Last chance to save the Norwalk whales I learn via email—subject line only—then delete from the passenger seat while the toddler stands and drives far too fast for someone who can’t see past the dash. We’re both bored of the living room, of his abandoned baby toys, maybe, too, of each other, but the outside air smells of our futures, incinerating, and the parks are all slung with caution tape, their swings swung round the cross bars out of reach. Instead, I hold the keys in-hand while we drive nowhere into the empty expanse of late morning.

 

We are out of time / we have all the time.

 

Panda sock-toes curled to the edge of the captain’s seat, he leans and veers and vroooms while I wonder at the ash of ancient redwood bark, invisible until it settles, offset by the dark hood, the windshield, the tinpot roof overhead. Something you don’t see until it’s there. Neighbors walk by, laugh at my chauffeur who waves merrily. A mayor on small-town parade. He’s forgotten about the horn from last time, blessed be, but not the four-ways—never. Knows a good red triangle to see one. They blink throughout our entire drive, battery leeching its last begotten energy:

 

emer gency / emer gency / emer gency.

 

 

Geoff Martin

Geoff Martin is a CNF contributing editor at Barren Magazine. His place-based and environmental essays have appeared most recently in Boulevard, The Common, Slag Glass City, and Creative Nonfiction and have been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes. Originally from southwestern Ontario, Geoff now lives in San Francisco. He can be found online on Twitter @gmartin9 or at www.geoff-martin.com.

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