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Tick Tick

My watch reads 3:36 and the sign says that the bus will be another four minutes.

No one else is receiving phone calls. Their phones are quiet. The endless scroll an innocuous blue glow on their faces. It is deadly quiet in this bus stop. It smells like rain but that’s gone and there’s fog rolling in now. The fog has muted the phones. Cars drive past and past and don’t stop. They hit puddles causing tsunami waves of water.

My watch reads 3:36 and the sign says that the bus will be another four minutes and fog has deadened the sound of their phones and cars are flooding the pavement.

One call gets through and a man answers. He is young and has yellow-brown circles under his eyes and he is laughing and swearing like he doesn’t know what a phone call can mean. The fog is burying this glass and concrete coffin and he’s laughing. Veins of black and grey and brown and green bleed across the tarmac.

My watch reads 3:36 and the sign says that the bus will be another four minutes and rivers of muck and dirt flow through the street. I feel it working its way through my shoes to feet, like worms in the earth. Everything is filthy and they don’t see it. The fog has deadened their eyes like their phones.

The cars don’t stop. They move like they can never stop. A cavalcade of metal and engine and grease and oil and muck. Everyone is acting like they haven’t noticed. They just laugh and chat and dodge the waves the cars throw up from the road. A father and son are crossing the road and not being hit by the cars.

My watch reads 3:36 and the sign says that the bus will be another four minutes and the fog is choking thick and the water is rising and dirty and a man and boy are wading through filth and hulks of metal and grease are not hitting them.

My watch reads 3:36 and the sign says that the bus will be another four minutes.


Flash Fiction by Chris Ratcliffe
Picture: M by Alexander Mueller under CC BY 2.0

Published in Spring 2017