Mark grabbed a quick cup of coffee, brushed his wife’s cheek with his lips, and ruffled his young son’s hair on the way out. He mumbled something about being late, an important client meeting, and love you. He clutched his briefcase firmly under his arm and palmed his keys as he made his mad dash out of the door.
As he clicked his remote starter he told himself they needed to sit down and actually have a meal together. Some day. Soon. His son wasn’t a boy anymore. He blinked and his childhood fast forwarded. Clients, meetings, stress, repeat. He longed to slow down the pace- even for a day. He promised himself a day off with them. Soon.
He jumped in the Audi A8 , and “Life is a Highway” blasted from the satellite radio. His iphone beeped with multiple notifications . He drowned out all the auxiliary noises and hummed out the lyrics. If the deal went through today he would be set. They would be set. For a while.
He hit Boston.
Boston – MA
More traffic, and more than usual. Probably construction. Of course, when he was running late and had an important client to meet the traffic would be messed up. Life sucks and then you die. He was just trying to tread water in the meantime.
An ambulance whirred by his left ear, there was no room to move over. Poor bastards. He hated traffic and inconveniences when he had a deadline to meet. Maybe the traffic would move faster after the ambulance cleared the way. Hit and runs were not his bread and butter. He made his coin on chewing holes in business law contracts.
He drummed his fingers on the leather steering wheel. He felt the rage rising in him, like steam from a kettle. Damn he would be late now officially. He pushed the call button on the leather steering wheel. “Call office” he said tersely.
Mary picked up the call with her usual optimism. “Law offices” she warmly answered.
“Mary” he barked. “I am running late so push my nine o’clock to eleven.”
“Good morning Mr. Randolph. Yes Sir.”
“It will be good if this traffic ever clears up” he said dripping with sarcasm.
“Hope your morning gets better Sir. See you when you get here Sir.”
He growled something incoherent and hit end.
The red Mercedes that was crawling in front of him came to a screeching halt. “Learn how to drive Honey.” He yelled out his vented window. He looked ahead as he cursed the growing traffic. His phone buzzed with a new urgency.
He glanced down and saw a missed call from the office. He hit the call button again.
“Law offices” Mary chirped.
“What happened?” he barked at her.
She swallowed her sunny demeanor, and whispered into the phone. “The firm changed the meeting to ten and the location to the down town office.”
“Fuck” he yelled as he punched the dash.
“Sorry Sir “She apologized.
He looked at the sea of red tail lights. He needed a miracle. He wouldn’t be moving anywhere quickly.
Time slowly clicked by as his patience ran out.
The classic rock station temporarily distracted him.
The buzz of his phone brought him back to the harsh reality.
Ahead was a major parking lot. They were not even crawling anymore.
There was a cabbie leaning on the horn next to him. The suit in the Porsche shrugged at him, mirroring his dire expression as he checked his watch again.
He looked forward and saw the young blonde in the red Mercedes applying a fresh coat of scarlet lipstick in her rearview mirror. She could be a fun diversion if his day wasn’t already so fucked up.
He shifted the car to park, tired of riding the brake. He hadn’t moved more than a car length in the fifteen minutes he had been sitting there. He thought about the car length rule and laughed at it. Not in this traffic. not today.
His watch flashed at him. Like he needed a reminder that time was counting down. There was no chance in hell that he would make that meeting. Not in this traffic. Not today.
He hit redial.
“Law Offices” Mary chirped professionally.
“Give me John.” He barked.
“Yes one minute Sir” she hesitated and put him on pause.
John had already left for the meeting, as did all the other partners.
“Sorry-He is offsite Sir” she quipped.
“Well patch me through to his cell” He demanded as he white knuckle gripped the wheel.
“His cell …isn’t picking up Sir” she apologized.
“Fuck it-I will get him myself” He swore as he abruptly cut her off midsentence.
He hammered down on the wheel as his foot stamped. He hit John on the phone and held his breath. It went right to voice mail.
The voice mail was full. He voiced texted him instead.
“John- call me as soon as you get this- I need to teleconference in.”
He shuffled papers as the traffic slowly crawled a car length ahead.
Two trooper cars flew by his ear in the high speed lane as he pressed send.
“Finally-hurry it the fuck up” he yelled at the screaming sirens.
Some rear-ender was going to fuck up his biggest contract, and there was nothing that he could do about it. He silently fumed as he glared at the blonde’s bumper. There was a purple “co-exist” bumper sticker. Who puts stickers on a Mercedes?