Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Worlds Apart - Excerpt 3 - Maverick Writes a Parking Ticket


Previously on Worlds Apart... Maverick takes poorly to his new job writing parking tickets. Alex gets dissed on his birthday. The two inhabit different worlds, with different 'tudes. Will worlds collide??

Worlds Apart

by Kyle Crocco

3.

“… this is not how we do things in parking authority …”

Some might have called Maverick’s driving style reckless, dangerous or even suicidal, but not actually to his face, or within striking distance. Most people didn’t say anything critical to Maverick’s face, or back, unless they happened to be standing far away, or behind some double locked doors. Because Maverick didn’t take kindly to criticism, just as he didn’t take kindly to criminals or people who thought they were his immediate superiors, for that matter. Which is why Eric Merri-something was so quiet as Maverick sped past numerous double-parked cars and jaywalking pedestrians, not to mention at least twelve or so different other parking violations by his modest count.

Eric wasn’t quite sure if the number of missed violations was actually twelve or thirteen because he had lost count, and maybe even a little consciousness, as the convertible took yet another hairpin curve on two wheels. Whatever the exact number of violations was, it was certainly large enough that it was going to be highlighted and put in bold print in his training report—if he survived the training ride, that is.

“Now Maverick,” Eric squeaked, finally screwing up his courage as they drove by another blatant parking violation. “We should drive slower so we can practice writing a few—”

Maverick grunted and jammed the wheel to the right, tires screeching as the car rounded another corner. Eric’s head slammed against the passenger door with a loud thump. When he looked up he saw two, no, THREE, double-parked cars, that Maverick had just driven past without even a glance. THREE. The golden triad. The trifecta. He had never seen three— count them, THREE—double-parked cars in a row in his entire career in the parking authority and Maverick had whizzed by them as if … as if … it was hard to contemplate this, but … as if traffic violations weren’t even important.

This was not how today’s training session was supposed to be going. Eric was supposed to be Maverick’s superior officer. Maverick was supposed to be listening to him attentively, not ignoring him brazenly. And Eric hadn’t risen to top trainer in the parking enforcement authority, not to mention top parking enforcer for ten months running, by letting himself be pushed around by trainees.

“Maverick,” Eric said, ready to let him have it. “This is not how we do things in parking authority. Maverick!”

Maverick glanced over. Actually, glanced down and over, since he was so huge. Looking down on Eric like he was nothing but a pest, a beast, like a little barking Chihuahua.

“Maverick does things his own way.”

Eric took a deep breath, remembering that Chief Grady had told him to take special care that Maverick followed orders. “You’re not in Enforcement anymore, Maverick. We write parking citations.”

Maverick looked over, ignoring the traffic, a grin coming over his face.

That cannot be good, Eric thought.

“You want to write parking citations? Why didn’t you say so?”

Eric gulped.

Maverick jammed on the brakes in the middle of traffic. The convertible did a sudden, mind-whirling, body-impacting, wheel-screeching, 180-degree turn, across oncoming traffic, not to mention a double yellow line and finally slid neatly into a free parking space, a hundred feet away, on the opposite side of the street from where they had started.

When Eric had recovered his breath, and his mind, he noticed that they were now parked safely under the neon sign of BlackJack’s Casino. A familiar gleaming white, two-door coupe, with shiny chrome was parked directly in front of them.

It only took a second for Eric to realize the trouble they were about to get into.

“Oh no, no, no, no, no, Maverick. That’s—”

“A parking violation. I know.”

Eric tried to untie the broken seat belt he had tied around his waist. “Maverick. Chief Grady specifically mentioned that you were not to harass Hydra. His car is legally parked. I am a wit—”

Maverick revved the engine of his convertible and winked at Eric.

“No, Maverick. I order you—”

The car leapt forward. There was sickening crunch as fender met fender. The white, two-door coupe, with the once gleaming, perfect chrome was no match for the force of the convertible’s engine and was shoved underneath a sign that clearly stated, ‘NO PARKING AT ALL TIMES LOADING ZONE.’ A keening, whining alarm went woo, woo, woo, woo, with lights blinking on and off.

“What do you know?” Maverick asked. “Hydra’s car is illegally parked in a loading zone. Oh, and what other violation do I see?”

Maverick pulled out his hand blaster, and jumped out onto the pavement.

“There are no violations,” Eric said, fumbling with his TW300. “Hydra’s car was legally parked until you—”

“What are you talking about?” Maverick asked, casually squeezing off a shot. A headlight exploded, scattering glass across the sidewalk. “Missing headlight. And what about this?” Another casual shot melted the license plate, igniting the registration sticker into flames. “No license plate, or registration. Is that enough citations for you, meter minder?”

“It’s Merriweather. Eric Merriweather. Not Meter Minder.”

Maverick considered for a moment. “Whatever. Looks like Maverick will have to make an arrest.”

Eric watched, dumbfounded as Maverick turned abruptly on his heels and marched straight into BlackJack’s Casino, straight towards Hydra, straight where Eric was not supposed to let Maverick go.

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