“Oh. I . . . actually, I parked on the street last night, so I didn’t notice. Yeah — park there as long as you like.”
“Oh, good,” said Antoinette, emerging from the kitchen, turning to Martha. “See what nice tenants I have?” Martha nodded. Then Antoinette turned and presented me with a nice hot cup of coffee and matching cleavage. “So what can I do for you, Mr. Early-Bird?”
“Oh. I . . . thanks.” I made up something about unpacked bearings in one of the washing machines, gulped down the coffee, thanked them and left, bug-eyed, to whisper holy shit! holy shit! holy shit! as I sprinted upstairs, grabbed the pump off my bicycle and ran back down to the garage.
The parking lot was almost empty, leaving me little cover behind which to glow bright red. Pump, pump, pump. Good one, Shulman. Pump, pump, pump. Nice karma, moron. Pump, pump, pump. Pump, pump, pump. Still, radiation or not, shouldn’t someone have left me a note? Pump, pump, pump. Pump, pump, pump. Must we all — must I — so very much suck?
Took about 10 furious minutes to fill the tires, undetected. Another five to return the bike pump and wash the rubber dust from my hands while calling the bathroom mirror a stupid motherfucker, and another five to walk down to Fairfax and, standing in a sticky bog of Lexus pee, pluck my well-deserved ticket off the old red Volvo’s windshield.