Park the car!

So when I’m not going insane or writing (essentially the same thing) I park people’s cars at restaurants because like you know I need to eat and pay off my loans. If that sentence isn’t clear I get paid an hourly wage and work for a private company, I’m not just standing around at restaurants maliciously absconding with someone’s car for fifteen feet out of my own passion and burgling the fast food from under the passenger seat, although that might be a funny superhero parody movie: “He’s a freelance valet who don’t play by the rules” no wait, that sounds more like a gritty cop parody movie.

Anyway, talk about a service industry job that catches people at a bad time. We might not get the same abuse as someone that has to actually stand with someone as they try to pick out the right denim fleece or clear table three to find they left you a decoy $20 tip, (although once I got a church pamphlet for a tip which at least had two bucks in it) we only have to see people twice for about 30-60 seconds on average, but that minute is never an expected transaction for most customers, and not everyone deals with it in mature ways. My theory is that nobody really thinks about where their giant metal thing on wheels should go when they metamorph, shedding their combustion engine for feet power, they only think about getting to the restaurant and getting food. The people I deal with are hungry and skeptical of my ability to drive when they come in and usually are very protective of their vehicles. Between people who think that the rules don’t apply to them and those who don’t understand the fundamental dynamic that I have a life and don’t want to be working until 12AM if its not worth it, there are a lot of people who get angry due to misconceptions.

Just to give you some rationale behind why some parking lots are all valet so you don’t become one of these immature people: a restaurant or venue wants to be able to fit as many cars in a space as possible, ie. more cars=more people=more money spent. valets don’t need to follow the lines of the parking spaces and can achieve this endeavor to save space, especially in very small parking lots where if people were left to their own devices would be just chaos and the possibility of a scrape or accident is much more likely. Having someone who parks up to a hundred and fifty cars a day limits the likelihood of accidents.

Despite these reasons it is almost every day that someone drives into a valet only lot and either completely blows through the signs which only means that now I have to go and find them making more work for me and them, or they arrive and immediately jump to the phrase “You mean I can’t park my own car?”, the answer is no, and in the time it takes for me to explain why you could already be walking inside and getting food. My job is made to make everything run smoother and the longer you’re talking to me just makes this a hassle. The next most common thing is when I ask if the key is in the car. Most of the cars I park have some kind of automatic button start and the key fobs are necessary if I want to bring your car back, between people walking inside with their fob and turning off their car and those people who when I ask look at me like I’m some kind of moron and just say “It’s running already.” like I’ve never operated a vehicle before, poor key fob management amounts to 60% of the issues that make this less efficient of a process.

One place I work only ever has two valets in the parking lot and about 150 people coming in every night, if it’s busy there is a possibility that we will leave your car with the keys in it and the window down just to be sure we don’t lock the keys in the car. One time this guy was furious with us for doing this when he came out to get something from his car calling us assholes for parking too close to another car ie. doing our job, don’t be this person, we are standing right there and believe it or not, not all valets are thieves, we will park your car in a moment correctly once the fifty other cars we are trying to put somewhere are taken care of.

Valeting is basically car Tetris and the whole idea is to have a system to do this for the best of everyone one involved, any cars that get damaged on our watch is the company’s fault, so the risk of just letting you park or take your car is a risk that we have to deal with for our jobs.

Anyway, I guess I just wanted to say that, also be kind and tip us like three or more bucks, we work hard to keep your cars safe and save you the time of negotiating a busy parking lot two $ is apparently the standard but it’s not 1980 anymore and one dollar is kind of an insult unless you’re literally going to be inside for a minute. Another thing is that we are standing outside and waiting for you to be done eating and having a good time, expect the possibility that if you’re going to be at a restaurant past a certain time we will want to go home and bring you back your keys when we finish.
The last thing is that it’s the restaurant’s policy to have valet parking I made no decisions about this other than it’s my job.

I could go into more detail like if your not staying for reasons like dropping someone off or picking someone up, don’t park in the place that we take the cars away, one time I jumped into a car to park it and there was a mother and five kids in the back who thought I was abducting them. Fun Fact if your in a valet only lot and I see a car not parked I will try to park it. Be kind to the valet and have a day.

