Strenuously over-caffeinated and borderline sick, Spencer Stattwhirler rushed eastward toward the freeway-strangling interchange, late for work and hauling, as they say, ass. While for many people, work-related punctuality is a matter of economic necessity, for Spencer it was more along the lines of averting an identity crisis, i.e., he perhaps equated himself with his job in that unhealthy way that people without sufficient fullness to their psychic life do. There was only the end point of arrival, no ongoing process, no the-journey-is-the-reward outlook for him. He had no family to speak of, only a handful of cardboard cut-out friends, life-sized one and all, for swapping meaningless water-cooler office and celebrity gossip and swilling a few desultory drinks at the end of the week.
Head abuzz at RPMs exceeded only by the engine of his high-center-of-gravity SUV, Spence (as some of his life-sized cardboard cut-out friends called him) accelerated into the curve at the bridge’s
highest point, some two hundred feet above the highway below. Distracted by a rapid-fire series of thoughts, none of which involved the task at hand, i.e., negotiating a dangerous stretch of road, he was caught completely by surprise when the sun, shining at peak intensity through the early morning city haze, swung into full view, obliterating completely the image he currently held in mind, namely, that of his secretary, topless, coyly bent over the copy machine and cooing his name. If his fantasy life had not been sufficiently interrupted by the sun’s appearance, it would almost certainly have been brought to an abrupt halt by the sudden collision of his vehicle with the guard rail, and if any shred of it remained, the stomach-lifting sensation as the SUV went up and over the rail, free and clear into empty space, would certainly have finished the job.
For just a moment, time seemed to stop, and Spenceroni (as other of his life-sized cardboard cut-out friends called him) saw his vehicle as if from a distance, floating end over end, throwing bits of sunlight everywhere as it spun down into the unsuspecting traffic below. Somewhere music began to play, and the Spencinator (as the remainder of his life-sized cardboard cut-out friends called him) joined in boisterously when the vocals kicked in.
“Just two good ole boys (dum ticka dum ticka dum)…never meanin’ no harm (dum ticka dum ticka dum)…”