It’s time for another Micro-Fiction Monday. Because today’s story is a little longer than normal, I’ll be dividing it in two. You can find Part Two here tomorrow. Now don’t be afraid… This is only fiction…
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By: Rachel A. Carrera
The bumper to bumper traffic screeched to a halt as fine raindrops misted the windshield and the sounds of car horns flooded the night. Lloyd looked at his watch and frowned. “I’ll never make my flight at this rate. Can’t you go any faster?”
The cab driver flipped on the windshield wipers and blew a puff of cigar smoke. “I’m doing the best I can, mac. City traffic’s a nightmare… So, what do you think about Truman getting reelected?”
Lloyd sighed and slumped in the back seat. “I think it’s a good thing. I just didn’t feel that Dewey had it in him. I know he’s your governor, but I just didn’t think the White House was the place for him. Truman really stepped up to bat after we lost F.D.R., and I think he should have the opportunity to stay in Washington as long as he can. Are you sure there’s not a side road you can take that will get us there any faster?”
“Like I told you, I’m doing the best I can. Idlewild’s only been open a few months, and traffic’s murder. So, what brings you to New York?”
“I’m a salesman. I sell Hoovers. You don’t need a vacuum, do ya?”
The driver chuckled. “Not today, thanks. Oh, it looks like we’re moving now. So, where you headed?”
Lloyd anxiously leaned forward against the front seat and straightened his fedora. “Chicago. My company’s based there, and I live in the outskirts. I was out here meeting with some bigwigs in PanAm about buying a bunch of our machines.” As they approached the airport terminal, he frowned. “What’s the commotion over there?”
The driver snuffed out his cigar and rolled his eyes. “That’s a bunch of gypsies. We’ve been seeing more and more of them since the war. Usually they stay in the suburbs, but since Idlewild opened, some of them hang out here to panhandle.” He pulled by the curb and turned in his seat. “Alright, mac, that’ll be a buck sixty.”
Lloyd handed him two dollars and opened his door. “Thanks. Keep the change.” He grabbed his suitcase and briefcase, then slammed the door. As he headed inside, a woman approached him.
Her long, colorful skirt rustled, and a dozen necklaces around her neck jangled as she walked. The green scarf tied around her head added to her mysterious appearance. She smiled a crooked smile and spoke with a thick accent and raspy voice. “Hello. I tell your fortune?”
“Uh, no, that’s okay.” Lloyd checked his watch. “I don’t mean to be rude, but I don’t want to miss my flight.” He attempted to step around her.
She stepped sideways and blocked his passage. “For six bits, I tell your fortune. You no make your flight to Chicago tonight. You go by train.”
He chuckled and dug in his pocket, then thrust three quarters at her. “Here you go. I don’t know how you knew where I was headed, but I’m afraid you’re wrong. I will be taking my flight. I’ve got twenty minutes to get out to the tarmac. Now, if you’ll excuse me…”
She dropped the coins in a change purse and strode swiftly to keep up with him. “No, you no make your flight. You take train. On train, you must stay away from room 210. That room is bad omen. When you meet the woman with the red-eyed snake, you beware. She carries your blood on her hands. You beware!”
Lloyd narrowed his eyes at her and hurried his gait. Without replying, he turned a corner and jogged toward the gate.
She stopped walking. Her voice was ominous as she called after him. “You beware!”
As he arrived at the gate, he pulled his ticket from his suit pocket and offered it to the stewardess. “I’d like to check in for my flight to Chicago Municipal. I was afraid I was going to miss my plane.” He chuckled nervously and straightened his tie.
The stewardess perused the ticket then returned it. “I’m sorry, sir, but that flight’s been canceled. With all this fog tonight, the entire airport’s grounded until morning.”
The hair on Lloyd’s arms stood on end. “What? Canceled? But I have to get home.”
“I’m sorry. You might consider taking a train. They’re still running.”
His chest deflated, and his temples started to throb. “Alright, thanks.” Thanks for nothing. He sighed and headed back outside to flag down a cab, going out of his way to avoid the band of gypsies.
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Well, that’s all for today, friends. Be sure to come back tomorrow to see what happens.
Time to talk: Have you guessed the year in which the story takes place yet? Have you ever ridden in a taxi?