Six Vignettes: Green

Two minutes ago her driver was humming along to some recent chart hit by the latest Dietrich-wannabe and Tracey Alekhin couldn't get the phrase poker-face out of her head now.  She sat back on the leather seat staring at the glass partition in front of her.  A fine red spray obscured her view of her driver, but he was slumped forward over the steering wheel anyway.  The lights had changed to green once already and back to red again, but she was pretty certain she wouldn't be going anywhere when they went back to green.  Not now.

A motorcycle courier had pulled up alongside the car, leaned into the driver's window and shot him once.  She guessed it had gone through his eye and out of the back of his head; her driver had more metal in his skull that any living man had a right to.  Something had cracked the glass partition, but it had held.  Light now refracted redly in the rings, shockwaves emanating from an epicentre, diffused by the fine spray of blood and brain tissue.  It was pretty in a way, but she couldn't allow herself to think about it because it made her want to vomit.  Her side of the car was still pristine clean.  Could motorcycle couriers be hired for that kind of thing?  She could have found a use for that if she'd known about it sooner.

The lights changed to green again, and still no horns sounded behind her, no cars overtook, no-one swore vehemently or waved monodigital salutes at her stricken chauffeur.  It was almost as if there was a moment of respect, drawn out and eternal, for the dead.  She wondered, now remote from everything that had happened, how long she'd be trapped in this instant for.  The car was pleasant, but not somewhere she'd planned to spend eternity.  There wasn't enough champagne in the bar for that.

She looked down and was surprised to see that there was a piece of paper in her hand.  She couldn't remember picking it up, but there was a envelope on the front seat next to the driver.  Had she opened the partition, opened the envelope, and taken the paper out?  Or had the driver handed it to her before he slumped over the steering wheel?  Why couldn't she remember?  Poker-face.

"The contract failed."  The paper contained only those three words, and as she read them, the CD player in the front switched on and a seagull called mournfully.  The contract failed.  A horn, perhaps a fog-horn, or a ship's horn, something big anyway, honked back at the seagull.  It was clearly something large announcing that it was unstoppable.  The seagull cried back again, unconcerned.  Blood dripped from the CD tray drawer, and from somewhere behind the car, the first horn sounded, coinciding with the horn from the CD player.

The lights changed from green to red.  More blood dripped from the tray, and the seagull stopped responding to the horns.  The cars behind honked in unison, a chorus of complaint, and Tracey's fingers, responding to an unconscious impulse, crumpled the paper.  Poker-face.

The lights changed from red to green and the car shifted into gear and moved forward, gliding along the road, the engine purring softly like a contented large cat.  The driver was still slumped across the wheel, and blood poured constantly from the CD drawer now like a slashed throat in the middle of the dashboard.  Something rattled, like bone on plastic, and somewhere, remotely, far from the CD player or the speakers, a seagull called.

The End

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