In Sunnyville, every day was exactly the same. Every family would wake up at 7:00 AM sharp. The parents prepared breakfast, took the kids to school, and headed to work. At 12:00 PM came lunch break. Everyone in the town stopped what they were doing to open their brown paper bags to remove their perfectly cut pastrami sandwich. At 3:00 PM the children got home from school, and at 5:00 PM the parents came home from work, in time for dinner at 6:00 PM, after which the children went right upstairs to do their homework. At 9:15 PM the children would be tucked into bed. The mother or father would read a simple story out of the book on the nightstand, each story taking exactly 15 minutes, so the lights could be off by 9:30 PM. Afterwards, the parents rejoined each other on the couch in the den to watch a sitcom before the 10 o’clock news came on. The news anchors would report that everything was perfect, that everything was going along exactly as it should, just as it had yesterday, the day before that, the day before that, and so on and so on as long as anyone could remember.
There was very little excitement in anyone’s life, but they were secure, and they were happy. Or at least content, which is, when it comes down to it, good enough.
One day, by chance, the Trickster happened to come to Sunnyville. He stood on the hill overlooking the city and watched the industrious citizens go about their daily lives. He sat on the hill for days, watching, waiting for something to change, but of course, nothing ever did.
“This is disgusting,” he said to himself, “I can’t bear to look at a land so orderly and controlled. I’ve got to do something.”
The Trickster sat and thought to himself, trying to figure out the best way to disrupt Sunnyville. He brooded and he pondered, he dreamed and he imagined, he schemed and he planned. Finally, he realized that sewing chaos here would be simple indeed, so simple that he laughed at himself for not realizing it earlier.
Early the next morning, the Trickster awoke at 7:00 AM, just like all the other inhabitants of the town. Unlike them, though, he did not fetch the morning paper, pour himself a cup of coffee, feed the dog or scramble eggs. Instead, he walked straight to the central square of the city and stood right in the middle of the intersection.
Soon, the cars began to pour out of the driveways of Sunnyville, and for the first time in their lives, the people experienced a traffic jam.
It wasn’t like any traffic jam you or I have ever seen, however. The pleasant people of Sunnyville had never in their lives been held up like this before. Rather than getting angry or frustrated, like those of us who don’t live in perfect worlds, they were simply confused.
The Trickster stood staring at the central clock for exactly ten minutes. And then, he simply stepped off the street and left Sunnyville forever.
The people, still confused, tried to salvage the rest of the day as much as they could. While nothing went seriously wrong, they felt as though their whole day was thrown off.
The next morning, though, they felt much better. Most of them woke up at 7:00 AM sharp, exactly like every other day.
But some of them woke up at 6:59. And some of them woke up at 7:01.
“I’m a little nervous,” she said, frowning a little. “I’ve never done this before.”
“To tell you the truth, me either,” he said, grinning sheepishly.
“Oh!” she said, brightening considerably, “Well that makes me feel a lot better.”
“Why?” he laughed, “It makes me a hell of a lot more nervous to know neither of us know what we’re doing.”
“Well,” she said, grinning devilishly, “At least I know if something goes wrong it’s not my fault.”
“I guess that’s true,” he laughed.
“Besides,” she said, “It can’t be that hard. Total morons manage to do it just fine all the time.”
“Maybe it’s because they don’t think too hard about it,” he said, “We might think too hard about it and mess it up.”
“I guess that could happen,” she said.
“It’s something that has to be done though,” he said.
“Oh definitely,” she said, “It’s not something that you can just not do.”
“And you know, with you, I just…it just seemed like the right thing to do.”
“Don’t worry about it,” she laughed, “I wouldn’t be able to do it by myself after all.”
“Well, I guess we should get it over with,” he said, sighing.
He turned back to her car and stared at the front wheel. “Let’s get this tire changed.”
Everyone said I was crazy, that it was a dumb idea, that I’d regret it. My friends wouldn’t stop calling my phone, sending text messages and showing up on my stoop at odd hours, begging me not to do it. My boss fired me, saying “I don’t want someone like you working for me!” as he drank his 100 proof whiskey, straight from the bottle. I stood fast on my position, I was going to do it, and there was nothing he could do to stop me. “Get out!” he bellowed at me, before he started sobbing uncontrollably. “You’re dead to me! Do you hear me!? YOU ARE DEAD!” I left, but my will was stronger than ever.
The next day, I carried out my plan. My sister drove me down to the dealership, pleading, begging me not to as we drove. The car slowed to a stop as I opened the door. At the last minute she grabbed the back of my shirt, tears flowing down her face. I shrugged her off and walked into the dealership, her car peeling away, leaving nothing but skid marks and a broken heart. I stepped into the dealership and walked straight up to one of the agents. I looked him straight in the eye and said “I’d like to buy a Smart Car.”
