Lemon Grove Killer Van

We worked in the back of a great big van, more like a delivery truck. Not as big as a moving van, but far bigger than a passenger vehicle. Workbenches, grinders, air and power tools of all kinds, bins of parts and whatnot. It was convenient for work, being totally mobile. For driving, not so much. The van was awkward, felt top-heavy, and it as a nightmare to back up. I could always hear stuff shifting, rattling, pinging as we hit bumps or turned corners.

After lunch at a new place one day I headed out the back exit of the parking lot.

There was no back exit.

There was, instead, a one-way drive from some other parking lot, dumping into this one. A single lane, with parking spaces (angled the other direction) on our left, between the driving space and the shops, and with a sidewalk on the right, between us and the 3-way intersection.

There was a car, facing us, and a driver looking confused-trending-toward-annoyed at the giant white van trying to go the wrong way up the drive.

I’d barely made it safely between the rows of cars behind me when I was driving forward. I’d no idea how to back safely through them. The chap in front of us didn’t look like he was backing down.

To my right, I noted the nanosecond during which the light from the cross street had turned red, but the lights for the main street hadn’t changed to green. Yet.

I cranked the wheel to the right, bounded off the curb, and shot through the intersection running both red lights on the wrong side of the street we weren’t supposed to be on anyway.

A block later I hazarded a glance in the rear-view mirror.

The light was changing again.

Not a car had moved.

We didn’t go back there for lunch again.

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