Gridlock

BUZZING HYPNOTICALLY to one side, only a window and a foot of black smoke-hacking exhaust away, is a spider-eyed bus, idling for well over an hour, its antennoid mirrors chitinously curling and uncurling in time with the pulsing heartbeat of diesel. Now it creaks as it haltingly shudders a yard or so forward before stopping again, once more arthritically folding its thousand cased legs under the soot-stained chassis.

You wonder at what precise moment you went from moving very, very slowly to not moving very, very slowly, but no quicker either.

An ant passes you on the right, cursing you in Italian.

Then an entire army of variously nationalitied insects that remark in myriad tongues at your (admittedly impressive) boredom and imagination.

Night falls, and the road is defined now only by the cars that are on it:

The unmoving column of paired red eyes snaking off over the hills and into the distance,

and

The whizzing blurs of steel to the left, their tired headlights trailing retinal scars like dragons’ whiskers.

The sun rises and sets at least a dozen times, the clouds blow as if in one of those cheesy time-lapse shots, and the stars slowly shift their positions. Around you, the trees age and fall, the forest is replaced by a hilly brush, and the asphalt of the road crumbles to dust as giant scallops roam the Earth.

You idly consider how lonely you’ll be when you get home and everyone’s been dead for millennia/eons.

Because why not, you lean heavily on your horn for a solid minute, adding to the symphony of frustration that allows none of the drivers to sleep but because might as well lean on their horns, too.

The Earth is engulfed by the cleansing plasma of the expanding sun, which presently dims and is snuffed by nothing more than seconds, albeit a lot of them, crudely scotch-taped together into something a bit less fathomable.

Either your watch has stopped or it’s two in the morning. When you shake it, something comes free and rattles about, so maybe now it really is broken. Oh well.

The horn can transmit in morse code, (could,) if you knew it. It could even if you didn’t. Can. If you don’t. Which you can’t. You try anyway.

The road is now merely a shimmering memory of a direction, alone in matterless space, faintly glowing where maybe once, long ago, millions upon millions of sentient minds railed in fury at the unfeeling length of concrete, as it coughed and tittered at them, with all the time it needed.

Two fifteen.

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