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The Parking Lot Ladies

Starting point
of the hiking trails
Axamer Lizum. Strange name, even for an Austrian alpine skiing center. We drove our rental car to the sun-baked parking lot of this summery skiing center nearby Innsbruck. The plan was to take a few hour hike on the surrounding mountains. We had arrived in Innsbruck only couple of hours earlier, and because of parking problems, we were able only to book a bed & breakfast but not to unload our luggage yet from the car. We wanted to make the most of the sunny day, so we decided to leave quickly for the mountains and change our car-sitting clothes into mountain-hiking clothes on that Axamer Lizum parking lot. The vast car park was hot, windless and almost empty; maybe a dozen cars were parked neatly on their spaces close to a maintenance building and the spot where the hiking trails begin. Except for the Ladies' car.

Under the canopy of the maintenance building, just a few meters from us, there was parked an old car. Inside were sitting two grim looking elderly ladies. The driver lady had her door open, and the shotgun side lady had opened her window. Neither of them said a word, during the whole episode. The car radio was playing quietly. Both ladies wore huge fly-eye -like sunglasses, and they just sat there. Quiet. And staring.

We hadn't even noticed the car nor the ladies at first, and had opened our suitcases and spread our things here and there quite openly when changing our gear. We had worn our trekking shoes, applied sunblock and I had studied the nearby hiking trail map. Luckily my wife suddenly realised it: One could see we had all our belongings in the car, we were about to be away for several hours, and potential car burglars would be able to work in peace at the almost deserted car park. At first I reckoned that such old ladies can't have malicious thoughts. But the ladies kept staring at our general direction (if I could deduce it despite their big fly-eye sunglasses).

I decided to have 'staring contest' with the shotgun side lady. We were both wearing sunglasses, so neither of us could really see if the other was staring straight into another's eyes. However, suddenly the shotgun lady turned her face away. All this time until now she had stared us. I felt a nasty cramp in my guts - they are really observing us there!

Above Innsbruck
We decided to take every easily enough portable piece of valuables with us: cameras, money, passports, car papers etc. Well, supposedly we would have done that anyway. Besides, that pure evilness emanating pair of ladies were surely after our car, weren't they? They would call a burglar team once they saw us on the mountain slope half a kilometer higher. Or they would steal it themselves.

Then I got a cunning idea: I would take a photograph of my wife so that the ladies, their car and its register plate would be visible in the background of the photo. Wife struck a pose next to our automobile and I positioned myself so that the needed information would get photographed as well. As soon as I lifted the camera in front of my face the car suddenly started and speeded tyres almost screaming away from the picture. The driver lady pulled her door closed while the car was already moving.

At this point the ladies' malevolent intentions didn't seem to be only our paranoid imagination any more. I was too stupefied to actually press the shutter, so the photo ended up to be not taken. The car stopped at the far end of the car park, at the exit. I raised the camera  in front of my face again, and the car quickly drove away.

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