DISCLAIMER: The following is a work of fiction. I think. It includes language and images that some persons may find to be objectionable or disturbing. This is not exactly accidental.
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The scientist was on his bicycle, riding to work on a hot August morning, heading to Honolulu.
He was in no hurry. The air conditioning to his windowless lab had broken down, a casualty of his employer’s deferred-maintenance program (he thought it was around $500 million’s worth by now), and the temperature in the lab had risen to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
He was going to have to get used to it. With programs being slashed to ribbons and only a court case preventing salaries from being slashed with them (for the moment), repairs were nowhere on the horizon. Not even the institution’s extortionate new parking policies would pay for them – not least, because those policies were a major reason why he was riding that bicycle. The last thing he needed was to arrive at work already overheated.
Besides. The traffic light ahead had gone to yellow. He, along with the three lanes full of cars and trucks to his left, prepared to stop.
Without any sort of warning, two guys on road racing bicycles and wearing store-bought team cycling gear raced by on his left – a few inches of wiggle on their part or his, and the scientist would have been sent sprawling onto the curb. They charged ahead, clearly intending to run the red light and expecting the crowd of cars to look out for them.
The lead car in the left-turn lane of the facing traffic had other ideas. The second its light turned green, or perhaps just an instant before, it charged into the intersection, tires squealing, and went straight for the cyclists, sending them sprawling onto the curb. They sprang up immediately (to the scientist’s not-unqualified relief) and marched toward the offending vehicle, which had screeched to a stop, blocking the highway. Its driver was standing by the door.
“Hey, asshole! Watch where you’re going!”
“Hey, fucking haoles. Next time, you stop at the light!”
“The hell with the light. You tryin’ to get somebody hurt?”
“You don’t stop at the light, next time I ain’t stoppin’ neither. Two less haoles to fuck up Hawai‘i. You piss me off any more, I take care of it now.”
“You try it, bastard!” The two bicyclists made to rush the driver.
And found themselves staring down the barrel of an automatic weapon.
“Get the fuck out of the road. Now. Before I change my mind.”
The cyclists backed up slowly until they reached their mangled rides at the curbside, hauled them up onto the grassy bank on the other side of the sidewalk, and stood beside them, mute, still, glassy-eyed.
The driver threw the machine gun into the front passenger’s seat, got into the car, and drove sedately down the highway, Ewa-bound.
For what seemed like an eternity, nobody moved. There was no sound but the idling of the engines of the cars piled up at the intersection.
Then, the traffic signal for the main highway turned from green to yellow.
And there was a mad dash to beat the light.
– O Ceallaigh
Copyright © 2009 Felloffatruck Publications. All wrongs deplored.
All opinions are mine as a private citizen.