The Ticket Master - By Rosy

   Hello. Now listen: I'm Traffic Control Agent Jant Rivitir, Parking Compliance Division. My people are called PCA's; Parking Compliance Agents and we'll ticket you faster than that, even faster if we have to because we're tough, dedicated professionals, impossible to bribe so don't even try. 

   Our job is why we're tough, because it's a tough job. Each lane and byway in Elvenstead is lined with parked waggals, brooms, rolled up carpets, bicycles, tricycles and cycles without wheels, umbrellas and whatever else people use to get around with. Just sitting there waiting for their masters to return and all this must be regulated and paid for. That's a tough job and it's my job. I make my rounds on a small service broom, a practical Damfaster with a little robot ticket-wizard floating along behind. Soon as your time is up, believe me, I'm there. Or one of the other PCA's patrolling Elvenstead's streets. Our division isn't very big so if we're not there right away, please just wait a bit, we shan't be long. 

   Today I'm patrolling South Elvenstead along Weevin Boulevard and down to Rattern Way, that whole area. Considered a poor part of town with grog and mead dens, rundown rentals and a lot of poor people, dwarves mainly but elves, faeries, humans, trolls, all are here, even an orc or two no doubt, and all park their 

mobiles along the boulevard. Whenever someone has overstayed their time, their space begins to glow red. That's when I show up, issue a ticket and justice is served. It's an implacable process. 

   I see a space glowing red a ways up the boulevard and accelerate my Damfaster swooping down on the malefactor's space. It contained an ancient Besom 100, a broom I haven't seen since I was a kid, and they were ancient then. I stared in fascination as my ticket-wizard printed the citation, which I reverently stuck to the broom. Just then the next space started glowing red. 

   “What's going on here?” a loud voice spoke behind me. 

   I turned to see two elderly types, stylish elves who evoked a lost era of grace and dignity. 

   “Good morning, sir. I'm ticketing these two spaces for being past due.” 

   “That's preposterous!” the old gentle-elf exclaimed. “It could not have been more than a few seconds past, a minute at most.” 

   “Past due is past due,” I stated, trying to be nice. “Ticket-Master,” I said to the ticket-wizard, “the past due time please.” 

   “Fifty eight seconds, Ma'am.” 

   “What's going on here? Who's that?” the elderly lady asked. She was squinting through thick glasses and had a cone to her long, pointed ear for hearing. 

   “We were late getting back!” the gentle-elf exclaimed. “Fifty-eight seconds and she's writing a ticket.” 

   “Howzat?” she asked, grabbing her broom from the red glowing spot next to us. It was another ancient Besom 100. Wow. I stared in admiration and well, awe. Awe and wonder. 

   “The meter maid said I was late and gave me a ticket,” the gentle-elf said with a scowl. Wait, what? Meter maid? I was shocked. 

   “I am not a meter maid!” I exclaimed. I couldn't help myself. “I'm a Traffic Control Agent!” I showed him my badge. “Compliance division, and right now you're not complying.”   

   “Is that right?” he said, grabbing his own broom. Both spaces were green now and a waggal was angling into one of them. I was determined to stand firm, but I couldn't help eyeing his broom. I never thought I'd see one again outside of a museum.  

   “How's that broom fly?” I asked, pointing to his Besom. “It looks pretty old.” 

   “Oh uh-huh, yeah she is,” he muttered. Then he focused on the broom. “Ah yes. Yes, she is, she's quite old. She's a rare old flyer, a highflyer of grace and beauty.” 

   “Besom 100, isn't she?” 

   “Why yes, yes she is.” 

   “Old wreck, as far as I'm concerned,” the old lady yelped, “I'm going home.” Then she mounted her broom and with a classic cackle, took off. 

   The old fellow looked at me. “Care to take it for a spin?” he asked with a twinkle in his eye. 

   Would I ever! But I hemmed and I hawed knowing I shouldn't, then, well, I flew that old broom for a few loop the loops, around the block and to the edge of space and back. She handled remarkably well, with a finesse you don't see in modern brooms, even though she was probably hundreds, maybe thousands of years old. Her landing was a bit rough but, oh, what a thrill! 

   I had my ticket-wizard void the old gent's ticket before continuing my rounds. I mean fifty-eight seconds is easily overlooked, am I right?

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