Author: Servot PM
A man's journey to work through a parking lot.Rated: Fiction T - English - Words: 1,640 - Reviews: 1 - Published: 04-11-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3012727
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Words about weather came crackling out from the radio. 'It's hot' was the phrase of the day and dawn had just begun to tell the world how true a statement that was. The driver reached down to turn the radio off when it became clear that the heat wave was all those invisible men had to talk about. The nameplate on his uniform slipped off and hit the floor with a clang. Each turn he took uprooted the cheap steel and crashed it against the walls that were keeping out the unholy heat. The bottom of his shoe caught the plate halfway through its journey through the car and there it stayed for the rest of the drive.
The road veered left, and after that to the right. Then it went left again. Blue rectangles on silver poles marked out the sides of the road. 'World Mall Parking Lot Three Miles Ahead.' 'World Mall Parking Lot, Next Left.' He turned the car left again and was blinded by the unending sea of automobiles. The day's first light glinted off the thousands of windshields, windows, and brand new paint jobs. Trams dozens of yards long held people dozens of inches tall. The nearest parking spot to the pick up stations was brushing right up against a distance he would have deemed too far to walk. He stopped the car there and opened the door.
Beads of sweat formed on his face the moment he made contact with the outside world. Thrusting himself back inside, he instinctively slammed the door. Eyes wide with panic, sweat staining the barely acceptably clean uniform he once took so much pride in. The crushing thought that it would be another hour before air conditioning would grace his unshaven face and crudely cut hair sent fear throughout his body. His breathing grew heavy and his head heavier. The man leaned against the window and shut his eyes. Silence. Nothing in all the world dared to make a sound, every human on every continent waited and all of them shared one thought. Relaxation, and it was so sublime. Time slowed down and then stopped entirely. Lost in an impenetrable sphere of peace, he napped.
A screech ripped through the air with an unmatchable intensity. The man jerked up and out of his slumber, smacking his head against the roof. Delirium took over. He shifted slowly in the seat. Everything had its own clone and they moved in unison before his eyes to the tempo of the piercing sound that had ruined his morning. Again his head crashed, this time into the window. Ringing ears and eyes he couldn't trust. He dove a hand into his pocket, the place where salvation was waiting. White and cylindrical heaven was in his grasp and he wrenched it out of the chasm keeping it, and his sanity, from him. His convulsions made the vehicle bounce slightly. Shaking hands tightly held the bottle and tore off the lid. He dipped back his head and smashed into his mouth the savior, the messiah, the pills. Gravity took control over them and their descent began. He swallowed hard and opened his eyes. Stillness.
But the sound remained. He rubbed his eyes and looked to where he though the sound was coming from. A car was blinking in rhythm with the wailing. Glass covered the pavement near where there used to be windows. Specks of blood traced a path from the car to a man, clutching his knee with one arm and a full plastic bag with the other. Shattered pieces of window were jammed into his fist and the sunlight shone off them, occasionally blocked by small amounts of blood dripping from his knuckles.
The man in uniform opened the car door and stepped out. He recoiled slightly from the heat, but dared not retreat back inside. Although the footsteps didn't seem noticeable to him, the other man picked up on them. Still holding his knee and bag, he rose and began stumbling off.
"I think my car might have first aid in it. Some band-aids or something," the uniformed man called out to the other.
He was hoping that he had exhausted the Hello Kitty ones purchased by mistake. The man turned back with his left eyebrow cocked and an open mouth.
"Your, uh, leg. And hand I guess. Hands, I mean. They've got blood on them."
"What makes you think it's my blood?"
He dropped his arms to his sides and looked around. No one else was nearby. He sighed and looked back at the man offering a thief band-aids.
The driver ducked back into his car, a short chance to escape the heat was more than enough reward for giving out his small amount of medical supplies. He stayed there for a moment, having forgotten about helping the bloodied man. A knock on the window reminded him of what he was supposed to be doing. Under the passenger seat, inside the plastic container, and inside the cardboard box. He handed a brightly colored band-aid to the man.
"I, uh, bought them by mistake," he said, hoping his lie was believable.
Both eyebrows went up this time. The very beginnings of a smirk were etched onto his face.
"I'll need more than one."
"Oh yeah, yeah, sure. Here."
Seven brightly colored adhesive bandages had passed hands before they went their separate ways.
"Thanks for the cat band-aids, man."
"Uh, no problem."
He looked at the box for a moment and then turned it upside down. Only one cat themed medical problem solver fell out. He put it back in the box, closed the lid, and tossed it into the backseat.
"I don't have to pay you for these, right?"
"Uh, no, I guess not."
The thief looked inside the plastic bag he had been holding onto so tightly. He shifted through the debris inside and pulled out a small cardboard box.
"Here, take this"
He tossed the box toward the man in the scruffy uniform. It hit the pavement with a soft thud.
"Nice catch, and thanks again for the band-aids," he said and began walking away.
Inside the box was thirteen band-aids. Normal, brown, sticky band-aids. He looked up at the man with the bag.
"What did you need mine for if you had these?"
He stopped and looked back at him, then at the ground. His face scrunched up and his nails ran themselves along his chin. He looked up again and their eyes met.
"I don't know," he said, just as confused at the man who had helped him. The thief turned around and walked off.
Under the passenger seat and inside the plastic container went his gift. A flash of light caught his eye and looked toward the pedals. The nametag was still waiting for him there. The uniformed man picked it up and stuck it to his shirt. He got out of the car and shut the door, forlornly gazing back inside. As awful a car as it was, it was the least hot thing he had access to for miles. Circles of sweat had already formed under his armpits and on the back of his uniform. A soiled uniform is a bad way to start the day.
He tore himself from the car and looked up to the sky. The sun told him where east was and he focused his eyes in that direction as much as any man of his mental stature could. Although he could not see it, it was there. A large building, gray, tall, and wide. Only a structure of that gargantuan size could merit a parking lot this massive.
A much smaller building without walls was visible a few hundred feet away. Above it was a sign, 'Tram Station F95.' His target. Waves rose off of the asphalt and distorted everything in his sight. His throat was dry with thirst but he was drowning in an ocean of his own sweat. He turned and looked back at his car. Not even halfway there. His shoulders fell and his knees grew weak. The ground grew closer and closer. It crashed into his head and then the rest of his body.
He opened his eyes, closed them, and then opened them again. He couldn't tell the difference. The heat was gone, as was the light. He looked down at his wrist but his watch wasn't there. In place of it was a sticky note with light coatings of blood. 'Thanks for the band-aids.' The asphalt around him had even more blood on it. His hands felt for the wound that must have been on his head. It wasn't. Fingers caught the edge of something in his hair and he pulled on it. With his eyes finally adjusted to the darkness, he saw a Hello Kitty band-aid covered in hair and blood. His feet suddenly grew cold and he realized he no longer had his shoes.
The moon told him where west was and off he went. Something metal pierced his foot and he screamed out in pain. He bent over and grasped for it in the limited light. His nametag. Upon closer inspection he realized a smiley face had been drawn on it in permanent marker. He sighed and continued on.
A trail of blood led him back to his car where he injured his foot once again. Shards of glass everywhere. He opened the door and sat down. His arm reached for a lever and the seat leaned back. He closed his eyes and began to drift off to sleep once more when a screech woke him up. The ceiling hit his head even harder this time.