By Shelly Reuben
FICTION:  PARKING SPACE: A LOVE STORY - Chapter 7 - Part 1 - "The Snowplow."

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For over 48 hours, Lilly Snow was blissfully oblivious to the ruckus that Hector Van Hooft had set in motion.

Like a penny in a pond, the ripple started in one small parking space on one short block in one Big City. It grew wider and wider to include entire zip codes, radiating Uptown, Downtown, to the West Side, to the East Side, to the Financial District, and ultimately, of course, to City Hall.

Of the people who became aware of the situation, Noah Pitt was among the first.

Noah was an interesting man, handsome in a flannel-shirt-and-work-boots kind of way, with a perpetually furrowed brow, a biggish broken nose, and dark eyes under slanting eyebrows on a face that was neither friendly nor uncongenial—like the only house on the block during the holiday season that did not have Christmas lights.

He was an independent contractor. Of sorts. Noah Pitt and his best friend Amos Goode had grown up on the same street in The Big City, and in their teens, their parents had moved to the suburbs in the same year and bought houses on the same block. The boys also went to the same college, Noah to study mechanical engineering and Amos to study comparative religion. Both dropped out at the end of their first semester to return to the city they loved and to work in construction.

Which they also loved.

Amos, with rivet gun or acetylene torch in hand, gravitated toward heights. He exulted as he shot bolts into beams and welded seams on metal pipes. When he rose from floor to floor,

ascending at the same pace as his skyscrapers, he felt, with the elevation of each new level, that he was half superhero and half god.

Noah preferred heavy equipment and he favored the ground. He liked to operate cranes, forklifts, backhoes, aerial boom-lifts, frontend loaders and power pallets. Most of all, though, he loved snowplows.

After working multiple jobs, hoarding their incomes (they saved for two years) and honing their skills, Noah and Amos bought an empty lot, built a small office building with a huge storage shed for supplies and equipment in the back, and incorporated Pitt-Goode Construction. To prettify the place, they planted a row of tulip poplars, which grow about eight feet a year, between the office and the shed, and within three weeks of hanging out their shingle, they had five clients lined up for seven jobs.

The company philosophy, which appeared on their letterhead, business cards, and website was:






Not a brilliant slogan. But forthright.

As partners, Noah and Amos complemented and challenged each other. They had started the company when they were twenty-three years old. At age twenty-nine, Amos got married and ten months later, he was the father of twin girls. Shortly after his thirtieth birthday, he decided to leave the company, and Noah bought him out.

It was not disagreement or dissatisfaction that ended their partnership.

It was an inner ear infection that affected his balance.

Noah, a creature of the land, liked to have his feet planted firmly on the ground, behind a desk, or in a vehicle as close to dirt as possible. But for Amos, with his Godlike reverence for heights, suddenly being unable to work on rooftops or ceiling beams was like being an eagle with clipped wings.

Fortunately, however, during the same month that Amos was grounded, his aunt, Chiquita Bamberger—more about whom later—was elected mayor of The Big City. Immediately after she took office, she asked her nephew to become Director of the Department of Public Works.

Amos accepted and forthwith moved his handsome bulk (six foot three inches tall, honey brown skin, green eyes, big ears, a goofy grin, and a neck like a tree trunk) into a well-equipped office at City Hall.

Shortly thereafter, the Department of Public Works (no big surprise) awarded Pitt-Goode Construction a three-year snow removal contract; and two weeks after that, the two friends settled into their new relationship, which wasn’t all that different from their old one, except that they didn’t see each other every day and Amos no longer carried a bag lunch to work.

As a tribute to their early beginnings, Noah Pitt kept the company name and letterhead unchanged. But from the date of his departure, Amos no longer had any financial interest in the business, and with a staff ranging from six to sixteen employees depending on the season, the success or failure of the enterprise was up to its sole owner.

Copyright © 2021. Shelly Reuben. Originally published in The Evening Sun, Norwich, NY - Shelly Reuben’s books have been nominated for Edgar, Prometheus, and Falcon awards. For more about her books, visit