When opportunity lands on my doorstep, I have to seize the moment. In this case, I went out onto my balcony to retrieve something from the storage closet and saw this intriguing scene in the parking lot. How could the fiction writer in me resist? Everyone has a history, comprised of many “remember when moments.” The key is to make the story as entertaining as possible.
I don’t know the gentleman sleeping in the car, which may or may not be his, with the detached bumper, discarded beer on the ground, open driver’s door for ventilation, and parked skewed onto the handicapped ramp, but I’d like to come up with the parameters of his story, based on the early Sunday morning evidence.
The Bumper: Starting with what appears to be the most obvious, the bumper detached after he careened the driver’s side front tire into the curb and the car bounced back. Since the passenger’s side front tire is propped up, the driver’s side front tire is even lower than usual. That’s merely a consequence of Newton’s Third Law of Motion: Every action has an equal but opposite reaction.
Yet a more interesting explanation would be that he pulled into the parking space, not realizing the passenger’s front tire rode up on the handicap ramp and braked gently, not causing the bumper to fall off. Instead, an angry woman, who was riding shotgun, abruptly got out of the car, slamming the door. When he yelled at her, she responded by telling him to go fuck himself, kicked the bumper, causing it to fall off and ran into her apartment when he hopped out of his car.
He swaggered to the front of the car, saw the bumper on the ground, raised his hands to the heavens, cursed her name once more, sat back in his car to finish the last of his beer and passed out.
The Beer: Alcohol is a must-have in just about any series of miscalculated risks and bad decisions. This guy bought a 24-pack of bottled beer; so he, and perhaps a friend or two could have good time. He may have been tailgating somewhere on the outskirts of a game or, better yet, at a nearby park where one of many free festivals or happenings were taking place.
A twist on the obvious is if this guy actually has very little alcohol in his system due to the presence of some other drug. The beer may have merely whet his whistle in between smoking a combination of recreational drugs.
The Car: Despite its outward appearances, this car is his pride and joy. This guy has experienced a lot of highs and lows that life has thrown his way, but for the past six years, this car has seen him through it all. He will be devastated when he awakes and discovers “Preciosa” with her front bumper off. His eyes will tear up as he lovingly works her bumper back on with the care a parent takes rotating his child’s shoulder back into its socket.
Alternatively, this guy wakes up, rubs his eyes, scratches his balls, belches a stale beer mini-cloud and when he’s awake enough, he’ll wonder where he is, how he wound up here, and most important, why he’s sitting in the driver’s seat of someone else’s car.
The Guy: This is the most challenging aspect of this writing exercise because he could be virtually any guy, especially if this isn’t his car–an idea I really like since it has more possibilities. Otherwise, this car shows that he’s working class to middle class at best. Since drugs and alcohol are the great equalizers among men, this guy may have found himself in this situation as a fluke or it may be habitual.
Going with the odds, at least one woman is part of how he wound up passed out in a slightly damaged car that may or may not be his. Did she lock him out? Did he mistakenly drive to the wrong apartment complex? Was his intention to stay with a relative who lives here, but he made it as far as the parking lot and figured that was close enough?
The only thing I know for sure, when I returned from my yoga class around 12:15, the car, its bumper and the guy were gone–the discarded bottle of beer remained in the parking space.