Wednesday, 20 September 2006

Bad Traffic, Part One


Bad Traffic is a short story of five chapters, posted over five week days -- by me, your tenacious host, Cheeseburger Brown.

Needless confusion can be avoided by reading the text left to right, top to bottom.

And now, the first chapter:



1/5

Yves LeRoche captained a big truck.

His truck was a cell in the circulatory system of the nation, his cargo a dollop of the economy's lifeblood. Throughout his decades of service Yves prided himself on being as reliable a cell as he could be -- punctual, accountable, steady -- a bastion of competence and care that slipped along the highways without resistance like a pat of warm butter on a skillet.

"We're all in it together," he used to say when chatting up folks at diners or gas stations or when helping out with a breakdown at the side of the road. "Traffic is a social affair."

As a driver he was cautious and constant, and he thought of himself as a kind of father to the lesser vehicles of the road who rode in his long shadow, content to follow and be guided by his stalwart and considered progress. His truck was a buffer against the frenetic danger of snarled metropolitan traffic, an island of certainty and safety to whom others could magnetize to find their way through the flow.

Most of his fellow truckers called Yves "Papa Rock" although some of the old timers called him "Frenchy" because he had been born in Baton Rouge. His grandmother used to speak French to him as a boy but Yves could never make heads or tails of it. "It's all Greek to me," he liked to joke.

He could smell an accident from miles downroad, something in the air that troubled him several minutes before the first compression waves signalled by bursts of red braking lights began to ripple toward him from the horizon. His sensitivity to the patterns of locomotion seemed at times to border on precognition.

But the big accident -- his final accident -- Yves did not see coming.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

How do you pronounce 'Yves'?

Cheeseburger Brown said...

Dear Anonymous,

Just like Adam and Eve.

Love,
Cheeseburger Brown

Compu73E said...

Good to see you applying your unique understanding of traffic to your fiction. Having thoroughly enjoyed 'Mike' over teh past month, I almost can't believe that you're jumping straight into another story. Logging on here is fast becoming an anticipated daily ritual, and I'm not sure what we've done to deserve this!

Dædalux said...

You never stop writing do you?

(thanks and keep it up)

Mark said...

CBB - I also thought of your traffic study, but in a good way, I assure you.

Cheeseburger Brown said...

Dear compu73e,

To tell the whole truth, getting enough material prepped to keep this blog well fed has been a source of some anxiety. I am, however, masochistic in a few select ways, so this anxiety has not soured me on the idea of continuous fiction posting.

I'm going away with my wife for four days to a nearby hotel in order to be free of children and distractions so we can both sleep and so I can write. Hopefully those days will be fruitful, and give me plenty to post for the duration of the autumn.

Wish me luck.

Dear Dædalux,

See above. Basically, I've completed Phase I of Cheeseburger Brown's "teach yo i'nerant ass how to write" programme, which was predicated on autobiography so that the plots and characters were pre-ordained, freeing me up to focus on just communicating those pre-existing elements.

Phase II was an experimental fiction phase, containing projects such as SOS, The Darth Side, etc.

Phase III is now: a continuous river of fiction stories, experimenting at will in an effort to find what I do best out of the cloud of all I do mediocre and the galaxy of all I do poorly.

Phase IV is a secret.

Admission is free.

Love,
Cheeseburger Brown