Traveling on the highway in the early, rainy, gray evening is a blue Chrysler Intrepid. Headlights piercing through the rain. A white spattering display of rain drops hitting their targets. The highway, on this new years day, is almost completely void of all traffic.
The Intrepid has Ontario license plates but had come from a small town across the border. The town, not too far from the border; a town called Blasdell. Blasdell was located just past the border near I190. The vehicle continues north on the QEW to an unknown destination. The driver has yet to think up a destination.
The driver of the Intrepid is a man. He’s completely alone right now. He is doing about 120km and has no intention of going any faster. He knows this part of the highway. He knows that if he went the more exciting 140km he’d be pulled over at the first site of a cop. This area you'd find a cop following their intended targets until the cop was found out or the speeder went faster. A nasty trick.
Instead of snow for the winter in southern Ontario rain was delivered. It was delivered on more than one occasion. This left roads roughly reflective.
He turns the windshield wipers on and watches them. He adjusts the speed of the wipers until he no longer sees 3D. He continues to drive on towards Hamilton and if so desired to Toronto or further. He decides he'll probably stop in at his bar. Is it open tonight?
He didn’t know the name of the bar he just knew he and his two friends liked it there. If they were, in fact, friends and not just simply familiar people. No matter. He never really cared about the name of the bar he just memorized where it was. None of that mattered now, anyway. He just wanted a drink, badly.
He began to recall the bar's interior. It housed pool tables and a bar to sit and drink at and talk about almost anything. Nothing special, someplace to let time pass.
A police car with the ominous three letters, OPP, drove by him with its cherry lights off.
That didn’t scare him a bit. He’d been in trouble with cops before, just minor speeding tickets here and there but it never stirred him like it should have. Not even the quickened heart beat. The friends would always say they never were either. He saw through that. The second ticket he got the cop even said he was strangely calm, which he ended up being dragged out and chest flattened against his own car.
Damned female authority!
Female cops seem to have a need to prove themselves. That goes for the border guards, as well. Some may consider this opinion just that. An opinion and nothing more. Try telling that to those who've crossed the borders several times a month. Get pulled over for speeding or have to deal with any form of female authority on a regular basis. A pattern just might visible.
Those incidents with the cops always made for good conversation on his night out at the bar with The Friends. It gave him a less scary persona when he had something to add to the conversations. One of the conversations he remembers talking about was classical music. He likes, absolutely likes classical music. He wouldn't dare say he loved it. The conversation made The Friends laugh. They said, "how is that possible?" As if he didn't look the part. Which he did. He didn't understand. The two of them said various other things he paid no attention to. They wouldn’t say anything if they really, really, listened to music for what it is. One just can’t lose themselves into the rap, rock, or that dreadfully horrid R & B – jazz isn’t so bad compared to R & B. He smiled at that.
That was only time he actually started a conversation that got The Friends laughing. He smiled until he looked in the rear view mirror and noticed his teeth. They are red.
He closed his mouth and looked away, looked for traffic around him. Made sure no one is in the blind spots. Then back to the mirror and opened his lips. He brought up his right index finger and scraped it across the front teeth. That has to be blood. But he never got punched or ate anything sharp. He quickly ran through thoughts and memories of the day in Blasdell, New York. Nothing seemed to show up.
Recalling his day: He woke up at ten in the morning. Nothing strange there. He can’t recall what he did during last night at about eleven. He could assume he was sleeping and he had never sleepwalked before. So, nothing odd there, either. He hasn’t had anything to eat. Drinking out of the water bottle he’s always used. Why were his gums bleeding? Why are his teeth smeared with blood?
“Bah!” he waved it off and kept driving. He’d stop at that bar, he assured himself. He shook his head, “I need a good drink.” He gave it another thought that the bar may be closed today. He would try anyway.
He pushed play and his classical music CD began. The CD is in a GE Disc Man. His '95 Intrepid has no CD player. A device wired to a cassette adapter is used. A Mozart symphony smoothly rolled out of the four speaker system. It isn't the best sounding system but it did him fine. He thought it to be a violin concerto but not entirely sure on that. He just likes it. He doesn’t care what it's called. Like the bar. I like what I like. The classic music played on while he drove. Thinking of nothing but the absurd past memory of what his mother said to him when he left home.
“That music you listen to. It changes you,” she said.
“Changes… I don’t understand.”
“You change,” she raised her voice like he was supposed to know what that meant. “Your – just the way you look seems to change. You act -”
“Act? Looks? No. I’m gone. Lay off the alcohol and maybe I wouldn’t change on you like that.” That’s where he closed the door and never returned. He didn’t care what happened to her. She drank every night because she thought she’s the one who drove his dad out to the loony bin.
Truth was he never knew where his dad went. He didn’t care. He figured if his dad was important then his dad would show up. He just assumed he left. Not necessarily to the loony bin but, hey, who knows? Maybe this is the one trait he has of his unknown father: the ability to not care.
He continued to listen to his music, now passing Niagara-on-the-lake. A little while longer and he’d be there. He could taste the hardest drink they had. Drink it down and all would be better. His thoughts would be clear, maybe the memory of how blood got into or onto his teeth would return.
He checked his blind spots, have I gone over the second skyway?
Traveling from the GTA to the Buffalo area and back, one would travel over three skyways or six if one counted the journey back with the journey there. Sometimes, for those who regularly traversed this multi climate journey, one would blank out. The calm of routine.
He thought more on his family traits to counter the effects of routine travel. Maybe the drinking was a trait from my mother.
He pushed that thought out with a gritting of his blood stained teeth. Looking into the rear view mirror… bleeding gums, teeth?
Now what? He must have forgotten about the speed thing. He didn’t even notice the speed he was doing. Now that he thinks about it the few cars on the highway seemed to stream by and then behind him.
That OPP car that passed him? Perhaps a different one? Different or no this one stuck with him right up until he noticed his speed. He began slowing. Then those lifeless cherry lights flashed with life.
He squinted, "nice." The officer had followed him hoping to get a higher speed out of him.
He raised an eyebrow, something whispered?
He pulled over and turned down the music. Not all the way. He didn’t care if the cop heard or anyone else heard it. Besides he looked it. Black suit, black tie, white dress shirt, slick black hair, he definitely looked it. Well, all but the car. Soon enough he’ll have the black BMW. Soon.
He pulled over and let the cop get to him. Hate filled him, another female. He wasn’t a sexist, just knew what the females did in the position of power. Prove they're more annoying than males. They could waltz about and not a single man nor could a single woman do a thing about it. Men apparently cannot lay a hand on a woman. Want to be treated equal do you? Then suffer like the rest. She also had the colour blue on her side. He watched her intently, every move, dreading the conversation, the questions. Not tonight, I don’t need this. I want -
- he opened his eyes -
- a drink!
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