The old red van rattled up the narrow driveway. Wheels spun hard to make the steep ascent and shot out rocks like a wake of water behind a boat. The van slowed, turned right and parked behind the apartment building. Turning left would have placed the vehicle in an equally empty lot belonging to the neighbor, Randy.
Randy was a tightly-wound, anti-establishment, gun fanatic who patrolled the shared driveway for strangers and friendlies, alike. They were all forbidden from using the gravel drive which also happened to be the only access point for parking along the busy street. He was insanely militant about the use of the driveway, calling whenever an unknown or known vehicle was parked in either parking area.
One unfortunate day when I didn’t answer my phone because I never answer my phone when he calls thanks to caller-id, Randy came over for a visit.
The doorbell rang no less than 20 times in a row. I saw through the glass panes on the side of the door a tall man with long grey hair, in a plaid flannel shirt. Hairy knees stuck out from holes in his jeans, and uncared-for toes wiggled from his flip flops.
“Hey Puney, we have a problem out in my driveway. You get that car moved before I move it for you.”
“Randy, that car belongs to a police officer who is currently inside taking statements for an incident. Would you like me to send him over after we are done to talk with you?”
I looked down at the gun shaped bulge at his hip, knowing how he felt about the importance of his second amendment right and how adamantly he also felt against registering his arms. He had explained his passionate views on both topics multiple times, usually following a parking related complaint. I quickly made a calculated guess that he would avoid contact with the police, if possible.
He narrowed his eyes at me, his pupils were already pinpoints, and considered my offer.
“Alright, he can stay. I don’t want any trouble with the cops. Just make sure nobody else uses my drive. Got it?”
Oh yes, Randy, I’ve got it now. You’re a damned bully who takes pleasure out of pushing around anyone without an illegal gun stuffed in their pants or a legal one strapped to their ankle. You gain a sense of self-importance through control of the gravel driveway and lord over it like a corrupt king who is drunk on power; or in Randy’s case, high on whatever prescription pain killer he can get from DopeMan.
“Yeah, I got it, Randy.”
As I pulled the door shut, I almost added, guess what, your driveway isn’t all that great anyways.
When I see that he is calling again, I remembered just what I should have said last time. Today, I assume, it is about the red van and the ongoing unauthorized use of his driveway. The phone buzzes and I wait for voicemail to pick up, saved once again by caller id.
“Puney, I am without words. A red van has been using the driveway for the past two weeks and you know I don’t want your people using my driveway. Yet, you insist on continuing to allow this to happen…”
The message went on for another two minutes but I deleted it after about nine seconds. I had to get back to valet parking behind the building and waiting for the big blow up, which was expected within the month.