The two co-workers begrudgingly made their way to the parking lot. The work day was over but neither was looking forward to the task ahead. Such is the case when winter arrives in Florida, and the snowbirds descend upon the land like a scourge. The evening commute was sure to be a nightmare. It always was.
“God, this really is the worst part of the day,” Trevor said.
Sammy didn’t respond, he just kept his head down willing one foot to step in front of the other. Beads of sweat had already begun to form on his forehead.
Trevor sighed. “Oh well, nothing to it but to do it, right? Rip it off fast like a band aid and it’ll be over before you know it.” He broke away, heading for his car. “Drive safe Sammy. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Sammy slowed his pace and began fumbling with his keys. All too soon he was beside his car, opening the door, and gingerly positioning himself in the driver’s seat. Sammy started the ignition and began to ease out of the parking lot.
“Twenty-five miles, Sammy” he whispered. “You can make it.”
Sammy pulled up to the stop light, waiting to make a left turn when he spotted the first one. There on the corner stood a most irregular creature. A snowbird. His floral print shirt clashed horrifically with his black socks and sandals. But most striking of all was his hair. So white, so pure. The power emanating from his locks could light up a sunless sky. And he was looking in Sammy’s direction, daring him to make the first move.
“Go.” Sammy panted. “You’re safe as long as you get moving before he steps off the curb.”
But his pep talk took too long. The snowbird stepped into the intersection and began shuffling his way across the street. Trying not to look at him directly in the eyes, Sammy began to nudge his car into the intersection in anticipation of getting away as soon as the coast was clear, when the hair on the back of his neck stood on end.
The snowbird paused in the middle of the road and turned to face Sammy’s car. All of a sudden a surge of electricity travelled up from the snowbird’s sandals and out the top of its head and rocked Sammy’s car with such force that he surely would have been thrown into the passenger seat if not for his seatbelt.
“Where are you going in such a hurry?” it growled and began making its way to the other side of the street. “A little patience would do you good.”
Sammy just sat holding his breath with his foot mashing the brake pedal through the floorboard until he was brought to his senses by the honking of a horn. He glanced into his rearview mirror, saw no sign of the creature, and completed his turn just as the light turned red.
The next few miles passed without incident. Sammy started to relax, steadily driving with the flow of traffic.
“Maybe the worst is over,” he said to himself, “Only twenty miles to go.”
Up ahead, traffic in his lane began slowing to a crawl. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find a gap open long enough to change lanes and was soon stuck behind a UPS truck going fifteen below the speed limit. But his spirits were lifted when the truck turned into a nearby parking lot, only to have them dashed again when he came onto the cause of his malaise.
“Oh no,” Sammy whimpered, “Oh no, no, no, no.”
Ahead of him was a thoroughly common four door sedan. Only this one appeared to be driving itself. The place usually reserved for the back of one’s head was just empty space. Sammy then glanced at the rear of the vehicle and was immediately hypnotized by what he saw. The blinker was flashing. Like the Pied Piper and his flute, Sammy was drawn into the power of the orange light. Soon the procession of cars increased to ten, then fifteen, twenty.
“Orange really is a pretty color,” Sammy cooed.
Just as suddenly, Sammy was snapped out of his stupor by another blaring horn. Someone had broken free of the line of cars and was speeding by in the other lane.
Sammy gasped, “I can’t do this now.” He quickly pulled off the main road and into a gas station parking lot. “A drink, that’s what I need; something to help me relax.”
Sammy walked into the gas station, grabbed an energy drink and walked up to the cash register. That’s when he saw another one. This one was heavy set and wearing a sun dress. She was bent over the counter pondering over which scratch-off ticket to purchase. The veins. There were so many veins it looked like a road map that would make Rand McNally envious.
Sammy sucked in his breath and began nervously tapping his foot. Then, like a bullet from a gun, the veins came loose from the snowbird’s legs and began lashing out at him. Sammy felt his stomach do a somersault as they wrapped themselves around his legs. He lost his balance and with nothing to grab onto, he fell to the floor.
He opened his eyes and what he saw caused his heart to skip mid beat.
“Cankles!” he bellowed, “Oh Holy Christ, not the Cankles!”
Sammy slowly opened his eyes and saw Trevor knocking on his car window. He was still in the parking lot at work.
“So, how far did you make it this time?” Trevor asked.
Sammy rolled down his window, “The gas station.”
“Ooh, only ten miles in.” Trevor barbed. “That is definitely not a good way to end the day.” He lightly punched Sammy in the shoulder and headed back for his car. “Chop chop Sammy. That car isn’t going to drive itself home.”Sammy thought for a second and huffed, “I think I’d rather wait till summer.”