Jamie took a deep breath and put her hands on the steering wheel.
"Okay. Pull up just a bit... a bit more... There. Stop."
Jamie followed her dad's instructions, pulling up next to one of the plastic orange traffic posts her dad had set up in front of the house.
"Now, put the car in reverse and start to back up, just a bit, and turn your steering wheel to the left. A bit more to the left... slowly... good."
She continued to listen to her dad as she attempted to parallel park for the first time.
"A little more, a little more... STOP! No. STOP!"
Jamie blushed, as she hit one of the traffic posts. "Too late."
"It's okay. It's your first try. Let's try again."
So she tried again. And again. And yet again.
"I think you pushed that traffic post clear into next Tuesday! And remember if that's a car, that's a $500 deductible. At least."
Jamie rolled her eyes. Come on Dad. Take it easy on me. It's my first day."
"You know I'm just playing, Jamie. You'll get it eventually. Then when you take your driver's exam, you can show that silly examiner just how much you know. You'll probably surprise him so much with your perfect parallel parking that he will absolve any prior blemishes from your exam, and you'll walk away with a perfect score."
Jamie chucked, shaking her head. "Oh Dad."
The next day, Jamie decided to practice some on her own. She set up the posts, went inside to grab the keys from the key rack, and got in the car. She repeated her dad's instructions to herself, and tried to take it easy, but then.... crunch!
"Oh no. Oh no. Oh no. Good thing it's just a traffic post." Jamie crawled under the car and pulled the mangled post from beneath the car. She cocked her head. The post now leaned significantly to the right. "I thought these things were supposed to bounce back into shape. Worthless piece of plastic."
Jamie looked around the house and finally stuffed the traffic post behind a bush. She parked the car in the driveway again, put the other post and the keys back, and retreated to her room.
A few minutes later, she heard a knock on her bedroom door. She opened the door. Her dad rocked back and forth on his heels, a mischievous grin on his face.
"Do you have anything you want to tell me?"
"What do you mean?"
"You know. Maybe about the car. Or a traffic post."
Jamie put her hand to her mouth, her eyes big. "How'd you know?"
"One, this." Her dad stepped aside to reveal the Leaning Traffic Post of Springsdale. "Two, I was watching you the whole time from the side of the house. I saw you getting under the car, hiding it behind the bush... everything. You just didn't see me."
There was no point in denying it. Jamie blushed and hung her head. "Guilty."
Her dad started to walk away, post in hand, but then turned back. "Oh, and Jamie?"
"That's a $500 deductible."
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