Feb 11, 2011

Undone (Part 2)

As the car pulled onto I-208, Sebastian sighed.  The traffic was immense, as it was nearing the afternoon rush hour and everyone seemed to have decided to leave work a bit early today.  The car crawled along the rightmost lane in silence.

Sebastian didn't feel like engaging in a conversation and the messenger simply sat there, watching the road.  After what had been nearly a half hour, Sebastian swung the wheel of the car sharply to the right and roared it onto the shoulder.  He hit the siren, floated past a few dozen cars, and took the next exit.

Suddenly, his passenger spoke up.  "Sir, this isn't the exit for the main office."

"I know," growled Sebastian, "but the traffic on the highway is ridiculous and this'll get us there faster."

"Technically," the messenger replied, "this route will almost certainly be a longer distance and take on average five minutes more."  He paused, as if he sensed that what he said next might be a mistake.

Sebastian heard the pause, heard how it sounded as if he hadn't fully completed his thought, and egged him on.  "And...?  What else were you going to say?  Spit it out."

"And your use of the siren to avoid traffic is strictly frowned upon by protocol.  Sirens are to be used in cases -"

"Aw, come on.  You do understand traffic, don't you?  They haven't left that out of your education?  Or do you always arrive late?"

Sebastian waited for a response, then stole a look over as the car squeezed through smaller side roads in residential neighborhoods.  His passenger was thinking, probably trying to form a response that fell within his guidelines of how to deal with bringing Sebastian into the station.

"Yes," he began.  "I understand your decision to leave the highway, based on your possible frustration level with the traffic and the psychological effect it may have had your conception of how prompt we would be.  The siren, though technically not allowed in that situation, did not harm anyone.  Your behavior, though it shows signs of recklessness, does not warrant a citation or report."

"Well, hallelujah!" Sebastian threw his hands into the air in celebration.  This, he thought cynically, was certainly the high point of his career.

"Sir - the wheel."  His passenger said it with only the smallest hint of alarm, as he stared at Sebastian's hands and then down at the untouched wheel.

"Yeah, yeah.  I'm on it."  Sebastian returned his hands to the wheel as they drove the rest of the way to headquarters without incident or speech.

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