The Commute

Short Fiction for Guests of the WordFeeder
Wednesday, March 10, 2010

“Hey! Get a lane of you own, buddy. …Unbelievable. They’ll let just about anybody drive.”

“Hmm.” Dead stop. “..Beep, beeeeeeppp!!” John was never reluctant to sit on his horn, however obnoxious. He didn’t care. He was going from A to B, and everyone else was just getting in his way. Behind the wheel of his faded, once electric red two-seater, he had the selfish independence of a… of a three year old. It was all about him.

“Jeez, now what? Com’on, lady. Move it, or lose it.” John tapped impatiently on the rim of his steering wheel, two of his pudgy fingers showing the now melted remains of the Hershey’s bar with almonds he been eating, it’s spent wrapper laying crumbled on the floor in front of the passenger seat. “Hey,” he mumbled. Pleased with what he had found, he stuck both of the first two fingers of his right hand into his mouth at the same time to savor the chocolate he could suck from them.

“ …What are we going? Zero miles an hour. Let’s see, at zero miles an hour, how long will it take me to go the 4.8 miles to my garage? …Freakin’ forever, that’s how long.

‘Ohhhh-kay, now we’re movin. ..Oh, yutz. And we’re stopped again. Stop and go, stop and go.. …Whoa, baby. Take a look at the blonde in that… Hey,” he nodded like a bobble-head at her. “Yeah, hey, how are you? Ah, she can’t hear me. Nice smile though. Nuthin’ like a girl with short blonde, wispy hair ‘slowin’ down to take a look a me. Com’on baaa-aaaabee…’ Love that song.” John stops his incessant babbling to reach for the dial on his radio which he turned to no avail. “Hm. Nuthin’. I really got to get this thing fixed.”

“Careening around the corner, ‘The Kid,’” he rolled his hands around the steering wheel as if the turn were extremely sharp and high speed, “eeeeeeee,” making a bad sound effect of tires screeching, “holds on, unfazed,” he lowered his voice to be the moderator of his own adventure, “by the hail of automatic weapons fire from cars in hhhatt, ..hhhatt pursuit.”

“Who am I kiddin’? I need to get something better. Something with an office, maybe my own assistant… in a building with an eleva.. Hey, this is my lane! WAIT YOUR FREAKIN’ TURN!! I’ll go, you’ll go, the next guy’ll go. ..Get the pattern?! Jeez.”


“Oooo. Gimme that!” John reached out of his open window, in tight, standstill traffic to grab an open package of M&Ms from the passenger to his left. “Like takin’ candy from a baby.”

“Johnny! …Give me that! …Here,” John’s mother returned the M&Ms to her neighbor and the mother of the child in the checkout line next to theirs, in the crowded grocery store. “Sorry. I don’t know what’s got into him. He’s been acting up ever since Todd took him to work a couple weeks ago, you know, when I was out of town taking care of Mom after her operation.”

“Oh, don’t worry about it,” her friend consoled her. “Can you imagine if they didn’t have these carts with the cars in the front, trying to shop with our kids running all over the place?


“Johnny! Enough already. Get out, and step away from the cart,” his mother ordered him into submission. “Time to help Mommy checkout,” she smiled at him, but then turned serious again. “You know the drill. Slooowleeee. ..License and registration, and keep your hands where I can see them.”

“Whut?” The sudden change in her tone surprised and scared him. Johnny looked, wide-eyed, at his mother towering over him. Searching the curled up corners of her lips for relief, he struggled to maintain his composure.


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