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Johnny5

<———continued from Johnny 4

The Ragallion Quadrant Skipper, broken of it’s restraints, cruised into the digital traffic lanes. The massive ship then unfurled two solar sails, catching the light and radiation to further power the thrusters.

All sorts of bells and whistles were going off in the huge chrome and white cockpit. Johnny jammed the thruster pedal with his boot and slammed the energy retention intake to maximum. A wide smile broke over his face, his eyes bulging, and the veins in his head pulsing. He did not heed any kind of protocol or decorum; simply on manual controls, Johnny’s head pounded with the thoughts a subwoffer might have during a series of deep base drones.

Pat’s voice came over the Radio after a calming series of notes amid the warnings and flashing lights.

“Hey man, I’m gonna try to talk you down. It might be kinda imposable, and you’re probably freaking out a little right now-”

Johnny’s smile and expression remained in his rageful mania as he grasped the controls to the multi-billion Credit vessel. Only his eyes moved, his pinpoint pupils and irises sliding to the right side of his head towards the mic.

“-but, you need to try to think about the consequences to your actions. It’s not to late to just stop and let me take over. You can calm down from this, I’ve seen it, It’s a fail safe for the solders so they don’t go Bonkers, you just need to focus on stopping and calming down.”

Johnny’s brain did not hear a word after “think about the consequences”. He imagined continuing to pilot the vessel across the spaceport towards the docking station. He thought about how when the ship collided with the observation room, the consequence would be a massive explosion.The Regallion was a large ship with thousands of gallons of fuel along with the reactor coils from it’s solar array. The wreckage and destruction would likely result in docking bay 27’s shut down for years.¬† Surely this would be enough to accomplish his goal of killing Pat.

Gripping the controls and grinding his teeth, he pressed forward on the accelerator. A freighter vessel on an intersecting course pulled up just before the space-ship thundered past, it’s V9-TX main thrusters had the force to send the small (more modern) Carrillion¬† spinning out into space as the Ragallion blew by.

Johnny thought about how much Pat deserved to die for his transgression and like the pinpoints of his pupils, his vision was in a direct tunnel towards reaching that goal. That was until one thought floated through his narrow gaze. To be fair it was part of a larger feeling. It went something like this:

“killpatkillpatkillpatkillpatkillpatkillpatfasterfasterfasterfasterfasterKill Pat I’m going to explode KILL PAT KILL-”

Like the rest of a dubstep song after the drop, his addled thoughts and anger all crashed together into a cacophony of chaos.

“I’m going to explode.”

Johnny pulled his foot back from the accelerator. His brain was suddenly conflicted.

“But I need to kill Pat.”

“But I’m going to die”

“Why do I need to kill Pat?”

“Because…he …did something”

The Regallion, still at a hideous momentum for the spaceport, hurtled on as docking bay 27 neared.

Johnny3

<————— Continued from Johnny2

The Carillion Orion lurched upwards towards the docking bay. Johnny rubbed his eyes to combat the yellow spots which had formed on his vision. The weight of his hangover was a constant pressure but at this point the act of piloting was second nature to him. Carillions all had the same thruster and control layout to each other, and they were a dime a dozen. The seats were big puffy leather; everything clicked into place, the buttons were an old school style, raised lighted cubes which clicked in and out of place. The screens were all a green hue as he input the coordinates and path of motion through the busy space port to the private valet hanger.

“Okay” Said Johnny to himself as a welling in his stomach began to quicken his focus. As the ship made its way, larger ships with outboard docking passed as the blinking lights and windows of the station fluttered by from the huge mass of the floating city.

He eased forward on the long lever at the center console, slowly and deftly navigating between cruisers and digital checkpoints.

Suddenly a Velock Nightwhisp darted out from the underside of the fueling station. It was a smaller ship, modified from the Velock F-75 fightercraft. It blazed across the surface of the station without regard for the Digital Traffic Navigation Systems (DTNS). Several whirrs and whistles went off on the Orion’s consoles and Johnny had only a split second to react. Largely it felt like his body was some other entity but it at least had a better reaction time than his mind. In a flash he somehow changed the guidance to manual and jerked the controls up and back.

