Awaiting Death: No More
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His headlights barely cut through the darkness and light rain, which makes the potholes his car bounces over nearly invisible. He thinks about the road department while he motors down the small avenue that their detour has forced him to use. Then he curses the workers who have taken a month to repave a five-mile highway primarily, he believes, because they do more talking and smoking than tamping and tarring.
“Fuck, does anyone care?” he questions.
While squinting to navigate the foreign road, he thinks about his boss’s secretary. The one who is always correcting him in that snooty way as if she was the big cheese in the office, which, he guesses, she is. He knows, and regrets, that secretaries have power by proxy and that most wield it savagely.
“A world without roadwork and mother-humping secretaries that’s all I ask for,” he says feeling the tension ache forming on the back of his neck. He’d rub it, but he’s having trouble controlling the car with two hands. One, he feels, would be fatal.
Instead, he thinks about Mary who is probably home whipping up her rainy day specialty; a big bubbling pot of tomato and tortellini soup. He breathes in deeply trying to imagine its smell. And as his tension starts to fade, he notices the six-foot stump that seems precariously close to the road.
“Odd,” he says. “You’d think they’d cut that down.” But as he approaches it, his headlights reveal the stump’s true identity. Through his wipers’ beats, he sees a teenage boy, who’s smiling in a strange sort of way, and pointing a shotgun in his direction. The boy’s face is so white it’s as if the rain has washed the color right out of him, and perhaps, it took his sanity with it.
“Mary,” he says as the gun’s barrels erupt, his windshield shatters, and something that feels like hot air strikes him in the face. And suddenly, there is no more rain, no more roads, no more secretaries and most importantly, there is no more “He” to think about.
If you have no questions or fears about your abilities, then you will learn nothing from your mistakes and know nothing about your limitations.