10// Derby

The Scientist drove slowly down a street surrounding the track, traveling at an unreasonable 3 miles-per-hour with the other unfortunate commuters who were just trying to get to the interstate and on with their weekends. He let out an unrestrained “dang it” under his breath, the closest thing to a real curse his Church of Christ upbringing would allow, even after all of these years.

Glancing up, he noted the airplanes circling above, pulling behind them banners which simply stated the names of local and national businesses. He didn’t understand the point of these planes and/or these banners.  What was the takeaway? Was it simply so that people knew that, for instance, Kroger still existed, or that FedEx had not gone out of business?

That was good, he supposed.  Good for him, anyway. He liked Kroger, mainly because they were open 24 hours, and shopping at 11 pm was one of the true joys of life. It was good that they still existed.

But, at least advertise a great sale, he thought, like they do with those 2-for-1 T-shirts on the beach.

He tried to imagine a young couple sitting in the stands or even the infield, the man in his pastel suit and white fedora with a 7-inch pink feather, his lady in a white dress and a hat that looked as if it was built by Frank Lloyd Wright and decorated by Salvador Dali, and which blocked the view of at least 50 people behind her.

“Sweetie,” he would say. “Is that a good price for Tide?”

She would turn her head toward him ever so slightly, so as not to shift the weight of her chapeau, lest the whole thing come tumbling down and crush those around her. (Of course, they would likely be saved by the girth and sturdiness of their OWN hats, so the risk was low.)

“Up there,” he would gesture. “Behind that plane, is that a good price? Seems good. Seems really good. Ok, I’m getting the car.”

As he reached the intersection near the expressway entrance ramp, he observed the police officer directing traffic immediately in front of him.  She had her hand raised toward his car, glancing now and again into the intersection. When she finally waved for him to go through, he raised his own hand in a half-wave, half salute of thanks, although for what, he couldn’t exactly say.  Being there to let him go through, he supposed.

As he got halfway through the intersection, traffic in front of him came to a halt.  He observed, with a great deflation, the entrance ramp and noted that the expressway was also at a standstill.

“Dang it,” he said under his breath again and declared that tonight was a good night for a late trip to Kroger. Which, he thought with a slight smile, still exists.

Which was good.

 

Fiction

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