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.
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.