Flash Fiction Friday: A Late Start
By John Bruni
My eye cracks open. It’s unusual for me to wake up before my alarm clock goes off. I check my phone and—holy shit! It’s 8:29 am! I have to be at work in one minute!
I don’t have time to eat or brush my teeth. The commute from Elmhurst to Schaumburg can take between twenty to forty minutes. I can’t afford to be so late.
I dress and rush out the door to my car. I drive as fast as I can to the expressway. Thank Christ it looks like traffic is moving swiftly. I get over to the left lane and get up to eighty-five miles per hour. No one’s ahead of me, so I gun it to ninety-five.
I check the dashboard. Still 8:29. Good.
Oh shit. I just passed a cop. Please don’t see me. Please don’t see me. Please—
Fuck. He saw me. Lights flash, and he zooms up to my ass. He’s gotta be pissed, but I can’t be late. I press my foot down as far as it can go. I check the time. Still 8:29.
I look up just in time to see that traffic has stopped, and I’m about to crash into the car that has magically appeared in front of me. I scream, twisting the wheel to the left. I veer away from the jam and hit the ditch so hard that my car flips. The roof caves in, and I hang from my seatbelt. The airbag goes off and punches me in the face.
Son of a bitch. I’m not going to make it to work on time. The dashboard is crumpled, so I can’t check the clock.
Someone knocks on the driver’s side window, and I remember the cop car. I’m in serious shit. I see the cop’s legs, and they seem too white for this world.
He opens the door and cuts me free of my seatbelt. He helps me out of the car, and when I straighten out, I see it’s Andy Griffith. Or Andy Taylor, rather.
“You’re in a spot of trouble, son,” he says.
“You’re darned tootin’!”
I look around Andy to see Barney Fife rushing up to me, wagging his finger in my face. Both he and Andy are in glorious black and white.
“Am I going to jail?” I ask. “I need to call my boss if I am.”
“You know what we oughta do, Andy? I think we oughta rape him!”
What. The. Fuck.
“Now, now, Barn. We can’t just go around rapin’ folks. He is going to jail, though. Turn around, son.”
Shit. I comply. He fits the handcuffs on. They’re tight and cold against my skin. He pushes me forward until we reach the cruiser. Barney opens the back, and Andy gently eases me in.
But I’m not in the back of a car. I’m in a castle. I turn around to see a door-shaped hole, but when Andy closes it, reality fills in.
I turn back around to see Dracula standing at the top of a staircase. Not Lugosi or Lee or even Langella. It’s Gary Oldman.
“Um,” I say, “do you have the time? I’m going to be late for work.”
“You shall be much later, then. Girls?” He gestures at me.
There are three women suddenly around me. All are incredibly hot, and they wear gauzy see-through gowns. They grin, showing off their fangs.
“Take good care of my guest. Don’t hurt him . . . too much.”
They lead me into the next room, a bedroom. They tie me up to a chair and drag me over to a computer on a table in the corner. They start to bicker over who gets to show me their blog first. They settle on Cauldron of Goth. It’s so bad I kind of wish they’d drain me of blood and be done with it.
Just when I consider chewing my own tongue off to choke myself, the door explodes. I whip my head around to see Alex Jones bearing a cross and holy water. He charges the brides of Dracula, driving them back hissing and glaring.
“That’s right, you undead concubines!” he says. “Stay back! I’ll toast your ass!”
“When did you become a vampire slayer?” I ask.
“Just after I was Bill Hicks. I created Alex Jones as a cover. I’ve been killin’ vamps ever since.”
He makes short work of my bonds—even the handcuffs—so I thank him as I stand.
“I’ll hold ‘em off,” Alex Jones says.
The door he came through is gone, just a brick wall, so the only way out is the window. But we must be a hundred feet up. There’s no way I can do this.
“You have to climb down the wall!” Alex Jones shouts. “Hurry! I can’t hold ‘em off much longer!”
Here goes nothing. I grab a hold of the wall, and I’m shocked by how easy this is. It’s like I’m Spider-Man. I crawl down face-first until I reach the ground.
There! About a block away! I see my office building! I rush across the grassy field and feverishly work at opening the door with my badge. I dart in and slam my ID card against the machine that punches me in.
The time switches from 8:29 to 8:30.
John Bruni once killed a man and proved it by clipping the toenails of his victim and cloning him. He usually writes some kind of drunken gibberish on his blog, Goodnight, Fuckers. He is the author of several novels and short stories, many of which can be found here.
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