Use Your Words - Parking Lot Picnic

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Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once, and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are:

autumn ~ crowbar ~ herbs ~ mustache ~ tardy

They were submitted by: The Blogging 911   - Thank you, Rena!

Previously on The Miller family:

I created a glossary on all the featured characters for you to keep track, check it out.

David's wound was healing nicely, and the docs gave the green light to fly back to Switzerland. The plan was to get him from the hospital and have him spend a couple of days at his Mom's house in Connecticut where he'd also have the opportunity to see his sister Donna. 

As for Caroline and the kids, they decided they deserved a trip to Disney World.

"That was a fantastic day!" Victoria and Max simultaneously exclaimed as they were walking back to their rental car. "The twilight Zone Tower of Terror was sooo cool!" "My favorite was Mission Space - even though I got a little sick!"

Caroline smiled. She wasn't into the rides, but she loved that the kids had a blast and enjoyed every minute. Her highlight was the me-time she spent daydreaming while waiting for the kids - and the ice cream!

She rummaged in her purse for the car keys but couldn't find them. "Hold that for me, please" she said, handing the kids her wallet, phone, tissues, pen, hand lotion, water bottle,... Her handbag was now empty, and she turned it around to shake it. Some cracker crumbs and a crumbled up receipt fell out. No car keys, though. 

Caroline patted her jeans' pockets. Nothing.


Almost an hour later they were back at the parking lot. A trip to lost and found didn't produce their missing car key, and they had to call the rental company that was supposed to send a mechanic shortly. 

They were getting tired and hungry, not a good combination.

"I wish we had a crowbar" Max said "I once saw a YouTube video on how to smash a car window. There are also some hacks with a tennis ball or an inflatable cushion." He was excited. The perfect end to a day at Disney's? Break into your own car!

"Let's call Domino's and have pizza delivered, right here to the parking lot" Victoria suggested. "We won't make our dinner plans anyway, might just as well make it a picnic night. I kinda crave Italian food. What's that herb called they put on everything, Oregano?"

It didn't take long. From a distance they saw a two truck approaching. Wait a minute, they didn't require a lift, they just needed some kind of a master key, and they were good to go, right?

"Good Day" the rental car guy emerged from his truck. "I'm Mike. What seems to be the problem?" 

He was very tanned, donned a mustache and had the word autumn tattooed to his upper arm.

He opened his toolbox and went to work. 

The Millers didn't pay much attention, still debating whether it was a good idea to order dinner to a parking lot. Also the question "if you were to spend a day as a Disney character which would you pick and why" came up. 

Mike took his sweet time filling out an incident report, and as he checked Caroline's rental agreement he found out she wasn't covered for roadside assistance. 

"Here's your temporary key. You still need to show up at the rental place and pick up a new one that is being programmed for you fine folks. That'll be 185.20" Mike said. "Sorry, my credit card machine is down, don't you have cash?"

This was ridiculous. Caroline was about to call the rental company and tell them to just charge it to her total costs and be done with! While she was still pressing one for English, four for roadside assistance,... Mike got into his tow truck and drove off. 

What the...?

When she finally got to talk to an agent he seemed confused. His log showed that the guy who was assigned to help the Millers was tardy because he was stuck in rush hour traffic but should be there any minute.

"We've already been helped, but the guy took off." Caroline told the agent.

"Describe the person who helped you. Wait, let me guess: tanned, mustache, tattoo saying fall?"

"Autumn, actually, but yes. His name was Mike."

"Yeah, Mike, Steve, Jim, call him whatever you like. That guy is a former car thief who occasionally works for a local locksmith. He is quite skilled and likes to intercept phone calls. If he hears about lost keys he jumps into his truck, drives to the location, and he's usually quick to arrive cause he doesn't care about speed limits and other traffic rules and regulations. He works on the cars for a while, then claims his credit card machine just broke and hopes for some cash."

"That's exactly what happened!" Caroline was stunned. "But he gave me a temporary key?"

"Lady, did you try and use this key? It's just a mock-up. You're still as stuck as before, only that he's now broken into your car, and if there was a camera or something of interest it's gone. Can you please check?"

Good thing they didn't leave any valuables in the car. 

She couldn't believe it. A crook wiretaps rental car companies' phone lines to scam tourists? Wow. Only in America!?

While she was still on the phone with the rental agent, roadside assistance arrived. This time the truck was labelled with the rental company's name. That's more like it. As it turned out there wasn't such a thing as a spare or master key, and they needed in fact to be towed to a repair facility.

"It's 2018" Max stated. "Cars should be equipped with lock devices that can be operated remotely by using a phone or a code or something. There's always the odd tourist that loses a key."

No kidding.

Just as they were finally ready to leave the parking lot, they heard a muffled sound that made them jump. 

Was there a shooting? 

Looks like they have been living in quaint little Switzerland for too long... It was just the daily fireworks at Animal Kingdom...

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