into Babs.
    (6) Jeff decided to clamp down on parking space abuse. In so doing, he taught Teacher Lady a lesson!
    (7) “I saw Biker Man banging away at Teacher Lady with his tool, while she lay next to him with her arms folded.” #PeepingTom

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They still sell a similar one at the same price online in Halfords as of yesterday, I looked it up. They are mostly intended for use on caravans and trailers that could be stolen from where they are parked. But some ‘professional’ clamps cost as much as £200 now. This story is set not that long ago, and if anything, the price of clamps has gone down a bit. Thanks, Chris.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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