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"The Ticket," by Edgar Allen Wood

Once upon a Tuesday dreary, while I idled, weak and weary,
In my Chevy Cavalier (a small and rusty red ’0-4),
While I nodded, mostly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my Chevy door.
“Holy cow!” I shouted, waking. “Someone’s at my Chevy door!
Wonder what they’re tapping for?”

Startled, chilly, still quite tired, deep inside my headphones wired,
I peered through the foggy window, wet and hazy from my snores.
“Sir or Madam,” I said, snapping out of my between-class napping,
“What’s the problem, and who is that, tapping at my Chevy door?
I can hardly see who’s out there, who’s outside my Chevy door.
Foggy windows; nothing more.”

Deep into that vapor peering, long I sat there wond’ring, fearing,
Asking o’er and o’er, “Who’s out there?” — here I opened wide the door —
But the fact is, no one stood there. All I found were cars and cold air.
“Let my heart be still,” I thought, “and this new mystery explore.”
But no man was found, despite my steady efforts to explore.
Just the cars, and nothing more.

As I made to resume napping, all at once returned that tapping,
Like some unseen specter rapping, rapping on my auto door.
Spinning ‘round, I saw no person. What I found was 10 times worse. In-
Side a bright green envelope, a ticket stuck to my ‘0-4.
Flapping loudly ‘neath the wiper in the wind on my ‘0-4.
Darn. A ticket. Nothing more.

Peeved, I pulled it off and read it (for your sake, my swears I’ll edit).
“This ‘A’ lot’s not for you,” said it. “That’s what an ‘A’ pass is for.
Yours is but a ‘W,’ and, though we know it troubles you, hand
In your fifteen-dollar fine, a fine you’re responsible for.”
I yelled out, “This isn’t what I should be responsible for.”
Quoth the ticket, “Nevermore.”

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so oddly spoken,
“Ticket,” said I, “did you speak? Is this some prank I’m falling for?
Where’s the camera? Is this Jerry?” Searching ‘round, my mind was wary.
Pranks were childish things, a nerdish pastime that I just deplore.
“Jerry, if it’s you, I swear, a prank is something I deplore.”
Quoth the ticket, “Nevermore.”

Spooked, I dropped it, watched it flutter to the ground, into the gutter,
Knowing now that Jerry’s voice was not what I was looking for.
Was I bonkers? My mind sick? It lay there, flapping, this foul ticket.
“But I didn’t mean to park here!” I squealed feebly. “I implore —
Is there — is there no way out of paying this? Tell, I implore!”
Quoth the ticket, “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil — prophet still, thou paper devil! —
By tuition hanging o’er us — by those fees we so abhor —
Tell this soul, whose ulcers fester, if, within this foul semester
I must pay this cursed ticket (which I’ve not the budget for).
What with all my gas and books, this ticket I’ve no budget for.”
Quoth the ticket, “Nevermore.”

“Be that word our sign in parting, paper fiend!” I shrieked, restarting
My red car. “And I shall park in ‘A’ lots all I want, and more!
We’re a campus for commuters (and Utah’s too rough for scooters),
Plus, for every rare ‘A’ pass, there are ‘W’s galore!
We’re revolting, all of us, the ones with ‘W’s galore!”
Quoth the ticket, “Nevermore.”

“ARGH!” I bawled, and stomped the pedal, losing my last store of mettle.
“Fine! I’ll pay thee! Get thee back into the night, my peace restore!”
But that ticket, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
In the gutter of that ‘A’ lot. I can’t park there, can’t ignore
That foul paper’s unremitting guilt trip. No, I can’t ignore.
Guess that’s what the bus is for.

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