Thursday, April 7, 2011

Stolen Pride

Despite the long plane ride, Sarah was energized. Even though it meant she would only have a day to recover, she had spent an extra night in New York to take her client to one of the hottest new restaurants. The client, lubricated with just the right amount of alcohol and flirting, loved the pitch. She'll have some explaining to do when she submits her expense report, but with the new business, no one will care.

She practically swaggered as she grabbed her luggage and got into the elevator to the parking garage. "Two, please" she requested of the young couple who was already inside.

As she stepped into the concrete parking structure, she remembered why she hated this parking lot. It was always dark at night, lit only by sporadic, dim overhead lights. With its outdated maze of parking spaces, views half hidden by cement pillars, she always felt someone was waiting just around the corner. Next time, she thought, she should just take a car service.

She approached section 2G, keeping her eyes open for the silver-blue BMW, her gift to herself when she landed this job. It would take years to pay it off, but the car reflected the image she wanted to project. Sarah never wanted to appear anything less than confident, professional, and perfectly put-together.

At the end of the aisle, Sarah stopped short. She stared for a moment at the empty space where her car was supposed to be. "This is the space," she thought, remembering the mantra she had repeated to herself when she parked there three days ago: "Section 2G, last spot after the pillar."

"Stolen," she muttered. "Shit." Her feet throbbed from lugging her bags in the kind of impractical shoes she knew better than to wear on a 6 hour plane ride. Unsure what to do next, she began the trek back toward the terminal, her confidence waning with every uneven step. As she walked, she felt a presence behind her, following slowly. Her heart began to race as she glanced back. "Oh, thank god!" she cried as the security car's blinking yellow lights approached.

The guard gave her a ride to the office. As she rode, she chided herself for leaving the parking ticket in the car. "You're giving a thief a ticket to freedom!" her mother used to tell her. She tried to make a mental list of what she left in the car: Burberry umbrella, iPod, gym clothes. She hoped her cut-rate insurance policy would cover the loss.

At the office, the guard behind the desk asked for her license plate number. Sarah groaned as she spelled out her vanity plate, YALEGRL, realizing she'd probably never get that back either. The guard turned the computer monitor toward her, revealing a picture of her car. "Is this it?" he asked.

"Yes, it is. When was that taken?"

"Just this morning," he replied. "We take pictures of the lots once a day." She groaned again, realizing that the extra night in New York may have cost her more than just an extra night's sleep. "Come on, I'll take you to it."

"Oh, god," she thought as she got back into the security pickup, "they have the car." She imagined what it would look like. Would the windows be smashed? The paint scratched? She could barely stomach the thought of seeing her overpriced baby in such a wrecked state. Maybe she could at least salvage the vanity plates.

"Ma'am?" Sarah jolted out of her daydream. "Here you are."

And there, in front of her, was her perfect, shiny, silver-blue car, parked right where she left it in Section 3G, last spot after the pillar.

This piece of fiction was written as part of The Red Dress Club. Today's prompt was Someone has stolen something from you (or your character). Something of tremendous value. What will you do to get it back? Or will you give up?

I'm new to fiction writing, so concrit appreciated!