photo of parking ticket dispenser

Where Only Nothing is Free by Tyler Rice

Welcome to the Goodwill General Caring Hospital parking ticket pay center. I hope you are having a nice day. Please insert your orange ticket with the stripe facing up and to the right. Processing. Your total is seven dollars. Please insert cash or credit card. Your card cannot be read. Please try again. Your card cannot be read. Please place your card in me with the stripe facing up and to the right. Thank you. Your card is being processed. Click. Click. Click. Sorry, your card cannot be processed. You may pay with cash, or coins, or try a different card. I accept American Express, VISA, MasterCard, Discover, and many, many more. Sorry, I do not accept that card. Your total is now fourteen dollars. If you would like to enter your routing number, I can just take the money from your account later. Sorry, I do not accept bills with slightly folded corners. Perhaps you could type in your billing address and your place of work and your employer could wire me the money. Do not get angry with me, sir. It is not my fault your wife was mauled by a panther and has hematoma. Sorry, I do not accept anything larger than a twenty. Yes, a hundred will be fine. I do not have change today. Sorry. Processing. Please take your ticket. Thank you for paying, and please come again.

Tyler Rice is currently a senior Creative and Professional Writing major at Carnegie Mellon University. He was unpublished, prior to this piece. He has no idea what he’ll do for the rest of his life. Bartend, probably.

Lead image“Rick Rolla” (via Flickr user j.)