Home > write365. > Day 1: a last-minute vignette.

Day 1: a last-minute vignette.

Hundred yards ahead the traffic light blinked yellow to red and Adrian, accustomed to the rhythm of the traffic in Carlotta and therefore riding the brake, slowed his ’98 Civic to a full stop. He wasnt in Carlotta yet—not the city itself—but without now seeing the limestone WELCOME sign standing among its seasonal floral arrangement and small copse of dogwoods he knew where the division line fell, where the registered operators of motor vehicles fell from the precipice of bad to the bedrock of worse. Three miles to the Downtown Mall. He expected to be there in twenty if such thing as good fortune was permitted in town.

To his right there wasnt much. The railings of the bridge his car idled on and meager view of the River Anna slowflowing beneath and beyond. He turned his body and six or eight carlengths from the rear bumper of the Ford the next lane over there was a Mercedes inching forward at a deathcrawl. It was new, that much Adrian, who knew little more than nothing about the automobile, could tell. Champagne finish, the tires yet to take on the grit of the road. The old man behind the wheel looked askance out his window, to the rearview, his eyes wheeling with a proud and worried contempt for the used-car heathens who had the gall to be out. The Mercedes rolled forward a foot before the old man braked: and again, and again, in a rhythm off the beat of the Carlotta standard, putting a cushion of space between his backend and the rust-colored beater-car behind him.

Adrian reckoned the old man was sweating under the straps of his suspenders. The speed limit on Rt. 20 through town was thirty-five until the straightaways that advertised fifty, but he didnt believe the old man had much to fret over. It seemed likely, to Adrian, that he had neutered the tachometer for thinking such things.

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1 January 2011 has come and gone. To all of you I wish for a happy, healthful, and productive year.

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