Legal Theft Flash Fiction: Highway (265 words)

Her problems faded out of sight in the rear-view mirror and she relished the roar of the highway wind. In a few minutes, maybe, she would turn on the radio, twist the volume up until it rumbled in her floorboards, her seat, her lungs. Until it filled the car and pushed the horizon farther away. She usually did, just as part of ignition, listening to the engine turn over once before she drowned it out with drums and guitar.

A friend had told her once that there was a science to why music sounded better when it was cranked up loud. She didn’t need the excuse, but she used it just the same, turning the dial higher. Turning decent songs good, and good songs great. Forcing everything back.

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No More Than Three Haikus

Getting lost at home
means peeking past skyscrapers
for the flashing signs.

Getting lost here means
greeting a baleful desert

Wide-eyed, breath caught, I
keep thinking I’m going to
die in a cartoon.

Gwendoogle Advanced Search – Driver Picks the Music

GwendoogleOne answer served. It just takes a long time.

Kate Kearney searched: Would you create some alphabet instructions for an amazing roadtrip?
Heck, yes.

Let’s get started:

Announce your intentions to take a massively awesome trip. For each acquaintance who is aware that you are going, it becomes one order of magnitude harder to back out of your plans. You can explain yourself to your friends. Your acquaintances will be waiting to live vicariously through you, and it gets awkward when you disappoint them.
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Bring friends. Whether you’ll be driving far enough each day to want to take turns driving or not, you do want the company. You do not want to be so desperate for human interaction that you become one of those people who strikes up a conversation in the gas station restroom.
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California Rush – Day Three

(I spent two hours hoping this song would come on the radio today.)

Thoughts from the road:

1 – There is no such thing as a road trip that does not include a U-turn. This is one of the fixed laws of the universe, on the same level as what goes up must come down, every action has an equal and opposite reaction and you cannot fold a banana.

2 – Sweet Peas in Heaven, Tennessee is long.

3 – If I were a modern Titan, I would be Epimetheus, already one thousand miles into a road trip and wandering through a roadside gas station to find gadgets that actually make my other gadgets work properly.

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Five Text Messages

At 2:09 this afternoon, I sent the following text message to five people:


I received the following responses:


YAY!!!!!! You remembered the blinky blinky button!

WOOHOO! The party is ON!

Wahoo…. *in a British accent* I say, that is fine.


Today is a good day, not only because I am now licensed to drive a car, but because I live among excellent people. :)


Let’s Pack Up and Move to California

Hello, world. Guess what?

I’m stressed.

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For the past few weeks, I have been trying to talk myself around to believing that stress caused by something exciting and wonderful doesn’t actually exert any pressure. It’s a tickle. It’s a small knowledge, somewhere behind your skull, that this list of things in front of you is work, but great sparklin’ stars, look at what it all leads to! And the grin from looking at that horizon is so bright that it will shove every shadow out of your way.

It’s a pretty picture, though not nearly so vivid as the truth: that I can be bursting with the boldest, brightest grins that I know, and my hands will be surprisingly free to pull my own hair out.

Because work is work, stress is stress, and we human beings are gloriously complicated.

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Gwendoogle Part CVIII – Driving Sunday

GwendoogleAnswers served with a large amount of sarcasm

Kate Kearney searched: Will you please explain mornings?
Well, folks, the earth is spinning. Round and round and round, she goes, and where she stops, nobody knows. Physicists, astronomers, apocalypitics, and gamblers have been trying to figure it out for ages, while the rest of us have just been trying to figure out why we don’t get dizzy.

The leading theory is that we’ve been spinning since the day we were born, and our bodies have accustomed themselves to the spacial shift that we undergo at every hour. There’s another theory that gravity on earth is strong enough to keep the fluid of our inner ear stable except for the random forces that we exert on it while doing things like cartwheels, but that would imply that childhood acrobatics are more powerful than the forces of the universe, and that makes some people uncomfortable.

But at least we all agree that the earth is spinning.

It spins on (basically) a twenty-four hour cycle, the sides of the earth taking turns looking directly at the sun (which I’m told is bad for you). This gives us a dark period that’s good for sleeping but is rarely used for sleeping, and a light period that’s good for everything else and sleeping. Morning is the beginning of the light period, when we’re all trying to decide how much more time we want to stay in bed, and simultaneously wondering if astronauts get dizzy.

Or deep-sea divers.

Or those people who drill into the earth’s core. Whatever they’re called.

Or if we’d get dizzy if we got all the way to the earth’s molten center. You know, before we got incinerated.

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If You Take Me On a Road-Trip…

If you take me on a road-trip, I will want a lot of friends. We will pack them in the car and move them around until we learn exactly where we all fit in the over-stuffed car.

If you give me a lot of friends, I will want a longer road, so it goes on and on and on and on.

If you give me a longer road, I will want to turn the music up loud. I have been told that it is hard to dance inside a moving car, but I have learned not to believe everything I have been told.

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Directions to My Favorite Place on Earth

Step 1: Walk out your front door. No, wait. Turn around, go back to your room and pack a bag. Not a big one, but it gets messy where we’re going. You’ll need a change of clothes, two extra pairs of socks, and that stained old towel that you never use anymore because you don’t feel clean afterward. Say good-bye to each item as you pack it. It may not come back with you. If you like those jeans you’re wearing over-much, you should change. I can’t make any promises about them either.

Step 2: Walk out your front door. This is the most important step, and you absolutely may not skip it.

Step 3: Get in your car. Leave your street. Leave your neighborhood, your town, your state.  Bring a map if you’re concerned you won’t find your way back, but don’t look at it yet. Maps get in the way of knowing where you’re going.

Step 4: Take a turn – left or right, north or south, U or K, up or down. It doesn’t matter, so long as you make a choice. It doesn’t matter how you choose – flip a coin, follow the wind, sniff to see which way smells least like skunks – as long as you’re sure.

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Sixty Miles Per Hour

Today is a driving day: four hundred and twenty miles from Boston to home. It’s my third time coming home from Boston, and it always feels like I want to put it off a little longer. I like the city, but it probably wouldn’t mean as much to me if I didn’t keep using it as a meeting ground for me and my We-Haven’t-Seen-Each-Other-In-Way-Too-Long Best Friends. We stay up until five in the morning talking, catch our sleep in thin hours and wake up again to capture as much time together as we can. The trip still feels too short. Every time.

Or maybe it’s just me. I’ve covered a lot of miles in the past few years. I’ve made it to California twice, Greece a little before that, lots of place in between. Coming home is always a little strange, like I’m catching every hour and forcing it to slow down because I’m not ready to step onto familiar ground again. I’m not ready to leave the people I went to see. I’m not ready to step back into a daily schedule, instead of a daily adventure. I’m not ready to remember the constraints of a clock. At least not until I come back to smiles and hugs from the people who I left in the first place.

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