Sign for the road

A reminder road-sign, South Island, New Zealand 2003 © Tanya Clarke

A reminder road-sign, South Island, New Zealand 2003 © Tanya Clarke

Writing Prompt No. 46

Ted read the sign but ignored it anyway.

The case of 24 beers in the back of his van wasn’t a worry. He’d already drunk six and was more than able to drive like any other. Probably better if he thought about it. Fido sat in the passenger seat. A cat with three legs he was Ted’s constant companion. Ted named him Fido while on a binge that lasted four days. He found the cat in a bin and fed it some tuna from an old sandwich he’d found in a skip. People throw away terrible amounts of food. He often complained about it. His elderly father pleaded with him to take care of his car. Ted took the keys right out of his hand, reversed out of the drive as his father walked towards him with his peculiar unsteady gait.

He owes me, Ted said to himself.

Fido curled up on the passenger seat after having a good scratch at the fleas that were gathering in his fur. He scratched for a full five minutes. Or maybe it was less. Ted wasn’t sure. But he was certain that leaving his father was best. He ripped another can of beer open spilling the cool liquid over his hands. He steadied the steering wheel with his knees while drinking his beer and stroking Fido.

No one to see me. Look, no one around.

The skin on his hands was cracked and bleeding. Sleeping rough took its toll. The money he took from his father will be enough for awhile. Stupid man hiding it in piles in the bread bin as if he didn’t know. Ted wiped the froth of beer that bubbled around his mouth with the back of his hand.

He only looked at Fido for a moment. The bird flew out from nowhere. When it hit the windscreen with a dull sickening thud, Ted saw the toy car his father made for him when he was a boy flash into his vision. His hand slipped from the wheel as the car spun out of control.

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