He could see the jaws of life peeking in through the crumpled seam of the door. His eyes played tricks on him, and the little metal pincers appeared to be changing shape, moving globules like mercury. He knew that wasn’t happening—that they were solid steel—but that’s what he saw. He heard the whirr of the pneumatics as the jaws tried to open. Then they melted onto the floor and a tunnel of black zoomed down onto them, a growing vignette that terminated at the jaws’ flaccid palpi and then transformed into total blackness.
Before that, he was driving down Central Expressway, singing along to the playlist he’d made her for Valentine’s Day.
My therapist said not to see you no more
She said you’re like a disease without any cure
She said I’m so obsessed that I’m becoming a bore, oh no
Ah, you think you’re so pretty
He considered their love of irony.
Before that, he was at the flower shop, silently laughing at himself at how he had become a cliche, a dozen roses in one hand, American Express card ready in the other.
Before that, he couldn’t wait until the proverbial bell rang at work and he could close Outlook and head for his car.
Before that, he had caught himself daydreaming about how great she was and how lucky he was to have her.
The roses had flown from the back seat, impacting the headrest of the passenger seat and exploding all over the front of the vehicle.
Now his lifeless body was covered in red rose petals. Ready for burial already. The jaws of life split the door open, their mouth open, reading last rites.
I wrote this on Valentine’s Day this year. That day, like most days while I was required to work in-office in Richardson, TX (the closest Dallas suburb, about a 30-50 minute drive from my house in Dallas), checking my commute home showed multiple “accidents” causing extensive traffic backups on the highway. I typically worked later hours to avoid rush hour. That day, as people traveled to their dates around the city, it made no difference.
I’m currently listening to Carmageddon by Daniel Knowles. It reports:
In Dallas, the traffic death rate is ten times what it is in New York State.
…and that is after explaining that highways are by far the safest place to drive.