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Traffic Story

The light isn’t changing. I’ve been sitting here for what feels like 5 full minutes. Just me and my thoughts alone at the wheel. The light’s not changing. It’s still red.

Maybe it will change in a moment. Maybe if I just sit. 

No. It’s not changing. It’s not changing at all. Behind me, the cars are endless. No signs that anything’s unusual. Nobody angrily yelling, slamming car doors, barging out of their cars, nothing.

I look back at the light. It’s a red circle, glowing straight in my eyes. It’s still. Not even a wind.

Should I get out?

I look back again. Nothing. No variations in the aforementioned situation.

What the hell is this?

I shift in my seat. I touch the rearview mirror. Hands on the wheel. Eyes on the road. 

No. There’s no point. What the hell is this? I’m at the front. The cars ahead of me must be miles away by this point. 

The vehicles behind me could just rush me at this point. The force of all of them at once.


What am I saying? That would be total chaos. A collision that strong?


This sitting is making me anxious.

I want to break my windows.

I put my hand on the shift.

Should I turn off the gas?

I freeze.

What would I do if they just start going? 

I make sure I’m not hallucinating. Nope. It’s still red.

I pinch myself. I slap myself.

There’s nothing changing, there’s no transformation of reality or sudden waking. I am awake.

God, I don’t know what to do. Should I just drive? What if it’s some sort of test? Are the police behind me?

What if I just honk? Just let the world know that I’m here. 

No matter how small.


I put my hand on the center of the wheel. I feel silly.


I am a silly man.

Someone has put me in a silly situation. Nobody behind me is getting up. Are they all feeling how I’m feeling? 

Should I get up to see? Maybe they’re all waiting for someone else to get up? Someone else to come out and confirm the reality for them? 

Am I capable of doing that? Am I that special?

Do I need to be special? 


I put my hand on the door handle. 


I take it off the handle.

I look at my feet. 

My shoes. The laces on the right shoe are gnawed.


I look back to the road. The asphalt is shiny, as if from a rain. Did it rain today? 

I can’t remember. I think it did. Maybe.

My head is thumping. Getting hot.

I look to my right. It’s too dark to see. Just the dense yellow color from fading streetlights, up above.

I look to my left. There’s a sidewalk. Maybe a house. I think I see trees. I’m the only car here. 

The stoplight. 

It’s still red.


What the hell?

What can I do?

Oh yeah. I can call someone. Why didn’t I think of that?

I scramble out my phone. I use only one hand. The other hand is on the wheel. I keep checking the light as I do it. In case it might change.

I can see it now, a minor electricity bug caused a delay in changing a light, the man in front was on his phone, not paying attention, causing an accident on the highway.


No change. Who should I dial?

Con edison?

Wait. Maybe 911?


I dial my mom. I don’t know why. My fingers just moved. No ringing. 


Dial your wife.


I don’t have a wife.


Fuck it, Dial 911. My hands shake as I press the buttons. 


Nothing. No sound at all.


Is this real?


I look back at the road.


My hands are on the wheel.




There’s two things.


I can get out right now.


I can leave this vehicle. I can go back to the other people. I can see their faces. I can talk to them. Just make contact. Anything to stop this.




Just go.











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