#136 Gridlock

by A. Margaret Orlowski

Dave laid on the horn again but it was no use. He flung his head back in exasperation as the radio repeated the traffic report:

“The downtown is at a complete standstill, and is expected to remain so the entire day. Gridlock began at 6AM today as commuters tried to beat the rush. This is the third week of the traffic crisis—”. Dave switched off the radio. Around him, commuters were abandoning their cars and streaming between them toward their offices. He grunted, locked the doors of his stealth grey BMW, and joined the business flow.

Dave returned to his car after work and, unable to move it more than a foot through the tight press of frustrated metal, resignedly walked home.

Two days later, the mayor announced that the downtown had become completely inaccessible; engineers had calculated that the traffic could never clear.

“The traffic problem threatens to engulf our city,” said the mayor, “but we have a creative and simple solution: all jammed roads will be packed with gravel and repaved over the roofs of the cars. Citizens should remove anything they wish to keep from their cars, and consult their insurance providers. Everything will return to normal shortly.”

Dave had no nostalgia for his hardly-used car, and made an appointment with his dealership. That week, the steamrollers, delivery helicopters, and cranes began to cover the old with the new.

When the job was done, Dave got into his new-model luxury car and drove to work again.


Heidi Willis said...

I love the cleverness of this. I live in an area where it sometimes feels like traffic barely moves, where it would be easier to just walk. This idea of paving over it, as though that would solve the problem, is both hilarious and somber.

RoRo said...

such whimsy mixed with absurdity and monotony!

Flutterby said...

Funny and surreal!

Anonymous said...

Whimsy is exactly the word I would have used - for what really is a sombre scenario. I love this!