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:
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.