You know that scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, where the evil Nazi henchman’s face melts off? Well that didn’t happen to the sales agent, but his lip curled a little bit and I noticed sweat breaking out along his thinning hairline. “H-h-h-here are y-y-y-your pap-pap-pap-PAPERS, just f-f-f-fill them out, a-a-a-and I’ll run a c-c-c-credit check” he stammered nervously. I handed him my drivers license and walked out of the room as fast as he could without trying to look obvious. I looked at all the Smart Cars they had in the show room. I admit that at this point, I was having my own doubts about the whole idea. I vividly recalled the sleepless nights of weeks past, up until six AM, tossing and turning, thinking about what might happen, weighing my options. I banished those dark thoughts from my mind just as the agent returned. His eyes were stained, evidence that he had most likely been sobbing uncontrollably in the back room for the last ten minutes. He handed me my license and opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out, only unintelligible grunts. Sensing his question, I said “I’ll take the red one, with the leather interior.” He nodded again and scurried off. Thirty minutes later, the agent, his boss and a nun come out of the back room. The manager tries to reason with me. The nun falls to her knees, praying for my salvation. I shrug past them, grabbing the car keys and I drive off the lot.
The drive home is short, too short to second guess myself, too short to turn around and redeem myself. Light after light, turn after turn, white knuckles gripping the steering wheel, fingernails leaving permanent impressions. I get home and back into the driveway. The neighbors come outside to watch. Steven Robinson starts to cross the street but wimps out under my withering glare. I open the garage, grab the tuba case, and return to my new car. The rear hatch glides open silently as everyone watching gasps loudly. No time for pleasantries now. I grab the tuba and try to shove it in. No luck. Silently, I close the hatch and walk back inside my house, feeling every pair of eyes staring at the back of my neck. A perfect walk of shame.
I should have known.
I should have listened.
Tuba players shouldn’t buy Smart Cars.
(Just joining us? Go back to the beginning of the story.)
In the middle of the city square, a group of zombies rushed from the west to the east, growling and snarling and clawing, blood dripping from their mouths.
On the eastern side of the city square, a more colorfully dressed group of zombies rushed towards the west, moaning and groaning and pelvic thrusting, something entirely different dripping from their mouths.
The two groups met in the center, a frenzy of destruction. Zombies scratched and clawed at zombies who mounted and humped other zombies.
Suddenly, both groups were scattered as a jeep plowed through the center, rendering zombies of both types into colorful stains on the ground.
Inside sat the famous archeologist Jenny Zaland, her driver José, and assistant Phil.
“Remind me again why we had to come back into the city?” asked José.
“Those relics in my hotel room are priceless. We can’t let them be destroyed,” Jenny told him for the thirtieth time.
“Watch out!” shouted Phil, as José swerved around a group of undead women who had planted themselves in the road and were hiking up their skirts at the passing car.
“Those artifacts we found at the site could change the course of world history,” Jenny continued. “We’ve got to get them somewhere where they can be properly studied.”
“Why’d you store them in your hotel room anyway?” grumbled Phil.
As the jeep passed an alleyway, they were suddenly ambushed by a group of sexy zombies who pounced on the car and began drooling on the windshield. José screeched and turned the wheel, causing the car to flip. Jenny was thrown out of the car, but miraculously landed in a soft pile of rotting bodies. José and Phil were not so lucky, though. The car hit a wall and caught on fire. The zombies approached the two, desire in their eyes.
“Shit,” Jenny muttered, climbing out of the pile of bodies. She noticed her archeological pick had been thrown out of the car as well and was lying in the road in front of her. Unfortunately, as she bent over to pick it up she attracted the attention of a particularly perverted zombie who happened to be nearby. He pointed at her and shouted, and she took off running towards the hotel, several randy zombies in pursuit.
blow job, the door of the stall said, flash lights three times. How the hell does that one work? Some whore hangs around this rest stop all day every day waiting for someone to catch her message and flash their lights? Bullshit. If anyone’s hanging around waiting for someone to flash their lights they’re not gonna give you a blow job. That’s for sure.
I step out of the stall door and walk over to the sink and squeeze some god-knows-what chemical mix they call soap out into my hand. I’m struck with dread as no water comes out of the faucet when I turn it on. My worst fear is squeezing soap into my hand and then finding out the water’s been cut off. What the hell are you supposed to do then?
Outside the restroom are a pair of asian men, babbling to each other in some unintelligible language. I always hate being around people who speak a different language. You can never tell when they’re talking about you.
“Jesus Christ,” Stevens mutters as I slip into the passenger seat, “What the hell are they standing around for? Why the hell would anyone stand around at some goddamn rest stop?”
“Flash your lights three times,” I tell him.
“Why?” he asks, but does it anyway.
The asians stop talking and look at us.
“Well shit,” I muse, “It just might work.”
“What the hell are you talking about?” he asks suspiciously as he watches the asians get into their car and drive off. “Look at that, they weren’t even waiting for anyone. What the fuck were they doing?”
“What the fuck are we doing?” I ask as a police cruiser exits the highway and drives towards us. “Damn pigs saw us flash the signal. They’re after us now.”
He starts up the car and starts to drive away.
“Act casual,” I warn him.
Sometimes when I’m driving I make up stories about the bugs who hit my windshield.
“Man, this is great! I can’t wait to get home and tell Bernice I got a promotion! We’ll be able to send little Timmy to that great private school now. And I’ll finally be able to treat Bernice how she deserves. Take her out to nice dinners, buy her jewelry and fancy dresses, maybe a private romantic vacation once a ye…” *SPLAT*
It’s a shame they always have to end in tragedy.