By J.D. Harlock
“Intergalactic Parking Justice is in the minutiae.”
—The Intergalactic Parking Enforcement Handbook by Bolous, the Preeminent Intergalactic Parking Enforcement Specialist
Bolous and Hamia often found themselves caught up in the fervour of intergalactic parking discourse, wrangling endlessly over the intricacies of regulation historicity and the latest in legislation—all the way from the lower tailback tribunals to the lofty halls of the Empyreanic Traffic and Parking Court of the Known and Unknown Universe (ETPCOTKUU for short). There was no doubt in their minds that in these late-night screaming bouts that stretched into the morning and were prone to carry on into their office hours and even their patrol beats was the scrutiny required—nay, demanded—to dole out Intergalactic Parking Justice.
This confrontation was no different, as, in the course of a side-moon laser fight with double parking insurgents, they came across a vehicle that, no doubt, had to be dishonored with fourteen of their lovingly hand-written tickets. But there was a (some would say) minor disagreement on whether or not a fifteenth was necessary owing to the vehicle’s proper positioning (or lack thereof) with regards to the galaxy they were in at that moment.
Was this vehicle right side up or upside down?
For that to be answered, the two resorted to the authoritative texts on the subject, all of which seemed to be in disagreement on the matter, each trying to establish precedence over the other in jeremiads of jurisprudence and jargon.
That meant that the final say came down to the officers on patrol. Bolous and Hamia now had to determine the compass of this galaxy to establish if a fifteenth offence had been committed against the honour and grace of Lady Intergalactic Parking Justice.
“Without a doubt, we are right side up, this vehicle is upside down, and the galactic compass is thus set, adding a fifteenth offense to this miscreant’s unimpressive record,” Bolous proclaimed as he brought the tip of his index finger to his tongue, moistening it lightly, before carefully turning to a new page in his lovingly handcrafted ticket book and pulling out the custom-tailored fountain pen that had been proudly handed down for generations from parking-enforcement-officer-father to parking-enforcement-officer-son.
“Wait!” Hamia placed her hand on Bolous’, denying him the climax of juridical release he so needed. “Doesn’t seem right to me.”
“And why is that?”
“This vehicle may very well be upside down…” Hamia caressed the congruously circular spaceship. “But is the universe right side up?”
“That’s absurd!” Bolous scoffed then paused to consider the tactical gear-piercing question.
“Actually, you might be onto something, Hamia. We’ll need to consult S.L.R. Kramzus’ foundational text on universal spatial positioning: The Foundational Text of Universal Spatial Positioning.
“Would his complementary foundational text on universal spatial positioning: The Complimentary Foundational Text of Universal Spatial Positioning, be of help?”
“Of course!” Bolous nodded and pointed his finger upwards (or possibly downwards or even sideways, as that had yet to be determined) with a self-satisfied affirmation, aware that within this inquiry, intergalactic parking enforcement—nay, intergalactic parking history—would be made.
“How about his supplementary foundational text on universal spatial positioning: The Supplementary Foundational Text of Universal Spatial Position? Would that be of help?”
“Indubitably!” Bolous nodded again, pointing his finger upwards (or downwards or even sideways). This, he knew, without a doubt, was what intergalactic parking enforcement was all about.
Behind them, a Valor Corp HWSS, finding no other spot on the intergalactic highway and no officer to stop them, parked on top of a United Universe Talon Space Cruiser (SC), the thrust of the engine blasters throwing the Talon SC into a spin that had it crashing into the Ceux Battlecruiser under it, then the Sea Ladies Salvage Ship to the left of it, then the grak–splor-g cargoship to the right of it, and then finally back into a Valor Corp. HWSS, which nudged it ever so slightly that one of the HyperDrive pods’ atoms gently brushed against the HWSS, halting its hyperspeed run and having it materialize right before the Ravager Fleet that it was so pristinely calculated to miss, thus crashing into it and unleashing an intergalactic congestion apocalypse….
It was at around this time that *¥+¥!*, a member of the €£¥*$ species and the owner of said congruously circular spaceship, returned via interplanetary space dilation to find officers Bolous and Hamia engaged in a spirited debate on the Philosophy of Parking with good old fashioned fisticuffs.
“Parking by its very nature upholds an intersectional framework as laid out by the esteemed…” Bolous swung at Hamia, only for her to step aside at just the right moment for Bolous’ fist to miss her entirely and connect instead with *¥+¥!*’s ejaculatory suction proboscis, blinding the six million transdimensional eyes within. “…Dr. Thadeus Sturgeon, PhD.”
“Intergalactic Parking Enforcement Grandmaster Salah Al Saffaf begs to differ.” Hamia raised her fist, preparing to throw a punch. “—Ah, there he is!”
“What’s going on, officers?!” *¥+¥!* cried out as his tentacles furtively rubbed his throbbing six million transdimensional eyes.
“Ah, my good man,” Bolous placed his hand on one of *¥+¥!*’s tentacles, only for the excreted slime to have it to slide right off. “We have been debating whether to hand you a ticket considering your vehicle positioning with respect to this galaxy.”
“Come again?” Six million transdimensional eyes turned on Bolous and blinked in unison. “Is there nothing better you two have to attend to?”
“And through hours (some would say days) of universal spatial positioning inquest…” Bolous raised his free hand as if he was reaching out to the stars. “…we’ve determined, without the shadow of a doubt, that your vehicle is not upside down.”
“Yes!” *¥+¥!* exclaimed.
“But that it is not right side up either.”
