Coming home from very lonely places, all of us go a little mad; whether from great personal success, or just an all-night drive, we are the sole survivors of a world no one else has ever seen.
- John le Carre
- John le Carre
Flash Fiction: Commute
A 3 point turn does the trick. Easy does it, just like that and I'm out the driveway. Or so I thought. The neighborhood kids had barricaded the block with their go-karts and dirt bikes. I shift to reverse and back up just a bit right before I punch it. I floored the pedal and rammed right through their little pile-up. Relax, the damn kids weren't on their rides. They're at home, plotting an uprising online, crafting manifestos about unseen forces, printing propaganda and slapping them on trees, windshields and picket fences.
And me, I'm going 80mph in a 55 zone.
There's a guy pacing me with his souped up ride, making faces and trying to ram me up against the divider. The ones with the ridiculously big spoilers on the back that makes it look like a shopping cart. Right behind me is the local librarian in her minivan. She's giving me the finger while her carpool mates load up their paintball guns and take aim.
I count the change as I approach the tollbooth, the man behind that window is an ex-spy who will track you down and plant this chip in your head if you don't give him the exact amount of change. My neighbor shorted him a dime on a Monday of all days. His wife woke up to a big mess on Tuesday. Somehow she ended up marrying Mr. Tollbooth and they went on to have Siamese twins. He has a photo of his lovely family plastered on his little cubicle. Funny how things work sometimes.
There's an ambulance facing the wrong way down the road. The sirens are on and he's headed toward oncoming traffic. He picks a random victim, a silver sedan with spinning rims and sideswipes the bastard. The billboard lights up and confetti falls from the sky. He just earned himself a quick $5000. It's this new gameshow that everyone's talking about.
I veer off my usual route and end up in a one-lane country road. I make up for lost time with speed. Not much in the way here except for a garbage truck making the usual stops. But Instead of letting me through, the lady driver cuts me off with the intention of blocking my way up to the end of this long stretch. One house after another the mechanical arms pick up the bins and dump its contents in the main compartment. Compost and old appliances. Pieces of junk alongside body parts. She mocked me with her monstrous machine. Eating bits of what used to be something or someone, what is now no more. It made me think of dying and if there was a giant machine somewhere just waiting to eat me up. Eat us all up.
A split in the road. Wherever she's going, I'm not. She chose the right. I speed past her shooting her left side tires which sent her truck toppling all the way down. Down the monster went and it spit out half of what it ate.
I'm approaching a secured area. A red light scans my truck for credentials which is embedded throughout my mode of transportation. The gates open and I drive through. The minivan behind me tries to piggyback but is disintegrated upon entering. I park my transport at the usual place and get on my aircraft. With seat belt and helmet on I load my music list up and select track 3. The sound fills the cabin as I prepare for traffic. Two-thirds of my morning commute is over. I'm headed for Base 5 to dock and transfer. I have 8 hours to sort and deliver my cargo. With cross-hairs on target I plow my way past the debris. Up in the air the rules are the same as down below. Anything goes.
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