Traffic Life : Passionate Tales and Exit Strategies
Edited by Stephan Wehner
An Anthology
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 208                Tragic Tale of Steven  Never too much gas at once; never too much brake at once. Every sign, light, and speed limit was religiously obeyed. Steven spent much of his time feeling quite pleasantly happy.    But after about five minutes on the road, Steven found there was little time to wallow in this pleasantly happy feel- ing for there were few other drivers who were as fastidiously fastidious as he was about obeying such frivolous guide- lines as speed limits. Perhaps they thought all those signs and stop lights were simply suggestions from the Depart- ment of Public Safety and could be taken into consideration at one's whim. And a few gave Steven's automotive master- piece the respect it deserved. For instance, in the Pastry Mart parking lot some punk who couldn't regulate how far the door on his junkmobile swung open dinged the side of Steve's immaculate pride and joy, leaving a mark that re- sembled a Cabbage Patch Kid face, and didn't even bother to apologize. Steven would have broken down and cried ex- cept there were people around and quite a few at that. So he climbed ever so carefully back into his car, set his box of cr eme horns in the passenger seat, and left, feeling some- what agitated. On the highway, a sadistic-looking lady in a mini-van honked at him and suggested he either 'move it or lose it, bucko.' Steven could not understand why she was so disgruntled. The speed limit was seventy miles per hour, and according to his glow-in-the-dark speedometer he was going exactly seventy. Her speed, however, undoubt- edly surpassed eighty, perhaps even ninety, yet he, being the easy-going person he was, did not feel the need to honk frantically and holler, 'Excuse me, ma'am! May I suggest you decelerate just a tad, perhaps? You're exceeding the posted speed limit by twenty miles!' But he did find himself gloating a bit when the police pulled her over. He felt com- pelled to stick his thumbs in his ears and chant, 'Nanny- nanny-poo-poo!', but refrained from doing so. Feeling a bit better, Steven was able to relax and enjoy the remainder of his drive home, though he did have one last stop to make. He needed to stop by the Spatula Barn for some last minute gift ideas. Mother was wanting the Henry VIII Collection which included six spatulas with detachable heads, while
                   Stephanie Scarborough                   209  kiddies enjoyed the Day Glo spatulas. He even signed his father and himself up for the Spatula of the Month Club.    Steven felt much (though not completely) better after his shopping spree. The only thing that made him happier than having a spatula in his hand was the breath-taking sight of his spanking new, almost flawless . . .    . . . Steven dropped his armload of spatulas and felt the need to go change his boxer shorts. A large, hairy man with poor personal hygiene habits in a once-white tank top stood by the remains of Steve's almost flawless automotive masterpiece, gnawing on a cr eme horn. 'This your car?' he asked. 'Hope you got insurance. I was backin' up the big rig, and, silly me, I wasn't expectin' your car to be parked in the darn fire lane an' I just plowed right into her. I helped myself to the cr eme horns. Hope you don't mind. The flies were startin' to gather, and I couldn't let good food go to waste. You know-'    Before the big hairy man with the poor hygiene habits could finish, Steven, a mere dust mite in comparison, had leapt and latched onto the large man like a rabid Chihuahua. And he had little intention of letting go. He began futily beating his comparably puny fists against the truck driver, being more of a nuisance than a threat. Nevertheless, his persistence and the disturbing fervor with which he pounded against the truck driver prompted the manager of the Spat- ula Barn to call the police. Steven had to be tranquilized before they could remove him from the truck driver, and he now resides in the local equivalent of a 'funny farm' where he sits in his padded room and stares at his pin-up with that radiant car that once was his, mumbling incoherently about 'no insurance' and 'that darn fire lane' and other such matters.

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