For Fabian

They should have known better than to hire me as valet. But hell I needed the job. I’m good with cars, and I’ve never had so much as a speeding ticket. Okay that one is a lie, I’ve had about two my whole life. Now let me be clear, I have a lead foot. I rarely ever go the speed limit. But those moments don’t count if you don’t get caught right? 

     And this valet job paid a decent amount. It was like being a waiter, only I’m bringing people their cars instead of plates of food. I once had an ex that was a server. He loved it, but fuck that. There were too many orders to remember, and one smart remark would make me want to hurl food at a customer’s face. My temper was too short and reflexes too fast to put up with as much stress as he dealt with. That’s why I work here. People understand that their cars, their precious symbols of wealth, was in your hands. Just don’t loose their keys. That’s how the last person got fired. She was dim-witted and we were just waiting for the right opportunity to get rid of her. She lost the keys to some business CEO who drove a brand new Jaguar, that he had bought off the lot less than a week ago. I don’t think we’ve ever found them. Maybe she pocketed them and left — that CEO was notoriously rude anyway.  

     The night was sort of slow, and I was bored out of my mind. Until some excitement happened . . . 

     A brand new Ashton Martin rolled up, and I was the only valet out that night. I put on my best customer-service face and walked up to the car, ready to take the keys from the driver. But the face that appeared as the window rolled down made my heart damn near stop.  

     It was Mr. Cashet, my ex’s father. This man was single-handedly responsible for fucking up his son’s life. He kicked Fabian out of the house, simply because he was gay. I still don’t understand why parents do that to their kids in this day and age, but it still happens. This guy had kicked Fabian out of the house, and Fabian was too quiet to actually have somewhere to run to. He had slept on a park bench for two nights before I found him. Luckily he had enough cash in his pocket to afford food those two days. I remember the dirt smeared on his face from the bench. I remember the sad look in his blue eyes as I asked him what was wrong. His clothes were a bit rumpled, but he didn’t look homeless. In fact, he looked like a kid who simply fell asleep in the park. I felt like being a good samaritan and decided I would at least try to give this kid some shelter. I didn’t even realize that we were only two years apart. He wasn’t in college at the time, because he believed it wasn’t for him. He was one of those intuitive kids that already knew what a waste traditional college can be. It took me two degrees to figure it out. A master’s degree and a valet job later to be exact.  

     Luckily, Mr. Cashet had no idea who I was. Fabian had showed me pictures of his father many times— at family gatherings, business meetings where pictures were taken by the press, and happy moments on holidays. All of that seemed like a past life to Fabian. So I knew the face very well, but Mr. Cashet had never known mine.  

     “Here. Try not to leave a scratch. And don’t take too long when I come back.” If my hand hadn’t already been open, he would have dropped the keys on the ground for me to pick up. I hate when customers do that. It makes me want to kick their faces into the windshield, but I knew that one bad lip service, and management would be scrambling to fix the error. Which probably would have resulted in me getting my hours cut or damn near fired. So I smiled, took the keys, and hoped in the car. I drove it to the valet parking lot to park it. But then an eerie thought came to mind... 

     What if I make him pay for the hell he put Fabian through? This man kicked out his gay son, divorced his now dead wife, and started a whole family with some bimbo too young for him. All Fabian had to do was turn on social media or google his father’s name and pictures would pop up, all smiles and narcissism spilling forth. It’s not fair that Fabian had to suffer like that. Does he even know that his estranged son is dead?... 

     He had to pay. I needed to do something. Although Fabian broke it off with me to move and start his dream job, I guess God had other plans. The plane Fabian was on crashed before he even got to his next destination. That’s why I can never sit in a window seat, let alone one by the wings. I remember rushing to the funeral, everyone wondering who this other guy was. They all just assumed I was some childhood friend of his. That wasn’t too far off from the truth. I had taken him in and helped him get his life back on track. Now he was gone from me forever, and his father and this goddamn Ashton Martin were my only reminders.  

     Suddenly I couldn’t stop myself anymore. I threw the car in reverse, and drove out of the parking lot. To hell with this job. I had enough money saved up to keep my alive for six months. I know it’s not long, but in that moment I didn’t care. I had to make Mr. Cashet, the spawn of Satan, pay for his neglect and abuse. Now how would I send a message to him? Would I crash it on the train tracks? Would I burn the car in an abandoned parking lot? Would I dump it in the lake? 

     I then got a brilliant idea. He had a notebook lying on the backseat, and I began to write. I wrote down everything Fabian would have wanted to say to him. I wrote down how much Fabian was hurting, how his spirit was hurting that he never showed up to the funeral, if he even knew he was dead. How Fabian blamed him for his mother’s sorrow. How he must have left her to grieve her lost son on her own, while he went off to start a brand new family with another woman. I made sure to write it in first person, in the way that Fabian would have spoken these words. The same way he would tell me through tears as I held him close to my chest on those painful nights. After I wrote the letter, I rummaged a bit more. I couldn’t just leave this letter in the car for him to tear up. No, I needed others to understand. Possibly his picture-perfect new family. Then a letter caught my eye. It was addressed to him from another business. The address wasn’t too far from here. So I programmed it in my GPS and drove to the address, hoping it was his residence.  

     I was right. Luckily the huge house didn’t have a gate, and there were a few lights on in the house, so someone was awake. How hilarious would it be for Mr. Cashet to worry about his car being missing, only to have it at his house all along? It may be sick and twisted, but it was what I was going for. I parked the car close enough in the driveway, but not too close that anyone inside the house would have time to peep out a window and think the man of the house was home early. I made sure to drive up real slowly and quietly, without the headlights on. I quickly stepped out, and silently closed the door. It didn’t latch close all the way, but that was fine. I made sure to take the keys with me. I didn’t need anymore evidence to be lying around. I thought about leaving the letter right on the front door, knocking first, but decided that was too risky. I had already committed so many illegal acts in one night. I decided maybe the mailbox would be the best bet. Hopefully the wife would find it soon. I backtracked to the mailbox, and looked at the house. The light that was on flicked off. Maybe someone was going to sleep? Then I got a bright idea.  

     I went back to the car and stuck the letter on the windshield, pinning it with the wiper blades. I ran back to the street and hit the alarm button. The car blared to life, and the lights in that house and the neighbor’s house came on. I was too far away for anyone to think I came from that house. Anyone would have thought I was a regular pedestrian trying to get home. I hurried to the corner, knowing that someone would find the car, and would inevitably find the letter. It was as if God was patting me on the back for a job well done, because the city bus pulled up as I made my way to the corner at the bus stop. I boarded the bus, smiling to myself. The route was taking me straight home. By tomorrow, my boss would be wondering what the hell happened to me. But by then, the keys would be thrown in the lake, and I would have my bags packed and out of town.  

     You’re welcome Fabian. Rest in Peace.