Today he turned 40. And what did he have to show for it? A less than comfortable relationship with his parents, no relationship with his sisters, and no wife or kids. Signing up for this jet-setting gig had seemed like a good idea at the time: good money, comping privileges, girlfriends galore. What more would a guy want? Then, not a thing.
But today would be his last day. One last return flight, one last call to his boss and one last big paycheck. “You will rent a car and drive home,” he said to the warped airplane mirror. Home, a place a child is always welcome, or so he hoped.
The landing was rough, but the phone call rougher. Breaking the terms of his contract, he’d only receive the base salary legally owed to him. Twelve years of being the top salesman and this was his fond farewell.
Starting the rental car, he realized it’d been a while since he’d last driven. “How different can it be,” he said. Eventually maneuvering his way out of airport traffic, he was finally cruising along the secondary highway towards home. Although this route added an extra hour, speeding along the interstate was not an option. His phone buzzed.
He glanced down and saw “…reconsider if….” He entered his password and typed “Thanks. But know.” Damn autocorrect, backspace…backspace… “no.” He smiled and glanced back up at the road.
The car crashed head-on with a truck. The word “delivered” flashed under his last text.
With their families no longer speaking to one another, let alone taking vacations and celebrating holidays, the two crossed paths under the stars and embraced. Then, a passionate kiss. “Are you ready for this?” They discuss their plan to fake their deaths and hitch their way to the more tolerant streets of San Francisco or Vancouver or anywhere…but here. They put the ’65 Volkswagen in gear before guiding it over the cliff. They watch the car flip and crash and begin to burn and smile. But realizing they left their runaway packs in the backseat drains all happiness from their faces and their hearts. “We have to get them.” They run down the road as far as they can and then stumble down the cliff. The smoke makes it hard to see and even harder to breathe. They can, however, hear the sirens loud and clear. Scraped, lashed, and bleeding, the authorities would assume they’d been thrown from the car. And, thanks to the mercy of the Almighty, both had been spared in spite of their wicked intentions and sinful ways. Reform was imminent. Flashlights begin to spot light all around them, and the two girls run: one towards what’s left of the back seat of the car, the other out of the streams of light. The car explodes sending huge razors of shrapnel in all directions. The one left hiding in what was darkness looks up and does not move as huge pieces of metal rain down upon her. [250 words]