A Performance

Please be aware that this story contains harsh language.

A beautiful array of profanities lined themselves up on the tip of his tongue, waiting to erupt. But he had promised himself not to give his daughter a lesson in vulgar vocabulary, so he sealed his lips shut as he scanned the crowded streets of Brooklyn for a parking spot.

“Oh, dad! There’s one!”

He turned and looked to the left, where his daughter and her friend pointed to a spot on the opposite side of the street.

“I’ll try and—”

He swung the wheel around and awkwardly maneuvered the minivan in what he was almost positive was an illegal U-turn. As he twisted the steering wheel, he realized that a parked car obstructed his direction. He slid the car into reverse, and thought about all the swear words he wished he could say.

“Dad, there are a bunch of cars behind us.”

He bit his tongue and slammed the car back into drive. He glanced at the time.

7:18.

Doors open at 6:30. Show starts at 7:30.

            It wasn’t his fault they were late. His daughter had long established their punctuality. He was just the victim of it: The unwilling hero, challenged to rescue them from tardiness.

But this was Brooklyn. Punctuality died in that apartment in Park Slope and was put to rest in Greenwood Cemetery, just last week.

He slammed on the gas, and craned his neck to see if the parking spot was still available. He accelerated toward the spot on the side of the road, only to watch as a BMW pulled in front of him into the space.

“Fucking dammit!”

He erupted. Immediately, a rush of torrid humiliation rushed over him and the car fell dead silent. He kept driving, and shot a glare at the thieving driver.

The girls whispered to each other in the back seat, and the clock dragged closer to 7:30.

“Oh, dad!”

“What?”

“Oh. Nothing. I thought I saw a parking space, but it wasn’t actually a parking space. Sorry.”

“It’s okay,” he said.

He circled the car around and drove toward the stadium. He got as close as he could, then pulled to the sidewalk.

“Here, just get out here, I’ll park and meet you inside.” He turned to the back seat and said to the girls, handing them their tickets.

“Here, take your tickets.”

“But you’ll miss the opening song. That’s the best part.”

He tried to act disappointed.

His daughter still believed that he was a huge fan of teenage pop music.

“I think it’ll be okay. Just snap a picture and tell me how it is.”

His daughter and her friend shut the door of the minivan, and he pulled back into the street to look for a parking place in the dense traffic of Brooklyn.