A/N - Howdy, I'm new so I'm still trying to get my head around this website.
I really just want to see if my writing is readable so I'm sorry about the dumb little joke at the end, all my creative juices were drained.
Constable Parkin walked slowly to where the old, mangy sofa had situated itself across the road. Both lanes had been blocked leaving drivers on both sides of the couch honking and yelling across its brown covers. The call barking at him to put an end to this domestic dispute had come five minutes ago, interrupting his lunch to his displeasure. Since then the line of traffic that stretched from both sides of the sofa had grown and grown until it was better to just walk here rather than hop into his car.
The sofa had been placed there on purpose. The angry-looking girl sitting stoically on it, glaring at any pedestrian who came near, made this clear enough.
He doffed his hat, “Excuse me ma'am, but I am going to have to ask you to remove yourself and this furnitur-”
Parkin blinked in surprise. He had encountered many interesting characters in his policing days who had each given him an equally strange outburst, but he could not remember any beginning like this. Moving further around the couch to get a better view of the girl he realised why.
“Patricia?” This might be harder than he thought.
His 23-year old daughter stared up at him in confusion. “What are you doing here?”
“I’m supposed to be removing you and this… sofa, from the road. Don’t you realise you’re a disruption to your fellow road users?” said Parkin, eyeing the couch. Was this one of his?
Patricia narrowed her eyes. “I should’ve known.” She slumped further into the couch and crossed her arms like the teenager she had been not long ago.
“Well?” asked Parkin.
“Aren’t you going to explain something young lady?”
She rolled her eyes. “As if you’d understand. This is just like when I left home. You’ll never change.”
Parkin frowned, “Sweetie, you joined a cult! Don’t say this is something they put you up to. You know you can leave at any time you want, I’ll support you!”
“Dad, I joined a vegan cooking club!”
“Exactly, now I think you’d better tell me what’s going on here before I call the station.”
Patricia glared at him. “I’m protesting. That good enough for you? I’m protesting for the sake of the planet.”
“The cars Dad!” Patricia cried, “Don’t you understand? They're polluting the planet. Every single petrol glugging one of them. I’m taking a stand for future generations against people like you.”
From a distant car stuck in the unmoving line, a cry of “I drive a Tesla,” could be heard but both father and daughter ignored it.
Parkin shook his head and moved to sit beside his daughter on the sofa. “Oh Patricia, dear, what would your mother say?”
“Probably; Go away and let your daughter save the planet, idiot. I can’t be sure though, with ghosts being difficult to get a word out of and all.”
“Now that’s enough of that,” Parkin growled.
The fire died. Her brow set and eyes steady, Patricia stared at him. “I’m avenging her, Dad.”
Six years ago, that’s when the trouble had started. His dear wife, Priscilla, had never had very good lungs, always prone to asthma and coughing fits. It had only taken a short amount of time for her body to weaken and her lungs to cloud when the winds blew the smoke from the north over the city.
Six years ago. Patricia had rebelled, storming out of the house to go munch salad leaves with a cult of hippy’s.
Parkin exhaled and leaned back into the sofa. It had been his couch, originally. He would recognize that musty scent with a hint of dust anywhere. It had been the one piece of furniture Patricia had taken with her when she left, and only at his insistence. It was silent for a while apart from the ongoing screech of horns and raised voices of a hundred people in a hurry.
“How did you even manage to get the sofa out here?” Parkin asked eventually.
Patricia shrugged, “A couple of mates owed me a favour. We moved it out here this morning before the main traffic was on the move.”
“Sweetie, I understand you want to make a difference.”
“No, you don’t, Dad. You’re part of the police for crying out loud so you should, but you don’t.”
They became quiet again for a time until, “This actually reminds me a bit of how I met your mother”
Patricia did not reply and stared straight ahead.
“She was protesting too, about animal welfare.” Parkin pressed on, “You see, this was back in the days when films studios could get away with staging a fight between a dog and a lion. I was a young cop, just got on the force and it was my first big assignment. I found her, your mother, tied to the local cinema with a bit of string. She later told me that she would have preferred to have used a chain but protesting all the time hadn’t allowed her a big enough budget. She told me of how animals were slaughtered in film production and how no one seemed to care at all. But she cared.
She was so angry at the world, she’d be madder at it today if she could. It sometimes clouded her judgement, this anger, made her do something stupid that wasn’t helping anyone. But she kept on caring, and that’s all it took.
We didn’t have much time to talk though as I was cuffing her because she kept trying to bite my nose off.”
He tapped the side of his nose to draw attention to a pattern of small white scars that ran along its bridge. “Three years later and we were on our honeymoon.”
“Dad, did you have a point in that story?”
Parkin shook his head. He had let his mouth get away with him again. “No, not really. You just remind me so much of her and I’ve missed you.”
Turning her head, Patricia met his eyes. A watery sheen glazed her own, holding rays of light in them as precious jewels.
“Look, can you please stop having a heart to heart and just move the bloody couch?” A driver shouted from the front of the queue.
Patricia stood up, wiping her eyes and moved to one end of the couch. “Do you want to help me shift this thing?”
Parkin smiled and took a position opposite her. “Of course, honey. Now, can you please leave that cult? You’re starting to make me worry.”
Patricia smirked, “ok boomer.”