Friday, January 6, 2012

257/365 --Playlist Story-- inspired by "Exodus Honey" by Honeycut

The urban canyon cut twelve stories deep at its highest point--it was a segment of street, half a block, hemmed in by bollards and a pedestrian promenade on one end, and busy cross street fronted by a serious and dour looking bank at the other. Cars that got caught on the street had to make a U-turn at the bollards or park in the spaces along the sides that were never empty. There were five restaurants with glass facades and modern lettering that heavily favored helvetica. Behind the glass were clean Scandinavian chairs and tables topped with simple glassware. The interiors featured muted, carefully selected colors. The cars out front were recent year models, but sensible choices with low emissions and high miles to the gallon. Everyone who walked on the street was reasonably stably employed.

There was a man yakking on a phone, a shiny bluetooth device shoved into his ear. He stood by the trunk of his car in a frozen state of opening or not opening it that would only be resolved once his conversation terminated. A young woman dressed ironically in black was in the process of crossing the street, her vision and attention completely engaged in a game of Angry Birds on her phone. A male bike messenger carrying a manila package and riding illegally on the sidewalk was staring at her and did not notice the light pole six inches from his front wheel. On the other side of the street a middle-aged woman, the proprietor of one of the restaurants, was struggling to unbuckle her child from his booster seat in the back of her van; he was screaming because she turned off the small screen TV a few feet from his eyes that was showing his favorite DVD.

In one of the apartments above the street lived an elderly man who was yelling at his television because he had seen one too many ads for tampons that day. He yearned for a simpler time when that just wasn't shown. Another apartment was occupied by a woman who was googling skin diseases and had been doing so for the last three hours. She bit her lip worriedly and rubbed a suspect patch of skin on the back of her wrist. Her neighbor, a young man, slack-eyed who was thirty minutes late for his job at the restaurant run by the woman with the screaming child, was absorbed in a game of Mass Effect.

Then the most improbable, extraordinary thing happened--spacetime ripped open without a sound and a suddenly confused pterodactyl soared through the canyon for twelve seconds before disappearing back to its proper time. No one on the street noticed. The man on the phone finished his call and opened his trunk. The young woman playing Angry Birds tripped as she reached the opposite curb and scraped her ankle, the bike messenger swerved at the last moment and pedalled fast onward, the woman, gritting her teeth finally extracted her son, with him hitting her face with petulant fists, the elderly man took a swig of warm beer as his show resumed, calmed, the woman with the skin problem got distracted by an ad for a self-help book on the paleo diet, and the young man decided to quit his job so he could finish the game--which took him several more days of dedicated play.

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