Lenny drove up to the red lights flashing at the train crossing, and stopped. This was a small crossing where they didn't bother to install crossing guard arms to block the way. Waiting was the right thing to do. It was a reasonably warm day. The drive today was top-less, out enjoying the sexy look of the convertible.
He liked to tell people, "A convertible with the top up has a goofy look to it, like a run-way model walking with airs, wearing a yellow PVC rain slicker."
The style of car and man was perfect. No simple matter of wind could disturb the gel of his spiky hair. The air conditioning was on full blast to take the edge off the sun's heat. No train was in sight. That was all right with him. He would wait. Alone.
A young boy on a bicycle appeared. His bicycle looked the right size for him, perhaps next year; but this year he couldn't quite reach the seat, and his progress was a bit wobbly for it. Struggling along, he approached the car. A cat darted out of a roadside bush. The front wheel went to one side, the boy went to the other. That was it, all he needed; he collapsed into a heap with his bicycle onto the ground, beside the car.
Lenny had been thoughtlessly watching the boy's approach in the side mirror. The slow progress bored him. Adjusting the rear-view mirror, he scrutinized his hair.
"I look good," he told himself.
The noise of the boy's fall brought him back to the moment. There was a soft moaning. He turned around. There on the ground was the boy, tangled in his bicycle. He looked up to Lenny. The tears were beginning to water his eyes, pleading for comfort. Lenny stared at the boy. Neither moved. Moments passed. The boy looked down, embarrassed. The ground accepted his tears, without comment. Lenny continued to stare. More moments passed. His former emotionless existence began to form a single emotion; he could feel it grow, swelling inside: disgust.
Looking at the boy, he saw now it wasn't just the bicycle that was over-sized, the clothes were too. His shirt hung down loose at the neck. The baggy jeans had a fresh rip, exposing a skinny knee, which was covered in dust. Gravel was pushed under the skin where it hung loose. Small beads of blood had begun to leak through the abrasion, making a kind of mud with the dust. A movement came to Lenny, to his lips; it had the look of a grin. He knew where this would go.
"You are weak, boy," he said quietly.
The boy continued looking at the ground.
He spoke again, a bit louder, "You are weak. Get yourself up. Get out of here. What is wrong with you?" He took a small breath. "Are you stupid, or something? Are you a dummy? Do you make your slutty mother wish she would have finished another bottle of gin and had you aborted?"
The boy stopped sniveling; he looked up at Lenny, eyes bleary with tears. His mouth hung open, amazed an adult was talking to him this way. Lenny felt powerful. He gathered himself to finish with the boy, to tell him how ridiculous his over sized clothes and bicycle were. As he opened his mouth to deliver the blow, he noticed movement in the car's side mirror. He paused, watching the movement in the edge of his vision. Leaning further out of the car, he spoke loudly. It made him tingle, feeling the beginnings of his arousal.
"Are you OK little boy? Oh my, what has happened?" He said this, then turned his expressive, now, compassionate look, to meet the eyes of a young woman rushing up.
She had been jogging. That's what she does when she wants to make her thoughts disappear. She had been doing a lot of that lately, jogging, trying to evade herself. But of late, her thoughts have become harder to overcome. The circuit path outside the city took her onto the road which crosses the train tracks. A boy was struggling up ahead on a bicycle. There was a car waiting at the train crossing. The crossing's red lights were flashing. She had been trying to lose herself, focusing on the lights flashing, back and forth, back and forth, left, right, left, right. Her pace kept the rhythm. She saw the boy fall, and the cat run across the road, continuing into the bushes. It was a black cat. She increased her pace, losing time with the lights, but then, gaining it again- running now. Clearly, the boy was just sitting there on his fallen bicycle since it collapsed to the ground.
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Drift - excerptScience Fiction
Drift, a novel. A little boy's accident appears to bring people together in help, passion, and destruction. The soon following orchestrated tragedy blurs the nature of reality, resulting in decisions with unexpected consequences, in the Panpsychism...