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Late For Work, Again

January 20, 2016

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Felton Ray pulled up to the stop-light with a lot on his mind. The traffic around him was just heavy enough to be annoying. Felton knew this stop-light well. It was a quick green with a long red, and he might not make it through if any of the cars straggled. He was the fifth car in the queue. He had to make this light...

 

He was going to be late for work, again, and he didn’t need any more trouble there. His job had been tense and crazy lately; too many hours, too many bad reviews. Felton was anxiously staring at the cars in front of him, studying them for clues as to which one would be the straggler, the one he would hate in a few moments if he didn’t make this light. He would blame that person for all his problems. He could yell horrific things at this anonymous driver: vociferous profanities, slow-death wishes, racial epithets even, no matter their race. Felton knew he had to look away.

 

He set his gaze on the familiar pizza joint on the corner. The red and blue neon “OPEN” sign flashed on and off indefinitely. The idea of pizza made Felton hungry, but he had no time to eat. “Dammit! Will this light ever turn green?!?”

 

Felton noticed some men around the front of the building. They looked busy, walking back and forth and gesturing wildly to each other. They were peculiar, seemingly Northern African or Middle Eastern, all wearing heavy jackets in the heat of the late summer day. Felton Ray was intrigued. He watched the men scurrying around, yelling to each other, clearly not concerned with the customers inside. They were up to Something...

 

He saw several flats of flowers, all different colors, maybe geraniums. Felton did not know many types of flowers. There were planter boxes skirting the entire façade of the building just underneath the ample banks of windows, which contained more of these same type of flowers, or at least Felton presumed, not knowing too many types of flowers. He noticed that some of the men were carrying flowers around, while others were planting them. Felton assumed that all the commotion was about getting the right mix of flower colors distributed throughout the flower boxes. He wondered if he could ever care that much about planting flowers.

 

As Felton observed the buzz hive of activity, he noticed one distinctly thin man standing with his back to the cars at the light. This man was wearing a longer jacket than the rest, and he was not moving around like the others. The man was looking around, actively listening to the others, but otherwise not moving. Felton studied him. The man was doing something with his hands in front of him, legs akimbo. Felton assumed that he was planting flowers, but there was something about the way the man was standing that seemed inconsistent with planting flowers. Then Felton saw the man conclude the unmistakable act of zipping up his pants and buckling his belt, a little shake of the hips and his legs returning to the normal standing position.

 

“A bold move, no doubt, and possibly brilliant, but what about the people inside?! He did it right in front of the window! He pissed in his own flowers!” Felton was smiling now and shaking his head. The thin man was now moving around like the others, joining in the buzz hive, wildly waving his arms around and shouting. Felton wanted to yell something out the window at him, but as he leaned over to roll down the passenger side window, he was startled by a honking behind him. Felton looked back and saw a line of cars aft, and he quickly swiveled his head forward. There were no longer any cars in front of him. The light was stale yellow and he was 20 yards away. He would not make it. He sheepishly crept his car forward to the line and stopped, absorbing the anonymous hate and death-wishes from the line of cars behind him, and he rolled the passenger window back up.

 

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