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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1161453-Forty-five-Minute-Panic
by SueVN
Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Business · #1161453
Racing through too short of a lunch hour.
Dave dashed out of the office. 11:30. If he hurried, he could get all the errands done and be back for the meeting his boss ordered him to attend this morning. He turned over the engine and the gas light pinged at him. Damn! He told his wife to fill it up yesterday. Why, just once, couldn't she do what he asked? It wasn't like she worked. Her job was to take care of these things. Well, he had enough to run the errands. He screeched out of the parking lot to turn on the street.

Geez! Did they unload a car carrier up there? Where was all this traffic coming from? Oh yeah, he remembered the traffic light was out. It was out yesterday. Where was the city? They were supposed to fix these things. Probably out eating donuts instead.

Four blocks later, Dave pulled into the bank and jumped out. Inside, one teller and a line of four people waited. Good grief, where was the management? Didn't they see this teller needed help? Why didn't the teller go get another teller? Don't they care about their business? Somebody should be doing something.

Ten agonizing minutes later, Dave dashed back to the car and raced to the drugstore. He parked in the Handicap space; he would just be a minute. Inside, the pharmacist explained a prescription to a withered lady with a walker. She was hard of hearing and the pharmacist repeated himself. Dave paced back and forth. My God, he thought, she's going to be dead before she gets out the door. Didn't pharmacists know it was lunchtime and people would be in a hurry? It should be part of his job to ask her to wait. Finally, she stepped away.

"Prescription for Fowler," Dave glared at the pharmacist.

The man turned away and went through a drawer.

"Sorry, Mr. Fowler," he turned back to Dave. "I don't see anything here for you."

"I called it in this morning - about 9:00. It should be ready by now." Dave could hear his voice rising. Two and one-half hours was not enough to fill a prescription? What did these people do all day? Did they get paid all those big bucks to talk to little old ladies? Wasn’t it part of their job to fill prescriptions in a timely manner?

"Let me call our other store and see if it's there." The pharmacist picked up the phone. Dave looked at his watch; he needed to be back at work in 10 minutes. The pharmacist explained the situation to the other store. He glanced back at Dave and smiled. "They're checking." Dave drummed his fingers on the counter. He looked at his watch. Seven minutes.

"Thank-you. I'll let him know." The pharmacist hung up the phone. "Mr. Fowler, apparently you called your prescription into the other store. I can fill it for you here, but it will take a few minutes."

"I don't have a few minutes, you moron! I know I called it in here. Why can't you people just do your job? Why can't anybody do their job?" He charged to the front of the store, cutting a corner too close. Bottles of shampoo crashed to the floor. “Dammit! Can’t you stock things out of the way? Now look at the mess YOU will have to clean up! Serves you right!” The clerk at the front checkout counter watched him march by, shaking her head.

The automatic door opened and caught his shoulder. He slammed his hand into it and yelled another curse. Outside, a police cruiser pulled up and stopped behind his car. An officer stepped out.

"Ma'am, I'm sorry," he called over to her. " I’m in an awful big hurry. Could you just pull forward a bit so I can get out?”

The officer looked at him, turned, reached back in the cruiser for something, then walked up to him with a pad in her hand.

“Sir, do you realize you are in a Handicap parking space? I don’t see a tag displayed. Do you have one?”

“Oh God. I was in there for a pick-up at the pharmacy. No more than five minutes.”

“So, you don’t have a Handicap tag?”

“Well, no. But it was just for a minute.”

“Yes Sir. I’ll be writing you this ticket. You do understand you must display a Handicap tag in order to park in a Handicap parking place?”

“Yes, yes, whatever. Just please hurry up and write the ticket.” He looked at his watch. “Goddammit! I’m late now back to work now!”

“Sir, are you swearing at me?”

“Lord, no.” Dave looked at his feet and shoved his hands in his pockets. He turned his back to the officer, raised his eyes, and prayed she would just hurry.

“Sir? Do you understand you have the right to contest this ticket? You will have to appear….”

“Hell, lady, I just need to get back to work! Will you give me the damn thing and move your damn car?”

The officer looked up at him, clicked the radio on her shoulder. “Request backup at Columbine and 1st. Belligerant recipient of parking ticket.”

Dave’s eyes widened and he felt the blood rush to his face. “What the hell! Why can’t you just give me the ticket. Isn’t that your job?”

“Yes, sir. I’m doing my job, but you are going to be late to yours.”





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