Monday, November 3, 2014

Atlanta 2, me 0 and a flash fiction piece

By the strangest twists of fate (apologies to Bob Dylan), the two times I have spent time in Atlanta I've been in car accidents.  You can ask how that is possible when I don't even drive.  Well, this is a car city like so many "newer" cities in the South and West.  You really can't go many places without a car as I've learned in my carfree innocence.  This is such a car city that I don't even dare to ride my bike except in the depths of the suburbs or on preplanned bike routes. 
     The first accident happened when I first returned from Spain to the US.  My sister and I were going to a poetry reading which of course, we never got to.  It wasn't too bad and we weren't hurt nor was the car but the accident (more of a fender bender) happened in the middle of the domain of Emory University so there were 3 sets of police cars that arrived on the scene along with an ambulance.  My first thought was I had no health insurance but fortunately I didn't need any treatment.
     November 1, which just happens to be my birthday.  Is that a bad omen when a car accident happens on your bday?  Does it set the tone for the year or is all the collective bad energy dispersed?  I need to consult my astro friends on that one.  Anyway, we ( my sister and I again) were entering a highway (of which Atlanta has a multitude, perhaps like LA) when an elderly woman ran a red light and hit the back end of the driver side of the car.  The next thing I knew we were  in the car facing the wrong direction, looking at oncoming traffic.  Fortunately, a police officer was getting off work, saw the whole thing, and stopped traffic.  What I do know is that to avoid getting into a car, I took 2 trains, a bus, and a long walk to get home.
    Food for thought again- am I in the right place? 

I've attached a car story- one I wrote for a prompt exercise.  Hope you enjoy it!

Cars, Today, and Tomorrow


Calvin was always complaining about progress and how the US was falling behind. Now he was back on the same jag.  ¨It´s true, Doug.  Look at China.  Cars show how far a society has come.  Progress. Now they´ve got more than us.  That´s an indicator; everything is Chinese; it´s because they´ve got cars now.¨

¨Come on Calvin, what are you nuts?  What´s this poison soup we´re breathing? Carbon m-o-n.-o-x-i-d-e.  Take a deep breath of that shit.  Fill up those lungs.¨

The two men were standing on the overpass of Route 20 A next to the mall waiting for the AAA to pick up Calvin´s car.  Smoke was billowing out from under the hood and the engine looked like it was ready to blow.  Doug couldn´t believe it; even with his car practically on fire, Calvin wouldn´t stop defending cars.  ¨The Chinese are now ahead of us in pollution too.  They got big black clouds there.  You can´t see the light of day in some of those cities.  That´s progress?¨

¨Think of it; the smell of a new car. Picture it a Jag or, let´s say a Porsche.  Soft leather, heated seats in the winter when you get into that baby.  Cream color interior, GPS, a sound system better than you got at home.¨

¨Get out of here, it´s not sex we´re talking about.  And hey, dude, dream on. Where do you see a Jaguar?  What do you call that over there that´s smoking up a storm?¨  Doug pointed to the 20 year old Chevy ten feet away.   ¨You think it could explode?¨  He stepped farther away just in case.

¨Nah, only on TV.  It takes a lot to get one to blow.  You got to cover it in gasoline.  My car is fine.¨

¨What´d you do, forget to put oil in there?  You with your cars.¨

Calvin ignored Doug and continued his reverie.  ¨Power, that ´s what you want.  That feeling under you.  You can take on the world.¨

¨How long did they say?¨ Doug was getting impatient with the triple A.  ¨They´re usually pretty good.¨

¨An hour about.¨

¨That Chevy has seen better days.  Maybe you should get that dream car.¨

¨The Chevy was Dad´s.  Still got some life in it.¨

¨Yeah, if you keep pumping your paycheck into it.¨

¨At least I´m not on some corner waiting for a goddam bus.¨

¨Well, at least, I´m not poisoning anybody.¨

¨You kidding. With those buses.¨

¨They´re ecological now.  They burn natural gas.¨

¨Next you´ll tell me they burn chicken shit.  You luddites are going to set us back a few centuries.  Then you´ll be happy.  You won´t have any cars, no lights, no TV, now that´s ecological.  Get your garden going.  Make your own clothes.  What kind of future is that?¨

Doug laughed, ¨I´ll keep my way.  You stay in that pile of shit.  I´m going to walk to the mall.  That´s where we´re supposed to be right now.  I got to get my daughter´s birthday present.¨

¨See how you get home.¨

¨Hey, I´ll take a bus.¨

¨Remember that´s why we´re in this mess.  There is no bus.¨

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