by Than Pence
On his way to work, Walter sees someone use their blinker!
|Walter Boyle drove to work at the appropriate speed limit, though he wished he could be going faster. It was the cars on the highway around him that kept him pinned down to this mediocre speed and he hated it. He always wanted to be driving faster, even though he didn’t necessarily want to be going to work.
Walter worked in a cubicle in the Primrose Promise building. He’d be expected to enter data and call Primrose Promise customers that chose to be insured with “A Primrose Promise!” He’d then be expected to take a lunch and eat in the cafeteria: something sensible and not conflicting with his diet. Afterwards, he’d pass up the opportunity to take a smoke with his co-workers because he’d quit smoking almost ten years prior.
The afternoon was expected to dither on until five o’clock. At that time, he’d be allowed to leave and drive the speed limit towards his simple, lonely home on Washenburn Circle.
All this Walter contemplated while being forced to drive to work within a modest limit of speed.
Suddenly, Walter noticed the man’s turn signal in front of him. It had started blinking rapidly, demanding the attention of all those around it. Walter looked around and saw that the car would most assuredly not be allowed to casually drift into the next lane. Everyone in the fast lane was going the same speed as everyone in Walter’s lane so they wouldn’t see a point, much as Walter didn’t.
Thoughts flittered into Walter’s mind then. He remembered a story he’d seen where a prisoner had been captured inside someone’s trunk. The only way they’d been able to reach the outside world was by messing with the blinker. Is this what’s happening now? He had never thought himself to be so lucky as to stumble upon a situation that was completely apart from his normal routine.
Walter found himself hitting the accelerator and moving closer to the imprisoning car, hoping that he’d be able to get a better look at the turn signal and the captive behind it. The car then started to anxiously dip towards the next lane, demanding to be let through. So you know I’m on to you, do you? Walter felt electric at the thought that he’d be crucial in bringing down a criminal. He picked up his cell phone and started to blindly press buttons, swerving a little himself in a manner that drew out blaring horns and possible obscenities.
But he stopped dialing when he realized he didn’t have proof yet. The victim in the story he’d seen had stuck their finger out through the hole left by the broken turn signal. So far, the blinker in front of Walter was just… blinking. But he’s trying to get away. Surely that’ll be enough to convict!
The car swerved again and, this time, he was allowed to get into the next lane and be graced with impolite hand gestures. Walter swore under his breath, put his phone down, and started to look behind himself to see if someone would possibly let him into that lane. When he looked back, he saw the car moving up much more quickly. The entire right lane was starting to move faster… and Walter realized his own lane was coming up on the construction that had been dominating the highway for a week now. He’d forgotten because of the potential adventure and now the entire right lane was blazing by with the car, blinker, and possible prisoner seemingly leading the pack.
It was several minutes before Walter was allowed to get into the left lane. He cursed himself the whole time as he didn’t even think to memorize the license plate of the nefarious car and its telltale turn signal. As traffic thinned and he was allowed to pass the construction, Walter found that he wasn’t constricted by any other cars. He was free to go as fast as he pleased, even though he didn’t really see the point. No sense in driving fast and getting killed, just to get to a job.
He arrived to work a few minutes late and, in the parking lot, he saw a car that was very similar to the one from the highway. Walter couldn’t believe his luck. He ran up to it and started tapping on the trunk, feeling confident in doing so since everyone else was already in the building.
But there was no sound from the trunk. Looking at the car as a whole, Walter realized he couldn’t be sure that this was even the same car. He’d focused so much attention on the blinker that he didn’t pay much attention to the rest of the vehicle. Sighing and feeling foolish, he left the parking lot and went into the office, a tinge of sadness in his wake because he thought nothing exciting ever happened to him.
Word Count: 815