“It Don’t Matter”
In the vernacular, a dismissive phrase.
by Lester L Weil
The Black of Space.
We close on a speck of light in that black. It is the galaxy called the Milky Way. As we approach, we see streams of stars, the spiral arms pinwheeling from the nucleus.
When we have almost passed, we aim at a small dwarf star on the outer edge and approach its third planet. It is blue green with clouds covering portions of the surface: Earth.
We watch the Earth spin, showing us alternately large oceans and land masses. From our vantage point we see half of the surface in darkness, half in light. We watch dawn move across the Appalachians, to the Mississippi and on into the Great Plains. When dawn reaches the great Rocky Mountains, we are close enough to see the lights of the large cities to the west which still lay in darkness: Las Vegas, Phoenix and Tucson in the desert, San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco on the coast.
It is toward Los Angeles that we go, moving closer until we see the great rivers of light that are the freeways, solid bands of white and red.
By the time we can make out individual vehicles, it is light, the dawn having come to find the air washed clean by a night’s storm. The freeways are crowded. Solid rows of cars and trucks, and we focus on the Harbor Freeway going south from the city center. Coming closer we see a motorcyclist riding the line between the center and fast lanes, steadily overtaking slower lines of cars.
The rider wears black: helmet, leather jacket, gloves and boots. The motorcycle is also black, with gleaming chrome, the engine showing dull aluminum cylinders on both sides of the machine. The purring sound it makes is totally lost in the tire and motor noise of surrounding cars.
Ahead, a woman in a red car puts her coffee mug into the holder and looks at herself in the rear view mirror. She wipes the corner of her mouth with her little finger. Taking up the coffee mug again, she finishes her lukewarm coffee. The traffic has slowed and she nervously looks at her watch.
The cyclist is twenty cars back now but has slowed because a car ahead to the right of him is slowly weaving back and forth in its lane. When the car next moves to the right, the cyclist accelerates past and continues on.
The woman looks at her watch again and frowns. She switches on her radio but after listening for less than a minute, she turns it off and again looks at her watch.
The cyclist is two cars back now with a semi pulling a flatbed trailer on his left. As truck and cycle come up to the rear fender of the woman’s car, she reaches over to retrieve a CD from her glove box. As she stretches, she inadvertently pulls on the steering wheel and the car veers suddenly to the left into the semi’s trailer, pushing the cyclist and his bike under the trailer’s back wheels. He is dead long before traffic comes to a halt.
Dawn has passed the Hawaiian Islands and is creeping toward Malaysia, but we have already continued through the Sun’s system and now move toward the speck of light that is the Andromeda Galaxy.
Again the Black of Space.
Published in riverbabble #26 2015
Lester L Weil
Lester L Weil, an ex-professional bassoonist, ex-professor, ex-custom furniture builder, ex-house builder. He is retired in Arizona near the Mexico border.