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Someone’s Dad

I walk out of the mall, it’s been some hours and my head is swishing. The parking attendant spots me and starts tailing me in that way they do. I keep walking the way I usually do. Although sometimes I nod in their direction to say I’ve seen you. Or, when I’m really feeling magnanimous, I indicate with my hand how far away my car is parked or I dig into my bag so they know I’ll definitely be giving them something…although sometimes when I dig in its just to find my car keys. It’s warm outside, not dark yet, the car park is half empty. My head is swishing so I don’t really do anything with the attendant trailing me, I let him trail me. I don’t warn him how far down my car is or that I’m in a bad mood and he might get nothing. There’s a massive boat of a car blocking my view of my car but nonetheless I stretch out my arm and push that button we all have these days.  I see a flash although I can’t actually see my headlights. Parking guy and I manoeuvre around the boat and then we both notice, at pretty much the same time, that there is a man sitting in the passenger side of my car. The attendant probably thinks that’s fine except he looks at my reaction and realises that the fact of this man sitting in my passenger seat is an absolute and unwanted surprise. The attendant, one of those good-looking men from Senegal, dark with the right kinds of muscles – my girlfriends won’t look at him twice but I’m liberal enough to be into it. Anyway Mr. Senegal goes round to the passenger door and opens it. I’m standing there struck mute on account of having a stranger in my car. My jaw is hanging, I look an idiot. The man gets out and comes around oh I forgot to mention the guy is talking on his cell phone for Christ’s sake. He pauses for my benefit. I’m thinking he sees the attendant and he sees me standing there like that (mouth open) and he figures I might want to address him. His mouth away from the receiver he says, in a hushed tone like he doesn’t want to wake the baby, this yours? I nod, having not quite found words yet. Now he lowers the phone to his chest. He’s wearing a suit, this guy, black man, and he’s tall with glasses. He looks pretty distinguished. He talks so too. I’m sorry he starts. I needed a safe and quiet place to have this private conversation. He’s maybe in his early to late fifties. Someone’s father I suppose. He’s got hairs on his head and some of them, not many, are grey. And a moustache he has with more grey and very gentle sideburns. Dark lips like all he does is smoke all day. Was my car open? I ask which seems a reasonable question. I’m thankful I have words again. All the while, mind you, the attendant (one fucking sexy Senegalese man if you ask for my opinion) is hovering, probably working out his tip, wondering what the hell is going on and what’s going to happen. Apparently so, says someone’s Dad. He says sorry again. I nod. I turn to settle Senegal thinking if he wanted me I’d have him except so little in life works out that way. I give him R5 and his eyes spend an extra second with Mandela on the head of the coin. Senegal is not happy or sad. Ah well. I get into my car and only then do I realise that that weirdo (someone’s father who talks like he doesn’t want to get blamed for having woken up the damned baby, with the grey hairs and the smoker’s lips) he’s gotten back into the car with me. Believe it! So he’s sitting in the passenger seat and get this part he’s fastening his fucking seat belt. I still act natural though. I start to pull out my parking space, like I’m hypnotised or something. Maybe it’s the effect he has on me. It’s that father business. The way good fathers make you feel happy and safe and like everything is okay. He had that effect on me, which is why although I had a stranger in my passenger seat I wasn’t yet screaming or anything. Anyway his phone goes (I’m still pulling out my parking space) and he takes it and starts talking something about ordering a Ferrari and what colour he wants it in. Can you believe? At this point I realise he’s an asshole. I turn to him and say you’re going to need to get out Sir. He lowers the phone to his chest (by now I am familiar with this motion of his, like we’re old friends) and he looks at me as if he’s a puppy and I’m his owner. This, of course, finally scares the shit out of me. I mean the guy’s a con artist surely. A fatherly apologetic con artist. So I start reversing as fast as I fucking can, hey I don’t give a shit who or what I bump into. I mean I’m thinking the guy is a serial killer, he might have a weapon apart from just his penis which, if you read the papers these days, is weapon enough, right? I also have the presence of mind to press that button, the one that makes the windows go down. Press the button so his window goes down and I can shout for help. Maybe, for instance, Mr. Senegal is still close by, you know, maybe he’s been checking me out and checking how I pull out of parking spaces and wondering a bit about me the way I’d wondered a little bit about him, maybe he understands that R5 was all I could afford and he’s stopped sulking about it. Help I shout and Daddy over there presses the button so the windows start going back up. And now for a few seconds we have window war where I’m pressing and he’s pressing. Of course the car doesn’t know who the rightful winner should be so it just buzzes up and down as if no big deal is taking place. Eventually though someone must have realised bullshit was happening (that I was in real trouble I mean) cause people come running. I’m not reversing that fast now because, despite being a woman, I don’t seem able to engage in window war and reverse like a pro at the same time…not to mention I’m spending a lot of that energy being worried that I’m now kidnapped. I mean there’s no gun or anything but, you know, there could be. So, anyhow, I’m moving slow enough that some guy, some other parking attendant but not my man, comes and yanks open Daddy’s door and drags him out. At which point I lean over, close the door. Then I press down on the accelerator and get the hell out of there. In my rear view mirror I can see that if the parking attendants keep it up for much longer, someone’s Dad might soon need stitches. Ah well.

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  1. October 7, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    Holy mass of bad words you probably don’t want in your comments section. Relieved you are okay.

    • October 7, 2013 at 6:28 pm

      OMW, sorry for the alarm Tiah. This didn’t actually happen to me. Does it read like it does? Can’t tell if that’s good or bad. It’s supposed to be fiction 🙂

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