1. Good eye, champ. You found a rare spot right in front of the drug store. Looks a little tight, though. If you’re scared of a little challenge, there was a wide-open space two blocks away by the hospital—maybe you could get your balls removed there while you’re at it?
  2. That’s right, hit the brakes. We’re going in parallel. First step is to hit your blinker. God, that dinky little clicking sound has always bothered you. Surely your car should make a manlier noise, like the sizzle of a porterhouse on the grill or the opening guitar riff to Foghat’s “Slow Ride.”
  3. You’ll want to pull up beside that car you’re parking behind. Would you look at that… So typical of a Lexus to take up as much room as humanly possible. Total road hog. Then again, the guy who drives it probably has a busy, high-pressure job. He can’t spend his entire day fiddling around with that much money on the line. In fact, he could be approaching his luxury vehicle right now, about to see you pulling off the world’s greatest parallel parking maneuver. A go-getter like that might be impressed and hire you on the spot. At long last, this could be your chance to climb out of the shithole you’ve dug yourself into.
  4. Don’t panic (repeat if necessary).
  5. Jesus, you’re really letting the panic shine through. Pop on your wraparound shades to hide the tears welling up in your eyes. Make some friendly finger guns at the elderly couple staring at you.
  6. Did you seriously take both your hands off the steering wheel!? We came within a hair of scratching up that Lexus. It’s almost as if you’re not interested in a cushy middle management position. Even worse, you’re blocking the road. Angry horns blare behind you. Grab the clutch and put the car in reverse, you store-brand Willy Loman.
  7. Hold on one second. A Death of a Salesman reference in your internal monologue? That’s pretty clever. Maybe you can do this after all. Maybe you are worth something.
  8. Now’s the part where you angle your car at precisely 45 degrees, and boy oh boy are you killing it. Like Ferdinand Magellan holding his sextant up to the horizon, you are a master of geometrical navigation. You always were good at math, but your 10th-grade teacher had it out for you. Look who’s laughing now! Not her, because she’s dead—something you will never be.
  9. You cut the wheel hard with your manly man’s hands. In another life, you might’ve used those mitts to break in a bucking bronco. As you straighten out your midsize sedan, admire your chiseled jawline in the rear-view mirror.
  10. Whistling, you kill the ignition and hop out exactly as Lexus man turns the corner. He’s even better dressed than you imagined; just look at the way his shirt is evenly tucked in all the way around. Even if he can’t offer you gainful employment right away, he might have a buxom daughter in need of companionship. You fish inside your pockets for one of your slightly out-of-date business cards from 2014 when–
  11. Oh Christ almighty, Lord of Heaven and Earth and all that is truly fucked, your car is nowhere near the curb. We’re talking about at least 18 inches here. That is so much longer than your penis, in case you needed a reminder.
  12. Lexus man is laughing at you. While he may not be smiling or looking at you, you can tell. Well, a punch to the gut wipes that nonexistent grin off his face. You grab his keys and slip inside his car.
  13. You effortlessly pull out of the space, a feat that only really smart people know can be just as difficult as pulling into a space. It suddenly hits you that you’re back in control, that now you’re the Lexus man. You like the sound of that. The way the manufacturer’s name rolls off your tongue. Lexus Lexus Lexus Lexus Lexus Lexus Lexus. Are you done yet?
  14. Apparently not: Lexus Lexus Lexus. Lexus Lexus Lexus Lexus Lexus Lexus Lexus Lexus. You feel like a young buck again. You remember a happier time in high school when you stuck a basketball under your sweatshirt and acted like you were pregnant. It made all your friends laugh.
  15. Amid all your daydreaming, you fail to notice that you’re driving down the interstate at a cool 17 miles-per-hour. The presence of several police sirens snaps you back into your sad little reality.
  16. But don’t pull over. Step on the gas and blow way past the speed limit, not paying a damned bit of attention to the growing train of cruisers tailing you. Your cell phone rings, with the caller ID reading “Home” (where you live with your mother). Let it go to voicemail.
  17. You’ve crossed the state line. The sun has gone down. All you were supposed to do was go to the drug store for cough drops and toilet paper. How did it ever come to this?
  18. Lexus Lexus Lexus Lex– No, that doesn’t work anymore. Through the dying light, you spot a barricade of police cars lining up across the highway, but they’re not quite in formation yet. There is just enough space for a truly heroic individual—a god among men—to speed through, onward and outward to his freedom. But you know what you have to do.
  19. Slow down. Pull alongside the front police car and put on your blinker.
  20. Going in reverse, angle yourself between the two cars.
  21. Move forward a bit. Straighten out without getting distracted by the spotlights and automatic weapons being pointed in your direction.
  22. As the authorities wrestle you out of the stolen vehicle, remain silent. Anything you say might be used to prove that you are guilty. Guilty of the world’s greatest parallel parking job.