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2005 09 22
I don’t want to do this anymore
A sexy lady wearing pin striped pants knocks on the plastic glass. Samuel looks up from the newspaper and comes out.
“I can’t park in my usual spot.”
Sam remembers this lady but he doesn’t quite remember her looking quite as memorable as she does now. He glances over to where she usually parks. “A car is there already?”
“No, not really. There’s a tree growing in the middle of it.”
They walk over. Her car is idling perpendicular to the open space. There is a small tree growing almost dead centre.
“Look at that,” Sam says.
“Yes,” she says, “but I need to park and go. I’m quite late.”
“I will cut it down,” Sam says.
Sam returns from his kiosk. She is staring at him.
“I don’t have a saw or anything,” Sam says.
“Pull it out then.”
Sam tries. “Only a remarkably strong man could pull this out.”
She tries and succeeds in stripping the final few leaves off of it. “Help me,” she says.
They try and manage only to break off all the branches so that the tree is now a crooked blackboard pointer. They stare at it.
“I’m really late. I have nothing against trees but this isn’t where trees should be growing.”
“I agree,” Sam says. “It’s an unusual spot for a tree to establish its roots.”
She bends down, not at the knees, and begins to snap and twist off the remaining tree bit by bit. Samuel looks at her bum bobbing in front of him. There is no visible panty line.
“Can you help me?”
Sam takes over, until it is a green and white splinter broken through the black asphalt. Then it is under a car.
“Can you make sure you pull out that tree so that it doesn’t grow back?” she asks, getting out of her parked car.
“This just isn’t the right place for trees.” She locks the door. She turns to Samuel but doesn’t say anything for a moment. Then she says, “If possible could you pull out the tree, or at least what’s left of it, as intact as possible?”
“I can try.” Samuel looks at his watch. “You’d better go.”
“Shall I run ahead of you so that you can follow in my wake?”
She looks at him blankly.
“The way dolphins sometimes swim behind large boats.”
“Oh right,” she replies. After a pause: “Does that work?”
“We can only try.”
Samuel begins to run. He heads across the parking lot towards the grove of office buildings. He doesn’t look over his shoulder behind him but something is following him. He can feel it.

There are balloon rides now at the parking lot.
James the hungriest hobo in the world, floppy hat askew on his matted hair, stretches industrial strength matte grey balloons around the exhaust pipes of idling cars. They grow into homunculus shaped bulging monstrosities lighter than air but almost bigger than mailboxes.
It is winter.
Samuel is inside the kiosk checking the hockey scores when he isn’t outside parking or retrieving cars.
A boy and girl knock show up at Samuel’s door.
“My brother would like a balloon, please,” the girl says.
Samuel unties one from the handle of the Jeep Cherokee parked next to his kiosk.
“I think it looks like a fava bean,” Samuel says giving it to the boy.
The boy takes it by the string and looks up at it.
“Would you like one too?”
The girl shrugs.
Samuel gives her one as well. It looks like a pea. She hands it to her brother.
The wind howls and kicks up the dust of snow off the ground.
James the hobo returns with a cup of coffee in his hand.
“This is James,” Samuel says.
James hurries away.
Samuel is about to laugh when he notices the boy looks afraid all of a sudden.
Immediately, Samuel unties another balloon and gives it to him. A gust of wind carries the boy away up into the air. James the hobo appears out of nowhere and grabs the boy’s legs but James’ stomach is as empty as his pockets which are as empty as his hat as the coffee that he had brought was for Samuel but the sudden guests had made him shy. The coffee was atop of a fender of an old Toyota Camry.
They floated up slowly and more-or-less straight up.
James looked down, watched his hat flutter down.
“Little boy!” he cried, looking up.
The boy made a noise
James now had only one hand wrapped around the boy’s left ankle.
He yelled, “If you look down you can see all the cars and they look like toys… and look… look at all the empty spaces.”
[email this story] Posted by Paul Hong on 09/22 at 09:00 AM

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