Flagger

Grant Kull, Staff Writer

Your car pulls up to the intersection of Summer St. and Sea Rd.  The familiar traffic light has been put to flashing reds indefinitely, and now a flagger dictates when you can go again. It’s only 7:15, there’s plenty of time to reach the school.

7:15

You reflect on your drive upon this heinous flagger’s domain.  There’s been a suspicious noise coming from your engine for a day or two, with a slight rattle of the wheel to go with it. You take a sip of your coffee. Suddenly a man is in the back of your car.  You know this because he immediately starts whispering into your ear about that thing you did in the third grade that you’ve convinced yourself didn’t even happen. You look back to question the man but you see nothing except for that wrapper you threw to the back of your car the night before.  When you look back in front you the man is pounding at your windshield and screaming at you about that stain on your pants that just won’t come out in the wash but is too slight that no one will notice, but just slight enough that it’s the first thing you see when you glance at your reflection. It’s all that you can think about. You stick your head out of the car to berate the man but just as your eyes lose sight of him, he vanishes.  Sweat is beginning to collect on your forehead as you start to question your sanity. Just as your internal crisis is about to start, the man starts screaming again; this time from the passenger seat. You look over and the man’s attire has changed from a suit that looked like it was straight from Men in Black, to an anatomically correct suit of a Galapagos turtle. The thing’s voice also has changed from a man’s voice to the voice of what you imagine a dog would sound like if it could talk.  After discovering this the turtle that’s voiced by a dog is beginning to shriek about how asteroids could hit the Earth at any minute and destroy life itself, and that even if we knew where and when it was coming there’s nothing we could do about it. Just as you start to feel your last thread of sanity beginning to stretch, the turtle-dog-man freezes in a fashion that a movie would when your DVD is scratched. You sigh in relief.  The turtle-dog-man is still frozen in your passenger seat with its mouth wide open, ready to continue screaming about the inevitable apocalypse. You don’t mind the frozen turtle-dog-man until you start to notice that your vision is beginning to be tinted red. You look over to your mystery passenger, to find that his mouth, eyes, ears and nose are glowing red and leaking all over the place. You bury your eyes into your hands to try and hide from the deepening red that is clouding your vision.  When you return your eyes to the road you find that your vision has been fixed and, more importantly, your new pal is nowhere to be found. You wipe the sweat from your forehead and look down at your car’s clock and see the time.

 

7:16

Your eyes are beginning to twitch because you apparently didn’t blink during your episode with the turtle-dog-man. You look past the cars ahead of you and see that the flagger is still in the middle of the road with the expressiveness of a boulder. His feet have seemingly become one with the piece of Earth that he’s commanding cars from.  The sun is becoming heavier by the minute. You start to hear that weird high pitched humming sound that only exists in desert scenes of movies. Your life is starting to flash before your eyes; it doesn’t take very long because of your age so your brain begins to wander again. You’re beginning to forget what life out of this car was even like; the only thing pushing you through this stagnant period is the presumed promise of an end to it. Your car is beginning to feel like a jail cell; you start to think about what you wished you could’ve seen, done, accomplished before you got caught in this trap of an intersection. You look to your clock for an escape.

 

7:16:30

Time as a concept is starting to feel like a cruel joke played on you by that flagger. As you start to plot your escape you hear a loud “thump” on the top of your car. As you prepare to look at what is causing such a commotion above you a thought creeps out from the back of your mind.   What if this wait is just a test from God; what if the cars, the flashing lights, and even the flagger are merely pawns in their scheme to test your endurance. With this revelation, you start to contemplate if you should just ram right through the potentially imaginary cars. Right as your foot starts its descent onto the gas pedal your realize you forgot all about the concert going on at the top of your car. You quickly spring your head out your window only to be extremely disappointed, fore it was only the daily fight between a local teen and one of the construction workers. As the teen and the worker get off your car and schedule their fight for tomorrow you get back to your internal crisis. Your eyes are dragged back down to your car’s clock.

 

7:16:45

At this point, you’re not even distraught, for you have made your peace: your remaining time on this Earth will be spent in this intersection. You reach for your radio so you can distract yourself. As your finger touches the volume knob you feel a slight shock that travels all around your body. For a moment everything is quiet, still, serene, etc.. A blank sound begins to blare from the inside of your head and the red tint from earlier begins to flood your vision. You frantically dart your eyes around the car looking for something to bury them in but nothing, not even your hands are around.

 

7:17

The flagger gives the signal for the Sea Rd. lane to go. Currently, you’re having a bit of an issue: your vision is all red and your body’s invisible. Confusingly your car starts going once the car in front of you went. You look into the window as the car goes away. You see another version of yourself driving away in your car. Although you’re very disappointed you’re happy that a version of yourself has escaped this hellish intersection, even if that version isn’t yourself.  

 

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