By: Michael Gigandet
“There are two drivers to watch for,” my mother told me when she was teaching me to drive. “…little men in hats and women wearing glasses and scarves. They’ll run you over every time.” I was young enough to listen, and she was young enough to pass for my sister. One of us was old enough to endure the men in her life who ran over her every time.
I am riding shotgun in a Cadillac driven by the law firm’s senior partner, old Mr. Jordan (pronounced Jerr-dunn the Southern way). He is a small man in a hat, and we are hurtling through a shopping mall parking lot. I’m pressing my imaginary brake pedal as he shoots by an open slot next to handicapped parking.
“Now you know I like the afflicted as well as the next man, but bless their hearts, they can’t help it if in their terrible (turrr-a-bull) condition and all they come stumbling out of their car and bang their doors into somebody.
“Besides most people who park in handicap are on the heavy side and you know they are not going to be able to squeeze between vehicles without banging doors…Bless their hearts.”
How he sees over the dashboard is a mystery because Mr. Jordan is not more than 5 feet 5 and wears a wide-brimmed Stetson with a red feather in the band.
An ivory door knob affixed to the steering wheel lets Mr. Jordan drive with one hand, spinning the wheel as if he is drawing circles on a chalkboard. He slouches into his door like a pillow which has collapsed into the corner of a couch.
Ahead, several unhandicapped people scatter out of our way, some of them pumping their arms like steam locomotives.
“When you drive this fast you don’t have to worry about riff raff waitin’ ‘round in parking lots looking to stage a pedestrian accident with an expensive vehicle. They won’t chance a real injury (in-dreee).”
An old woman applying herself to the back of a loaded grocery cart appears.
Mr. Jordan taps his horn. “Safety first…Want to make sure she sees me.”
She glowers at him as we zoom by; he will get no cookies at that grandma’s house.
“Madame.” Just to show there are no hard feelings he gives her a rakish wave of the hand. “I think I sued her once.”
Mr. Jordan has practiced law in Nashville now for 50 years. Maybe he did sue her. “You get to learn how people are in the suing business,” he says.
Mr. Jordan wheels the Caddy into a spot between a Mercedes and a Lexus. “I always park next to people with money. They wouldn’t dare bang their doors.”
As we get out, Mr. Jordan smacks his door into the Mercedes, and I look away before he sees me. Maybe my mother could have been right about some things. In the distance, the cars come and go.
Michael Gigandet is a lawyer living on a farm in middle Tennessee. He has been published by the Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Reedsy, Spelk Fiction, OrangeBlushZine, Transfigured and Potato Soup Journal. He has published stories in collections by Palm Sized Press, Pure Slush and Down In The Dirt.
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