I circled the parking lot, senses keen on spotting that elusive parking spot, alert for the family, pushing a pram, shopping bags in tow, child in arms to make room for the day’s haul as they returned to their oversized suburban chariot, the sort of car the dad wouldn’t drive to work without fear of comments about driving a woman’s car, but the mom considers her domain so he doesn’t get to drive it anyway; their experience for the day is over, and it would be best if they left soon, vacating a new spot for him to take. I pace my approach, waiting for the unsuspecting family to clamber into their car and make their get-away. That’s right, the hatch to the trunk is closing. Time to slide up and claim the territory. As the family continues to adjust their seat belts, distribute the sustaining snack to fend off a melt-down on the ride home, I smile as the specter of another traveler appears in my rear view mirror. Flipping on the turn signal, I let the world know this spot is mine. Back off. Find your own treasure island.
The family backs out into the tight lane, easing past me. I smile, nod in that knowing way of the victor about to descend on the victim. I inch forward, slowly, despite the honking encouragement of the two cars now lined up behind me. Another smile in the rear view mirror. I win.
Small car. Sudden screech of tires. Flash of red. Sports car. Cutting me off. Stealing my parking spot. Where did it come from? I block the car, roll down my window. “Hey!”
She steps out of the car, matching red dress. She flips her blond locks over one shoulder. She tips her sunglasses down. Stares at me with impossibly blue eyes. She smiles, that victor smile, knowing the jackal has defeated the lion.