Hurtling down the highway with his floodlights on, Nifty takes a call by his knee steering and holding the phone. Barely keeping it together he navigates over the longest nearby flat land straight.
He steers with one fist and reaches for kernels of popcorn from a microwave bag with the other.
Down the gorge straight, over the horizon, headlights flash while Nifty keeps to his knee-high call.
Over the ridge and down the gorge gully a deep-blue 18-wheeler swerves into Nifty’s lane.
‘Nature calls. Gotta go!’
The phone hangs up on g-force impact just as Nifty gets out his final words before the dashboard crushes him. Popcorn flies in all directions sponging bloody blunt force trauma mid-air.
He blinks and wakes up five kilometres cruising back down the road he came.
He sits up, ‘I’ve seen this bit of road before.’
The phone rings, Nifty picks it up with one hand and steers with the other.
‘Need both hands on the wheel for this next bit. Lemme brace you with my shoulder. Who’s it now?’
‘You haven’t got much time. We shouldn’t be talking. Our paths meet and you become me. Make sure you…’
And the phone falls from his shoulder. So, he picks it up and braces it with his knee.
‘It’ll all make sense soon. There’s no way to escape it. The past is what the future made…’
The voice gets clearer as the phone’s slammed into his head when the dashboard collides with truck.
Nifty wakes up five K’s back down the same road.
The phone rings, he refuses the call, and commits to the lane.
Truck light beams flash over the horizon and Nifty grabs his phone and calls the last number.
‘Two hands on the wheel at all times.’
While Nifty puts the phone to his shoulder and braces himself with his knee.
‘Make it past the next straight and there’s a whole new road ahead of you. Fail, and you go back.’
Nifty pleads, ‘How do I turn around!?’
‘To turn around is to revert your present into past. There’s only forward.’
Truck lights grow in intensity as they enter the cabin, crushing Nifty through his seat. Popcorn flies.
Nifty wakes up five kilometres up the road.
I haven’t seen this roadhouse before! That pawnbroker looks new. Must have been some hypnogogic voyage of post-liminality. I must have dreamt it up to cope with the gorge passing. Now I can make my seminar on pre-subatomic neural conditioning and neuroplasticity in the face of adversity (Physical or Metaphorical).
Now, if I can just get some shut eye in this carpark before it starts.
I can hold my jacket over my knee and block the driver’s side window with my leg up.
Should get better shut eye.
‘Ahhh... Snore… Snore… Agghhh!’
Nifty wakes, five kilometres back down the road.