The Nightwhisp sped through his pathway, missing inches from each other. Johnny let out a gasp of relief. But, he was now not on his planned trajectory and at any second a similar scenario could occur. Two Station Five interceptors whizzed past moments later in pursuit of the nightwhisp as a large freighter passed overhead. Johnny looked about the cabin at the sensor arrays. They showed no more incoming ships. Calmly he returned to his set course.

“Asshole.” said Johnny, pushing forward on the thrusters towards the large bay of the valet hanger.

The hanger dominated the entire wing of station five, angled metal scaffolding encased several ships which had already been parked. Another Carrilion, a C-class, was detached and slowly made its way out in front of him, but this time with ample room.

Johnny passed the bays to the open one where the other ship left, passing all manor of spacecraft illuminated by orange and yellow lights in their holds.

Shifting the thrusters, he spun the ship around and used the reverse engines to back slowly into the bay. This was without a doubt the hardest part of the job, one hair off or askew could cause the couplings in the bay to miss a sturdy hold on the craft.

Most ships now a days had reverse guidance systems with sensors and correction codes. The Carrilion Orion was by no means a modern craft. It had one camera and a dot in the center. As Johnny jammed the lever to reverse, the screen in front of him lit up and showed the docking bay.

Johnny’s small spike in adrenaline from the near miss with the Nightwhisp commingled with a concern for the yellow spots which seemed to appear on the edge of his vision. The welling in his stomach grew and he felt a tingling in his forearms and fingers as he moved to the joystick next to the main controls. His head still pounded with the dehydration of his hangover as he channeled his energy to use calm, smooth movements. The pimple on his forehead hurt as he concentrated on putting the little red dot exactly on the center of the back wall of the dock.

This precise task frustrated him beyond any reason yet necessity and some divine power flowed through Johnny. Against all the negative factors blaring out for attention, Johnny was surprised with himself as he eased the ship back with perfect precision.

He let out a tired groan and fell back in his chair when he heard the couplings latching onto the fuselage.

The radio suddenly squawked from the controls of the Orion.

“Yo man, bring back the ship in dock 556.”

Johnny recognized the voice as his co-worker Pat.

“Rodger.” he said, disengaging the ignition key and standing very quickly to get to the transporter outside the bay dock.

His head rushed and the yellow flashed before his eyes in a moment of disorientation.

Gaining his bearings, he slammed the button to the radio again and yelled into the mic. “WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU GIVE ME!”

Pat did not reply for a long few seconds.

His voice came back, crackly over the mic of the Carillion.

“Ohhh.”

“OH WHAT!” screamed johnny, the tingling in his arms taking over his shoulders and neck.

“I think…I may have accidentally given you combat stims.”

To be continued

Johnny2

<——–Continued from Johnny 1

“Hey man, I’m sorry.” Johnny said, stepping off the raised disk, his legs feeling like jello, his head feeling like fifty pounds. “I have a wicked hangover.”

His co-worker’s name was Pat. Pat was a bigger guy. Pat laughed.

“I hear that. You look like you were hit by a truck.” (trucks were outdated, but the expression still hung around)

Johnny smiled slightly and sat next to Pat at the control table. The sudden rest brought Johnny down on his elbows against the console. He groaned.

“Is it really that bad?” said Pat.

“I’d be fine if the window broke and I was sucked out into space.” mumbled Johnny

“Well I have some motren.”

“motren?” said Johnny, his head still firmly planted in his arms.

“If you wanted some.”

“I’ve never taken any for a hangover before.” Johnny said into the table.

“What?” said Pat. “You’ve never taken medicine for a hangover?”

Johnny looked up just to see Pat’s genuine reaction of shock.

“Nah, I only ever just rode them out.”

“That’s crazy. I never would have made it through the academy without motrin or stims.”

