This story was written because Anke posted this toot and I had an idea.
There’d been a time when Pat’s co-workers had snickered “meter maid” when Pat left for work, but that time – that had been before the city had managed to push through a very obscure translation of a caelo usque ad centrum and managed to make it stick by the sheer tenacity of the city’s lawyers.
Now – now Pat suited up, along with a brigade of other meter maids, grey ghosts, and they strapped onto their jet scooters.
Nobody parked illegally in the city anymore. There’d been one case, a month ago. The people nearby had physically moved the car out of the illegal spot and into a fountain several blocks away. Nobody had listened to the illegal-parker’s complaints.
People fed the meters and the city allowed it, because someone was paying for that spot. People went out of their way to park tidily.
And Pat and the grey ghosts jetted up into the sky, up out of the atmosphere, and into the parking spots around the asteroid belt and the city’s first space station. It wasn’t a safe job, not with the Ih(oh)ill bombers still swooping down at seemingly random intervals to hit the stations or the miners, not with the Higun being, well, as Higun as possible in an attempt to counter rumors that them not attacking Earth was a sign of cowardice, not with some of the unknown aliens still trying to test out Earth’s strength on occasion instead of just ignoring their laws and, say, their parking regulations.
But when you could slap a parking ticket and a drive inhibitor on a Higun spacehopper and then very politely explain the city laws, when you dodged an Ih(oh)ill bomber and managed to hit it with an illegal-driving outside of accepted lanes ticket which came with not only the drive inhibitor but also an immediate impound order (self-reinforcing, of course, like the drive inhibitor), when you caught some alien equivalent of a teenager trying to park in the park (which would be “it is free space, no? Then free it should be for any activity.”) and slapped them with just a big enough fine to make them think about pranking some other city next time –
It still wasn’t a safe job, not by a very long shot. But it was a fun job.
And Pat’s fellow officers saluted when the grey ghosts left and cheered when they came home, and that made it even more fun.
Meter maid (and Wiktionary) and Grey Ghost.