Passenger Loading (Or How to Use Your Cancer to get out of a Parking Ticket)

Yesterday was a rough day in terms of fatigue. I think that I over exerted myself a bit too mucho the day before. People always ask me what the fatigue feels like and I’ve finally discovered a phrase that I think best describes it, “psychedelic tired”. After treatment I thought that some sustenance could help so I asked my mom if she could stop somewhere to grab me a quick bite and for anyone that hasn’t been to Westwood, finding parking around there is like finding a needle in the haystack (or Adam Sandler making a good movie…meaning, it never happens). We did however manage to find a 5 minute passenger loading spot right next to a good burger joint so my mom parked there and I just stayed in the car. As I waited, my mom called and told me that there was a line so it may take her a bit and to keep my eyes peeled for any slightly overweight parking cops riding a bicycle (I’m embarrassed…my mom is a total profiler) and wouldn’t you know it, one did show up and started writing a citation for a car that was parked behind us. The driver of that car burst out of a nearby building to, of course, protest (as we all would do if we’re about to get a ticket and we know we’re in the wrong). I found what followed to be both amusing and profound and thought that the best way to convey it would be to write it in the format I know best, a screenplay. PLEASE NOTE: Even in spite of what the title of this post may imply, I in no way endorse using your illness to in any way manipulate people. The title was simply meant to be provocative and ironic. In fact, the purpose of this story for me is to reinforce a point I made in a previous post about how I’m learning that “there are far more good natured people out there than bad (by God’s Grace)” and that even a calloused, strict, and angry person like your stereotypical parking cop is capable of compassion. I also want to point out that the dialogue below is pretty much verbatim.

RESPECT MY AUTHORITAH!!!

EXT. PASSENGER LOADING ZONE – DAY

HENRY, A slightly overweight parking cop resembling the former CEO of the National Restaurant Association, Herman Cain, approaches a black Infinity parked in a 5 minute passenger loading zone on his ten speed bicycle. Henry quickly jumps off the bike and leans it against a nearby tree and in a move resembling Superman coming out of a phone booth, he pulls out his ticket machine and immediately begins writing a citation. ROBERT, a slick businessman rocking his “Casual Friday” look, barrels out of a nearby building, grasping a mocha latte like a baton.

ROBERT

(snarling)

Hey, hey…what’s going on here?

HENRY

I’m writing you a ticket.

ROBERT

What for?

HENRY

This is a 5 minute passenger loading zone.

ROBERT

I know.

HENRY

Good. You know why I’m writing you a ticket then.

ROBERT

I just dropped off a passenger though.

HENRY

That’s great. This is a passenger loading zone.

ROBERT

I know. I dropped off a passenger though.

HENRY

I heard you the first time.

ROBERT

So why are you writing me a ticket then?

HENRY

Because this is passenger loading, not unloading.

ROBERT

(flustered)

Aren’t they the same thing?

HENRY

Unloading means dropping off. Loading means picking up and please don’t lie to me, sir…I saw you park from across the street and no one got out but you. You’ve also been parked here for more than five minutes.

ROBERT

No I haven’t.

(turns his head, then points at a Blue Prius parked in front of him)

This car has been here twenty minutes!

HENRY

Oh, really?

Robert nods.

HENRY

How do you know that if you’ve only been here less than five minutes?

Robert gets even more flustered then takes a calming breath.

ROBERT

My point is that it was here before me, sir.

HENRY

That’s fine. I’ll get to it next.

ROBERT

Look, I guess I’m a little flustered because you’re writing me a ticket. I am here to pick someone up actually and I really needed to take a leak so I just ran inside really quick.

HENRY

That’s fine. We can wait for your passenger to get here then. I’ve got your plates so don’t try any funny business.

Robert looks around. You can see on his face, thinking “Uh oh! I’m trapped!”

ROBERT

They’re gonna be awhile still.

HENRY

Great, then you can move your car and come back when they’re ready. I’m still gonna have to write you a ticket though.

ROBERT

WHY?

HENRY

Because you broke the law, sir.

ROBERT

(trying desperately to dig himself out of his predicament)

How did I break the law? I dropped off a passenger then quickly ran inside.

(pointing at the Prius again)

…AND this car has been here way longer than me!

HENRY

Your story keeps changing sir.

Henry quickly finishes writing the citation and hands it to Robert.

ROBERT

How do you sleep at night?

HENRY

I sleep great! I get plenty of exercise riding around looking for law breakers like yourself and that helps me to sleep soundly. So thank you.

ROBERT

(trying his best Alpha Dog stance)

Well make sure you do your job and write up that Prius or I’ll report you!

Robert huffs and puffs then gets in his car and speeds off like he’s on a drag strip. Coughing from the exhaust, Henry slowly approaches the Blue Prius where he sees an extremely handsome and fashionable young man with puppy dog eyes, ALEX, sitting in the front passenger seat with the door open. Alex is wearing a green “newsy” cap and is holding his face in his hands (exhausted). He hears Henry approach then looks up.

HENRY

Do you have the keys?

Alex nods.

HENRY

I need you to move your car right away!

ALEX

(can barely find the energy to talk)

I’m not allowed to drive. I had a seizure — and I’m going through radiation right now —

Alex then takes off the cap and Henry can now see little patches of baldness along the top of Alex’s head.

ALEX

Look, I’m extremely fatigued, man. My mom just went to grab me a little food to help me feel better.

Henry walks back towards his bicycle.

HENRY

Well I’m sorry to say I’m still going to have to write you a citation. It’s sad but true.

ALEX

(irritable from both the tiredness and Henry’s demeanor)

You’re right, it is sad!

Henry suddenly stops and turns towards Alex. His demeanor immediately changes. He stares at Alex for a moment. You can see that something is definitely stirring inside of Henry.

HENRY

Look man. I can sympathize with you. My brother had Cancer. I know how rough it is, bro.

Henry picks up the ticket machine then looks around for anyone (like Robert) that may be watching. He then takes an envelope out of his jacket and approaches the windshield of the Prius passing Alex on his way.

HENRY

This is just an envelope. There’s nothing inside it. I just have to appease our “Casual Friday” friend back there.

Henry places the envelope on the windshield and walks back towards his bike

ALEX

We weren’t here for twenty minutes by the way.

HENRY

I know.

(faces Alex again)

Look, all that guy cares about is his himself. He had no idea what was going on around him. He actually could’ve gotten out of it if he had just been honest, but his tunnel vision made the situation worst for him.

ALEX

Well, Thanks a lot man. Really appreciate it.

HENRY

See, we’re not all bad.

Alex smiles (to the best of his ability) as Henry puts on his helmet and rides off.

FADE TO BLACK:

Much Love,

Alex

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