NO SHORT CUT

How far can we foresee the future? How far can we plan ahead? How much control do we really have with our lives?

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But the best-known schemes of mice and men have a tendency to go off the rails, and all their years of careful planning went awry when unbeknown to them a truck driver was getting ready to do everything they’d planned for themselves. He was looking intently at his GPS trying to find the delivery address he was destined for. Soon he’d start feeling around for his phone.

 

But not just yet. He was still trying to make sense of he electronic map on his dashboard. So the timing was not quite right. Andy and Sandy weren’t quite ready. The moment critique had not quite arrived. They were not yet in their car. But it wouldn’t be long now. He started looking around his cab. He’d have to phone his destination for directions. Where had he put their number? And where the fuck had he put his mobile?

 

 

*

 

‘This is a one way street, darling,’ Sandy reminded him as he took his usual short cut to the motorway. Their weekend break had started and they were on their way.

 

‘Yes, I know, and you always remind me that it is. But it’s not a very long bit of road and there’s never any traffic. Nor any cops. And I’m only going one way anyway.’ He laughed at his tired old quip. ‘Just call it my way of living dangerously.’

 

They had the roof down and were both enjoying the wind in their hair. Sandy was thinking about Jenny. Andy was thinking about last night’s sex. He’d enjoyed it, but had he given enough pleasure to Sandy? Had he spent enough time on her? Or had his anxiety about his erection, albeit it misplaced on this occasion, propelled them towards the end too quickly.

 

Sandy was actually dozing when she heard her husband shout ‘Fuck!’

 

Cars and lorries around them skidded and swerved and smashed into each other.

 

She looked up just in time to see that a truck had mounted the median strip. It crashed through the safety barrier at high speed, going the wrong way on their side of the road. And heading straight towards them.

 

In a split second the two vehicles collided. There was a flash of roaring red and then a deathly quiet as everything went black.

 

The silence and the blackness went on forever. For both of them.

 

*

 

Just after she had the news of the accident, Jenny Robinson went into remission. As far as can be ascertained, she is still alive and reasonably well today.

 

***

 

 

Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero – Seize the Day, and put as little trust as possible in the future. (Horace – 65 BC)

***

 
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