HumpDay Quickie #117

Posted: November 30, 2016 in Hump-Day Quickies
Tags: , , , ,

Those Things Are Going To Kill You

by AV Laidlaw

I wind down the window as the policeman saunters towards the car. He wears mirrored sunglasses, big ones that cover half his face, as if he’s from some seventies cop show.

“Is there a problem?” I lick my dry lips. Police make me nervous because of the speeding tickets and breath tests. My chest tightens and sweat prickles my face.

He doesn’t take off the sunglasses. “You can’t park here.”

“I’ll only be a couple of minutes.” I shrug. My left arm aches after all the miles driving for work.

“There are signs.”

My mobile, nestled among the polystyrene cups and fast food wrappers on the passenger seat, rings. Janice flashes up on the screen. She must have got my message about not seeing the kids at the weekend. I reject the call.

“I’m just going to pop into the shop and get some cigarettes.”

“They’re very bad for you.”

My mouth’s too dry to laugh so I swallow air. “Is this some government thing, handing out health advice?”

“Just saying, sir.”

“I know.”

“Do you? Last month there was a man, a business man much like yourself, smoking as he drove. He dropped the cigarette on his lap. Now a thing like that is going to cause a distraction. He crashed and the car caught fire. Flames and smoke like the very pits of hell.”

“Okay, I won’t stop here. I’ll try a garage or something.” I stretch out my arm to relive the ache but it only gets worse, burning from my shoulder to my fingertips. The air is too thick to breathe.

“My point is the end comes quicker than you expect. Sometimes it comes before you’re ready.” The policeman crouches down so his face is level with mine. Reflected in his sunglasses I see my blanched face and red rimmed eyes and the fat of my neck rolling over my shirt collar. “Perhaps just a warning this time.”

I see the houses and the trees lining the street and a child’s bicycle propped up against a wall.
“Drive safely, sir.” He stands. “It’s a long road ahead. Make sure you get where you’re supposed to be.”

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