“No!” *¥+¥!* exclaimed again.
“I’m afraid this means you are in gross violation of intergalactic parking law, and this infraction will be met with the full fist of INTERGALACTIC PARKING JUSTICE.”
“But… but… my ship is congruently circular!” *¥+¥!*’s ejaculatory suction proboscis ejaculated wildly. “There is no right side up or upside down!”
Bolous and Hamia glanced over at each before proclaiming: “Nonsense!”
They placed their hands on their hips in perfect synchronization. “The ratiocinate of Intergalactic Parking Justice is infallible!”
“No!” *¥+¥!*’s rectal orifices moistened as he fell to his tentacles just in time to dodge the shrapnel from the grak-splor-g cargo ship that was exploding. “Officers, what does this ticket mean?”
“Mean?” Bolous rubbed his round, excretion-drenched, clean-shaven face. “What do you ‘mean’ by ‘mean’?”
“How will I be punished for it?!” *¥+¥!*’s tentacles convulsed, discharging €£¥*$ excretion in a most disorderly manner. “Er, sorry about that…”
“Ah! let me see,” Bolous scribbled methodical calculations onto space with his index finger purely to impress his audience with the mathematics that he had failed back at the academy, and to this day could not perform. “You’ll have to commit to 10,000 years of community service on this galaxy’s home planet.”
*¥+¥!*’s brought his tentacles to his simultaneously-leaping three hearts.
“How much would that be in €£¥*$ years?”
“A day.” Bolous nodded, quite sure of his mathematics. “And if you behave extra-well, it could only be half-a-day.”
“A day?!” *¥+¥!* discharged even more excretion. “Just a day? Again, er, sorry about that….”
Bolous, blinking through the excretion oozing down his round, clean-shaven skin, felt the need to clear his throat and repeat himself. “If you behave well, it could only be half-a-day.”
“Not a day.” Hamia felt the need to correct Bolous as the hair began to fall out of her excretion-drenched head. “Two-three days. It’s 10,000-20,000 years after all.”
“Oh, what a joy!” *¥+¥!*’s rectal orifice erupted en suite, letting it all out in relief. “For a moment there, I thought I would have to spend the rest of my lives in the fourteenth belt of the Intergalactic Parking Enforcement Internment Galaxy….”
“…And for the other fourteen tickets we’re handing you, you’ll have to be imprisoned for around 100-500 years,” Bolous remarked offhandedly before turning to Hamia, just as an involuntary laser charge from the battlecruiser blasted by, just barely missing him. “Give or take….”
“100-500 years?!” *¥+¥!*’s six million transdimensional eyes went wide,
“And those 500-1000 years are in €£¥*$ time by the way.” Bolous glanced back and wiggled his excretion/ejaculation-drenched finger at *¥+¥!*. “So don’t do it again. It’s bad, you understand?”
“500-1000 years?!” *¥+¥!*’s six million transdimensional eyes went wider.
“Yes, I made a mistake.” Bolous brushed the air carelessly with his hand. “Something about not carrying the square root onto the hypotenuse. Really, I have a more important matter to attend to. So can you just wait there till the Parking Enforcement Death Force teleports here?”
“What?!” *¥+¥!*’s six million transdimensional eyes exploded.
“Yes, what?” Bolous eyed Hamia with utter contempt. “20,000-30,000 days? How dare you?! Did you forget the precedent set in the asteroid appellate court off the moons of Alihambra!”
“Ha! You haven’t been up keeping on your daily judicial briefs?” Hamia pointed upward (or downwards or sideways) in orgasmic zeal. “That was undone only moments ago in the what will no doubt be the landmark THE PEOPLE OF THE HIPPODROME GALAXY vs. THE TELEPORTING HARLEQUIN COSTUME SHOP & THE POCKET-DIMENSION CLOWN CAR case at the Empyreanic Traffic and Parking Court of the Known and Unknown Universe (ETPCOTKUU for short)! See!”
Hamia pulled out the transmitter she had been hiding behind her back for this very moment and flaunted his mistake in his face.
“What?!” The color drained out of Bolous’ face. “This can’t be!”
“You always were a dawdler when it came to Intergalactic Parking Legislation.” Hamia arched backward, laughing maniacally. “And you’ve never even read LMX POXYZ’s deep dive into every single intergalactic parking enforcement infraction (and the reasoning thereof) in the known and unknown universe: LMX POXYZ’s Deep Dive Into Every Into Every Single Intergalactic Parking Enforcement Infraction (And the Reasoning Thereof) in the Known and Unknown Universe: A Brief Introduction.
“Why, you…” Bolous swung again at Hamia to restore his juridical honor in what he had now affirmed would be a determining discourse to the death. “Intergalactic Parking Justice will be had!”
He then let out a primal scream to declare a debate that historians would later note changed Intergalactic Parking Enforcement History—nay, Intergalactic Parking History itself—forever.
In the meantime, *¥+¥!* realizing now was the time to make his escape, dilated into his congruently circular vehicle and drove off as fast as he could away from the long appendage of Lady Intergalactic Parking Justice—before accidentally crashing into the still-hurtling Talon SC….
That’s because his vehicle was indeed upside down.
J.D. Harlock is a Syrian Lebanese Palestinian writer and editor based in Beirut. In addition to his posts at Wasifiri, as an editor-at-large, and at Solarpunk Magazine, as a poetry editor, his writing has been featured in Strange Horizons, Star*Line, and the SFWA Blog. You can always find him on Twitter and Instagram posting updates on his latest projects.
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