Waiting for Herbie

I sat on the little wall in front of my office building and waited for Herbie Schwarz to pick me up for lunch. Herbie always ran late, but I didn't mind. It was a great spring day, about 70 degrees with a nice breeze. The women from the CPA firms, law firms and insurance companies strolled around the streets. I felt content to sit and look.

A black Pontiac Grand Prix SE pulled into the parking spot on the street in front of me. I looked inside and saw a young woman. She looked nice through her window. Mid-twenties with brown hair and wire rimmed glasses. I bet she'd be very pretty when she got out of her car.

I waited...and waited. It takes me about five seconds get out of a car after I park. Set the brake and go. Not with women though. You know how it is, whether they are parking or pulling out. She sat there and collected herself. Just looked straight ahead. No hurry. She looked into the rearview mirror. Observing herself, checking herself out, I guess. This always drives me mad in a parking lot as I wait for the woman to leave her parking space so I can grab it.

She ran her fingers through her hair a couple of times, and then decided she needed to comb it. She reached into her purse and took out one of those long combs and pulled it through her hair. Her hair looked fine to me. She glanced my way and noticed me looking at her. She frowned but kept on combing. She went back to her purse, put the comb away, and pulled out a tube of lipstick.

With lipstick poised in her right hand, she pursed her lips and tilted her head so she could get a better look at the mirror. Then she saw something on her nose, a blemish perhaps. She rubbed at it with one of the fingers of her left hand. She glanced at me again and saw I was still looking at her. I could tell from the irritated look on her face she was getting upset with me. She looked back into the rearview mirror and touched up her lipstick. I thought she was finished when she put the tube back into her purse. No, not yet. For some reason she opened her glove compartment but didn't take anything out. Stared into it for a minute and then closed it up.

I knew if I had been waiting for her to vacate a parking spot, my stomach would be churning, and I would be cursing to myself. I would be ready to scream and my blood pressure would be rising, but I would have to control myself. I found it humorous on this occasion. I wondered how long this would actually take. I should have timed her with my digital watch.

She frowned and reached around on the front seat. Obiviously, she had misplaced something. She flipped down the sun visors hopefully. Finally, she emerged from the car.

God, she looked good. She moved like a nimble cat, ready to pounce. I really couldn't stop looking at her. Really good. Great body, beautiful face, and gorgeous legs. She made it to the parking meter and started rooting in her purse for a coin. She couldn't find one. She was getting madder. She looked at me and didn't say anything, but it seemed my continuous watching was provoking her. I smiled at her in apology, but it made her more upset.

"Why don't you stop staring at me," she said loudly.

"Haven't seen anyone as slow as you in a long time."

Wrong thing to say; I didn't realize how really pissed she was. She threw her purse at me and hit me on the knee. It didn't hurt, but it surprised me.

"Take it easy, Lady," I said. "Sorry, but I couldn't believe how long it took you to get out of your car. You remind me of all those women I have to wait for in parking lots."

"Screw you," she said. "Poor baby has to wait a minute. What a jerk!"

"Let me get your purse."

"Don't touch it; get away from me."

"OK, OK," I said as she picked it up.

Then she paused and looked straight at me. She looked like she had just remembered something.

"What's your name?" she asked.


"What's your name? Didn't you understand that? Was it hard for you?"

"No, not hard, just surprising. My name is Jack White."

"Jack White?"


"Ah...You're the guy I was supposed to pick up and take to lunch. Herbie can't make it. He had an emergency."


"But there's no way I'm going to lunch with a schmuck like you."

She turned on her heel and walked back to her car. Then she opened the door, got in and drove off immediately. It took her about five seconds.

About the author:

S.D. Mulligan is a 60 year old businessman who was getting very bored, but then had some literary related experiences in Montreal in 2001 and decided to start writing. He lives in a major city in the Midwestern U.S. He tends to write flash fiction when he is stuck on longer projects, and sometimes what was part of a longer story gets taken out to be used as flash fiction.