Away in a parking garage

Columnist : Albert Paschall

(World News Network: December 2000) In the face of the ongoing Y-2K crisis that has rendered all Internal Revenue Service computer systems useless, President-elect Richard Gephart has issued an executive order that all people must return to the IRS office where they filed their first income tax return. All taxpayers must complete form 2000-A in an agent’s presence by year’s end or face stiff fines and possible jail sentences. The President-elect indicated that in the wake of last October’s colossal stock market crash restoring the IRS was the Federal Government’s top priority.

“Just what I need” Marianne thought. With a baby just a few days away she didn’t relish the thought of a three-day trek in her husband’s van. The old van was acting up again and there wasn’t any money to get it fixed now. Some days Josh’s mood was horrible. His kitchen remodeling business was off to a slow start and he was always worried about money.

(World News Network: Business Report) Hotels all over the country are booked solid this week as Americans rush to comply with the President’s edict. Jammed highways leading into every major city has caused tempers to flare. Most governors have called up National Guard units to control the crowds at IRS offices.

“We have a place to stay Josh?” Marianne asked gently as she munched her burger and fries. It wasn’t exactly the menu the doctor ordered but after hours of inching through traffic in the cramped van anything tasted good. She knew Josh was trying to stretch his last few bucks to make the trip and that he was on edge about the new baby. “Don’t worry we’ll find something,” Josh said, “is he kicking again?”

(World News Network: Science Report) Monitors aboard space station Unity report the unexpected arrival of a meteor shower. The two-mile wide band of mini-comets will provide a celestial light show visible to the naked eye in most parts of the country around midnight eastern time.

“Josh you better pull over” Marianne said as she grabbed the dash. “What’s wrong?” he asked. “It’s the baby, I think its coming” she gasped. “Now, here?” he couldn’t believe it. “Soon” she said. “There’s a motel up ahead I’ll pull in”

(World News Network: Bulletin) American forces stationed in the Golan Heights were on high alert today in the wake of yesterday’s declaration of a Palestinian state by Prime Minister Arafat. In his announcement Arafat said “this is the climax of a 2,000 year struggle for a home land for our people.”

By the time they stopped at the sixth motel, Josh was frustrated. “I need a room quick, my wife might be having a baby” the young, expectant father demanded of the desk clerk. “Sorry pal we’re booked up, there ain’t a room within a 100 miles of here. Besides that this ain’t a hospital, I got my liability insurance to worry about!”

(World News Network: Weather) Unseasonably cold through out most the country tonight with lows plunging well below freezing.

In the back of the van in a parking garage Marianne shivered as another wave of pain came. The garage attendants brought over their space heater to add some warmth. They tried to find a doctor but there wasn’t one willing to come out for some HMO patients late at night. The baby, a boy, was born in the early morning. His mother wrapped him in some extra overhauls that the car jockeys had. Curious security guards went around to the all-night convenience store and bought orange juice, coffee and donuts for the new parents. They decided not to call police fearing that child welfare authorities might take the newborn.

(World News Network: Feature) Last night’s meteor shower caused a stir all over the country. Hundreds of calls were received by police stations and military bases claiming that the meteors were projecting a strange humming sound. Astronomers dismissed the reports as gas from meteor fragments burning up in Earth’s atmosphere. A leading UFO investigator charged a military cover up of an Alien reconnaissance mission.

The priorities of governments don’t change. The daily, ongoing struggles of ordinary people don’t change. Fortunately nor does the willingness of total strangers to show compassion for their fellow humans in the midst of crisis. The ability to believe is still challenged by contemporary science that attempts to explain all and understand less. All over the earth people classed by color, political or religious doctrine still struggle for the dignity of their humanity. It all stays the same. Just like the message of hope that came from an ancient “parking garage” 2,000 years ago: “and on earth, peace to people of good will.”