fourteen >

My car smells like the apocalypse. That distinct smell of saltwater and bleach. I think it is leftover from the tacos I got earlier in the week. There was probably still one rolling around underneath the passenger seat.

The smell was distracting. I forgot why I was driving. I knew I was leaving for good, but wasn't sure why had I decided to go by car. If I had my choice I would be in a hot-air balloon. Or at least a trolley. Maybe my wife told me to take the car. Maybe it wasn't even my decision to leave.

The smell had to go. It was clouding my judgment.

I reached my hand underneath the seat and groped for a taco.


I tried reaching around from behind. Just an old Sprite with a peanut butter M&M stuck to it.

I liked taking my eyes off the road, even for a second.

I unbuckled my seat belt. I managed to fit most of my arm underneath the passenger seat. I touched something warm and soft. It felt like pudding. Some of it got on my hand. It looked like marinara sauce.

I smelled it. It smelled like vinegar and shampoo.

I tasted it. It reminded me of wet lettuce. I felt something like static electricity moving across my forehead. Like I just had 3 cups of coffee. I loved driving. I loved the way the lights told me when to stop and when to go.

I opened my sunroof. I kept my foot on the accelerator and stood up as much as I could. The top of my face was out of the car. The wind messed up my hair. I had to strain my neck to keep my head in place. A man in a truck was staring at me, shaking his head. I gave him a thumbs up. He still look concerned. I smiled, trying not to show too many teeth.

I sat back down. I closed my eyes and counted. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. I opened my eyes. I was still alive. I was still mostly in my own lane. I closed my eyes again. This time I made it to nine.

My head started to hurt. Like my eyebrows were groping toward each other, trying to attach. My eyes were blurry. I thought my contacts must have come out. I tried to touch my eyelid and hit my glasses.

I felt nauseous and my mouth tasted like someone had vomited spaghetti and orange soda down my throat without asking. I put my seat belt back on. Every twenty seconds or so I turned up the radio until I wasn't aware of anything except a feeling like styrofoam being trapped in between my brain and skull.

I accidentally ran a red light.

I drove 21 miles per hour over the speed limit.

The smell was back. This time coming from my arms and jacket. I had to pull over. I saw a sign for a grocery store. I turned into the parking lot.

This would work out, I thought. I was feeling better. I wasn't as pale. Maybe I could even buy a donut and some Gatorade.

I almost hit a pedestrian. I was going 47 mph. I wondered what kind of asshole pedestrian walks out in front of a car going 47 mph in a parking lot.

I rolled down my window and yelled.

I pointed at the pedestrian and said fuck at least seventeen times.

I felt great.

Why did I want to get a donut. What I really wanted was one of those rotisserie chickens. The whole thing in a bag. I couldn't wait to peel off its skin and put it over my tongue. If I didn't eat it all I could keep it in my car. It would be safe here. Away from strange teeth and nosy arms.

< >