The Red Light
Short Story Day 23 of 365
When the proverbial whistle blew at midnight, Ray Dawkins was out the door and headed for home. Most nights, it’d take him 9-10 minutes from plant to front door if he didn’t stop to get gas or groceries somewhere.
Tonight, he timed the light wrong at Chelsea and Bonham. No cars crossing his path. None behind and none in front. The ‘No Turn on Red’ sign was put up next to the light and was meant for heavy day traffic. There were just too many accidents at the intersection to risk others, hence the sign.
But this was midnight. No traffic.
Dawkins inched his car forward to make sure he had already triggered the light sensor. His front tires were on top of the solid white strip behind the cross walk, so the sensor must have been triggered.
Still no traffic.
He slapped the steering wheel with the palm of his hand, then made the steering wheel a drum.
He looked in his rear view mirror, in front, on both sides, and even looked into the sky.
The coast was clear.
Ray looked again all around just to be sure.
Nothing. No one.
And the light was still red.
“Here goes,” he said to himself.
Making the turn, Dawkins continued to scan in all directions. If he were to be pulled over, at least he’d know the direction the car came from. He could see nothing in all directions, which in itself was odd, even for midnight.
Ten seconds after turning the corner, he saw the flashing lights in his mirror and heard the distant siren. His heart sank. He estimated the car was still a quarter mile away.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Dawkins said, pulling his car over.
He put his car in Park and put on his emergency flashers. The squad car was getting closer but wasn’t slowing down. Ray kept his eye in the mirror, shaking his head at his terrible timing and luck.
Within 20 seconds, the squad came upon Dawkins and sped past him. The cop car was easily going 80 in this 25 mile an hour zone.
Dawkins scanned the mirror again. Nothing.
“Someone’s in trouble, but it ain’t me,” he said. Ray turned off the flashers, put the car into Drive, and was home in seven minutes.
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