So, here we go again:
#BlogBattle Number 22
I tried – I really did – to submit stories for a couple of the #BlogBattles in the past weeks, but none of them would close out; the endings just would not form, and they sat unfinished even after time had ended to post them. I may still try to finish them and “publish” them anyway. Who knows?
The prompt for this week is “Time,” and I have just the story for it. I wrote this for one of my lessons while taking a sort-of correspondence course from Long Ridge Writers Group.
My instructor, Kris Franklin, told me the ending needed work. Go figure. Reading it in the original wording, I can see the end is unexciting, kind of a let-down, really.
Hopefully, by the time the post must be submitted, I’ll have gotten some response to a cry for help I sent out. We shall see…
UPDATE – I have gotten the feedback I requested, and Rachel Ritchey has given me the green light to enter it. She graciously agreed to have a look at it, and gave valuable insight. Thanks, Rachael!
“I really don’t have time for this!”
Joe gripped his steering wheel too tightly as the long line ahead of him moved forward another foot. He glanced again at his watch. Forty-five seconds since last time he looked, though he could have sworn five minutes had passed.
Deep breath, let it out in a rush. “What can possibly be going on up there?”
He removed his seat belt, ready to put his car in park and open the door to get a better look ahead. The traffic decided to move.
“It’s about time,” he muttered, looking down to refasten the belt. He looked up in time to see three cars pull into the space created by his hesitation then everyone decided to stop again.
“You’ve got to be kidding!” He leaned forward and thumped his head on the wheel two, three times. If only he could find a way to get around them, but the cars in the middle lane all seemed parked, and he had not seen an opportunity to jump one way or the other for the last ten minutes.
He had been in the inside lane, the “fast” lane, as it stood stock still and the others crept along. When he saw a space from a slow-footed driver, he jumped over. That lane stopped and the one he vacated began creeping.
“Figures,” he sighed, imagining those who had been behind him and saw his hasty change were pointing at him as they passed, laughing at him as they rolled by.
He didn’t look over, afraid to see if his paranoia was right. He just kept searching far down the line to try to see what the problem might be.
He didn’t want to take his eyes off the bumper or brake lights ahead of him for fear of getting cut off again, but glanced at his watch anyway. Seventy seconds had passed this time.
Sirens sounded behind. He looked in the mirror to see cars trying to move to the right so the lights could run down the center shoulder.
Bleeps, whoops and ornery honks sounded, making him think life kind of mirrored a computer game. Once things seemed to be going well, everything stopped acting right.
The emergency vehicles got closer. He moved over, might have been able to touch the car on his right, and the ones on the left were inching dangerously close.
Further up in front of the line, he saw they were able to change lanes, empty the fast lane so the police and ambulance could pick up speed to get to the problem quicker.
After the flashing lighted conveyances passed, the vehicles began moving back and flowed by in their wake.
He breathed, “Come on, come on!” watching the mirror, hoping for someone to hesitate as he had. One slowed right next to him and let the three who had taken advantage of his previous lapse to move back, but when he tried, that person carried on like he wasn’t there.
“Thank you!” he yelled at his closed window. “Jeez!”
Deep breath, let it out.
Look at the watch, two minutes left.
He only had two minutes until time he had said he would arrive. So much for that. He knew he had a legitimate excuse, but that wasn’t the point. He hated being late.
Finally, the lanes began creeping again.
He could see the emergency. A car had lost a tire, and four other people had collided trying to avoid the projectile.
The cops were moving all the traffic to the right shoulder to go around, letting three cars from one lane pass, stopping the fourth and letting three from the next lane go. They were trying to be fair, but some of the people seemed to feel more important and pressed their luck.
Getting closer to the snag, Joe recognized the car which had lost the tire. He looked into it and saw Sara. But she should be waiting for him at the park.
She had called, told him to meet her there in twenty minutes. He had left immediately, deciding to take the freeway because of the higher speeds. Then the gridlock happened.
As he approached the cop directing his lane, he rolled down his window and slowed even as the officer motioned him on.
“That’s my sister,” he said and indicated the mess. Angry honks blasted behind him for detaining the other frazzled drivers further.
“Pull over on the grass there.” The cop pointed to the side and motioned his partner to help.
Getting out of his car, Joe looked at his watch again.
Sara came running over to hug him as he said, “Right on time.”