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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Outstanding (04/21/11)

TITLE: Nothing Says Love Like Parking
By Anita van der Elst


Simone had insisted her receptionist desk at Access Diagnostic Labs face the waiting room’s picture window, partly for the view of the shade trees along the front of the parking lot but more so because she was nosy. Keeping tabs on the customers and clients that the lab, a beauty salon and a stationery store serviced, provided free entertainment while allowing an eagle eye to her car parked with other employees’ cars curbside. On this sunny day, she’d opened the screened side windows to the breeze.

Just before noon, angry words erupting outside made Simone jump, whacking her elbow on the filing cabinet. She recognized that voice. Every six weeks she got a trim from Trish, the feisty blonde owner of Wee Snippity-Do, and always enjoyed her banter. Trish wasn’t any bigger than a half-minute but her voice carried like a bullhorn.

“What on earth is she yelling about?” Simone murmured, rubbing her crazy bone.

A woman in the waiting room gestured to several cars pulling in and people heading down the sidewalk.

“Looks like they’re going to Good Friday services at the church down the block and the little lady isn’t pleased with them parking here,” she said.

“I remember now!” Simone said. “That church’s pastor came by with a flyer last week. Services all afternoon, every hour on the hour. Haven’t been to church in ages myself but I was thinking I might go.”

“Dude, that lady’s mad!” a waiting kid commented.

Trish’s vocal demonstration confirmed that observation. “This is NOT a parking lot for your church!” she shouted. “There’s plenty of parking on the street as well as those lots on the opposite corner. This one’s for OUR businesses!”

Two drivers returned to their cars. Simone heard rudeness tossed out their windows as they drove away. Trish, far from reticent in expression, gave it in certain finger form. When the rest of the parishioners ignored her and continued on to their destination, Trish stomped, as much as her four-foot-eleven-and-three-quarter-inch frame could stomp, out of view.

Before Simone had processed her next patient’s paperwork, Trish was back, after apparently visiting the stationery store. Simone couldn’t see what Trish was writing on the sheet of cardstock but observed her taping the sign to her car’s back window, then repositioning the vehicle sideways across several spots.

“Excuse me, Jeff,” Simone said to the young man whose insurance forms she’d just taken. “It’ll be a few minutes before you’re called back for your blood draw. Would you mind finding out what’s on that sign?”

Curious themselves, several people in the waiting room exited with him. Most of them were chuckling when they returned. One lady frowningly muttered, “So disrespectful of her.”

“What’s it say?” Simone asked.

Jeff grinned, “Basically it says people can’t park here if they’re going to the church and if they do, they can just go to…well, you know.”

“Ah, got it,” Simone said, trying to hide her smirk.

An hour later Trish’s bullhorn voice again broke Simone’s concentration. There was Trish toe-to-toe with a black-robed, red-faced man, spit flying from his mouth, matching her volume for volume and curse word for curse word.

“That’s the pastor!” gasped Simone.

The minister spewed and sprayed, four-letter words interlacing his speech. “People can park wherever they please. You have no say in it!”

The argument stormed for several minutes. Then spinning on his heel the clergyman retreated, leaving Trish in mid-torrent.

Hand cupping her mouth, Simone watched Trish pull scissors from an apron pocket and brandish them at the ecclesiastical back before stomping back to her shop.

“Whew,” Simone breathed, picking up a patient file and switching gears. “And Donna, we’re ready for you now.”

“That clergyman owes an outstanding debt,” Donna commented as she followed Simone.

“Really?” Simone mused. “You think money is the issue?”

“No, not money. Love. I just memorized something about that this morning.”

“What’d you memorize?” Simone asked, passing Donna’s paperwork to the phlebotomist.

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”

“Is there any church that fulfills that law?” Simone wondered.

“Probably not completely,” Donna chuckled. “But some of us, by the grace of God, are serious about attempting to. Maybe after your day is over working for ‘Dracula’ here, we could go for coffee and talk about it.”

“Hey,” protested the phlebotomist.

“Sure,” Simone agreed. “And we’d better include ‘Dracula’. He actually prefers coffee.”

(Scripture Reference: Romans 13:8 NIV)

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This article has been read 505 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Robyn Burke04/28/11
I could see it all so clearly! You did an OUTSTANDING job in descriptions!
And wow, um, do we know any clergymen or women, or anyone else under the label of 'Christian' who needs to do a little review about attitude and actions being more like Jesus?
Sarah Heywood04/29/11
You did a tremendous job with this. I just love your descriptions - I could see the little, feisty beauty shop owner, all up in a tizzy, and sadly, I could see the pastor, clearly not being a good example. It's funny - last night at our ladies' Bible study, we looked at the verse you reference at the end of the story. And then I read your story today. Wonderful writing!
Tracy Nunes 04/30/11
I could just picture Trish! My sister was pint-sized with a big heart and bold expressions. It made me think of her. Great job on this. I really enjoyed it.
Loren T. Lowery05/02/11
So well written. A mirror set before us...do we see our own reflection? Maybe not, but as your story points out some do. I've heard it said that we (our actions as Christians) are the only Bible some will ever read. Quite a challenge to all of us.
Kaye Swain05/03/11
Enjoyed your story. It reminded me of years ago, when our church was outgrowing our parking area and each Sunday the pastor would get up and remind us NOT to park in various neighbor's spots AND to be extra kind and loving to all the neighbors in the area. Now, I'm doubly proud of my old pastor :)