“To be fair, I’ve only ever had three really bad hangovers. This one might be four. I was up till Five at Dave’s unit, and I ended up sleeping on his couch until One. I had to deposit my credits at the bank and return a book before I caught an hour nap back at home. Now I”m at this here.”

Johnny thunked his head against the table, suddenly realizing that he needed to be awake. He lifted his head and nearly fell backwards as he straitened himself in the chair. Pat could see the glassy redness of Johnny’s eyes and the pain in his expression.

“Damn. Look take three of these.” Pat dug into his pocket and produced a bottle, dumped out three pills and handed them towards Johnny.

Johnny regarded the offering of three red diamond shaped pills skeptically. Sure he had worked with Pat for a few months, but he didn’t really know the guy. Those pills could be anything. They sat there, mysteriously holding any possible effect within them from poisons to hallucinogenics. Their reaction with his body was completely unknown.

But that never stopped him before.

He held out his hand meagerly and Pat flipped his hand over, dumping the caplets into Johnny’s who quickly pretended to take all three in one gulp. In reality Johnny only swallowed two, just to be safe. He snuck the third into his pocket.

Just then, the lights and warnings on the console in front of the two whirred and beeped. Pat stood, checking none of them.

“Well I guess we have one incoming.” Said Pat. “I’ll take the first one, you…you hang out for a second.”¬† Pat strolled over to the transporter and in a sudden whirr of blue energy was de-atomized from the room.

Johnny looked out the observation window to see a new elite class Vector Stromirani making its way towards the dock. Those things were F-A-S-T with two outboard V-X Jupiter rockets, sleek thrusters and paneling. The cabin interior was opulent without being to…verbose. It brought a smile to Johnny’s face to see it, they handled like second body to him, a big metal body that could break space and time but still be smooth and light on the controls. This one was orange with blue accents. If he had 38,000,000 Credits, that’s the kind of ship he would get, only in black and red.

The Vector docked for a moment in the exchange Johnny knew so well (as it was his current employment). A minute later the ship took off towards the hanger at the top of the space station. He watched the dream ship until it was cut off from his view. The thought of piloting one again left him him in a lingering daze, he even forgot his hangover for a delirious moment before it was quickly brought back to him by the sudden whirr of controls and warnings.

A pit formed in his stomach as he waited for the ID number. It started with F67- which meant it was a freighter. He sighed as he stood and looked out the window.

A Carrilian Orion. The clunkiest, most utilitarian ship that visited the station. Normally they arrived at the service dock. Dock 27 was for patrons and travelers. He turned, still bleary eyed to a small microphone on the control panel.

“F67-GTMF3.” He said into the mic “State your purpose on Station Five.”

A crackly voice returned.

“Name’s Orely, a gambler from Omega, here to see the games of chance on Station Five. I won this ship fair and square, I know it’s-”

The Orely guy continued talking long after Johnny lost interest. He wasn’t a lost freight driver.

Johnny switched off the mic and waited for the ship to dock at the bay before hopping (as well as he could “hop”) onto the transporter. In a wirr of blue energy he arrived at the staging area of the docking station. The couplings latched on to the fuselage of the Orion and the airlock door opened revealing a tall gentlemen in a white suit and a wide brimmed hat, opulently dressed. Johnny with his Mohawk, work shirt, shorts and boots looked dejectedly at the man.

Orely stepped out into the staging area towards the podium and transporter where Johnny stood.

“I say boy, do keep it close,” He said “I know it’s a piece of junk, but its my piece of junk, and there’s more where this came from…”

Orely held out a bill worth 500 units.

Johnny perked up as well as he could, making sure the bill made it safely and quickly into his shorts pocket before holding up a small plastic card on his belt. Which scanned Orely’s ID card automatically. The strange gambler mozied on past Johnny’s podium and through an automatic door to the Traveler’s Lounge.

“Have a good time on station five!” Mumbled Johnny. He looked at the door to the Hefty ship and walked through to the drivers seat.

His headache seemed to be fading as he powered up the thrusters, The couplings detached and the ship freed into space. Then the spots appeared.