New Short story excerpt

Currently working on a 20 minutes into the future SF short story, working title being “Pedestrians vs. Cars”…

It wasn’t quite 5pm yet, but already, on a Friday, traffic had started to pick up out on the main road. It was the usual crowd of angry commuters. He counted at least one car per second. This was going to be annoying, but it wasn’t anything Frank hadn’t tackled in the past. In fact, he usually looked forward to his Friday night beer run with a certain amount of excitement. He pulled his visor down, got a good grip on his bat, and waited.

Just then, a van with a backrack slowed to accomodate the stoplight. Frank leaped from his hiding place and landed lightly on the back bumper, gripping what he could of the external hardware. The driver would sense the sudden addition of his weight, of course. But by the time he landed, the light was green and traffic was picking up again; the van had no choice but to continue with the flow of the other vehicles. This was old hat. Sometimes the smaller cars, or the more aggressive drivers, would try to fishtail or do stupid tricks in order to shake him off. But he was practiced in shifting his weight in order to accomodate any sudden movements. It was kind of like surfing, in a strange, 22nd century sort of way.

The driver of the van shouted some choice words out his window, and shook his fist in the mirror. But he didn’t bother putting that much effort into it. With that type of vehicle, he was probably accustomed to hosting a few additional passengers here and there. Mostly what bothered people these days wasn’t the affront, it was the unrecovered cost in fuel, due to the added weight of uninvited passengers. These days, people could only afford what bottom-of-the-barrel, adulterated petrol was left for the majority of the population. The fuel itself was so crappy that it clogged up the system of most cars within only a few years of use, which made driving even more costly because of having to repurchase vehicles so frequently. Frank, who hadn’t ever been able to afford his own vehicle, was sometimes amazed that anyone would still persist with the whole idea of driving, anyway. Why bother, when it was so damned inconvenient? But, as their State congressman was fond of spouting: America was built on cars, and it was cars that kept America going.