“Have you been paying attention to the news out of The Woodlands lately?” Jeff asked, “I think the place is cursed.”
I told him I hadn’t noticed any curses. I haven’t been paying much attention, but I drive through the master-planned splendor that is The Woodlands, Texas every day on my way to work, and I haven’t noticed any obvious signs of a hex. There is some construction along my route that has part of the road closed down to one lane going either way, but that is more of a life-around-Houston thing than an obvious curse.
“First there was that woman drove into the lake the other week,” he said.
I remembered that, since it happened right next to my office. I never heard what caused the accident, but from the sound of it she was dead or impaired before her car left the road. I took it as a case of bad luck probably compounded by bad health.
“And that kid got shot in that parking lot,” he continued.
“What kid? What parking lot?”
“Off Woodlands Parkway. You didn’t hear about that?”
“I drive that way every day. Nuh-uh. What happened?”
“A couple of kids in their early twenties got in an altercation, and one of them pulled out a gun.”
“Yeah, but that stuff just happens from time to time no matter where you are.”
“And then there was that guy who parked his car on Market Street and shot himself.”
“You’re kidding!” I said. This one had me amazed. I’m fond of Market Street, with its upscale boutiques and restaurants. There is a lot of parking around Market Street, but a limited number of spaces to park on Market Street. “You mean he actually found a place to park on Market Street?”
Jeff just looked at me.
I felt defensive. “Most of the time I end up parking behind Market Street or in the grocery store parking lot close to Market Street. But those aren’t good places to make a spectacle of yourself. I’m impressed that he found a place to park in order to do what he was planning.” I was thinking that the guy had probably circled the parameter of Market Street for an hour or more to find a spot. At some point, it had to seem like it wasn’t worth the trouble, but maybe he was one of those people who doesn’t change his once it is made up. It was tragic, but one has to admire that kind of persistence.
I have the attention span of a gnat, myself. Had it been me planning my own demise that day, I would have given up looking for parking on Market Street proper after circling it twice and ended up parking behind it back by the bank on its perimeter. Once I parked I would have headed toward the park in the middle of Market Square where I could still make a spectacle of myself, and been distracted by the Borders Books on the corner. I would think that for all my heartache, I deserved one last cup of coffee before I bought the farm. Ultimately I would end up on the second level sipping a cup of a Seattle’s Best latté, thumbing through some random book that I would decide I really wanted to finish before I died to see how it ended. I would buy the book and skulk back toward my car, planning to come back and finish the job at a later date. No doubt the book would be part of a series that I would then feel compelled to read in it’s entirely, and my death would have to be postponed indefinitely. So that would be that.
My husband closed his eyes and his shoulders began to shake with silent laughter. “You are a wicked, wicked woman and you’re going to hell.”
“What? You’ve never parked on Market Street. I’ve only done it once, and it was because I was in the right place when another car pulled out. Yet he made plans that involved a good, public parking space and he managed to pull it off. Don’t tell me that’s not impressive.”
“It is,” Jeff agreed. “You’re right.”