The Shine Journal

Exceptional Flash, Poetry, Art and Photography!


Close Encounters 




Matt Mok




The furniture delivery truck just ahead of old Mickey Studebaker had already weaved in and out of his lane twice without signaling.  Everyone else drove past the truck.  Some honked, but he knew no one would do anything about this outrageous behavior.  They never did.  Mickey hated it when people stood by while morons ran the world.  He remembered that most of these types of trucks had phone numbers printed on the back for driving feedback.  He thought he saw one there and inched closer behind the offending vehicle.

He could see the number now, preceded by the usual question, "How's my driving?"

"Well, I'd be happy to tell them," he muttered to himself while he fumbled for his phone.

He didn't have his ear piece, so he drove with one hand while he dialed with the other.  He glanced between the phone number on the truck and the keys on his phone, all the while keeping an eye on the road.


"Yea," said Mickey.  "I have a complaint about one of your drivers.  This fella has been coming in and out of my lane without signaling for about 10 miles now.  It's ridiculous.  How do you train these drivers of yours?!"

"Sir, we do not represent the actual companies that employ the drivers.  We only record feedback from callers.  We provide this service for many companies.  Perhaps you can give me the name of the company and the ID number of the truck."

"It's Mona's Furniture, but I don't know where the damn number is," he said.

"It's usually on the back of the truck near where the phone number is, sir."

"Okay, okay. Let me see," he said as he eased closer to the truck.

"Sir, I really must suggest that you not drive while we speak.  Perhaps you could get the number and then call us back?"

"I know what I'm doing," Mickey said.  He wasn't about to have someone tell him what he could or couldn't do.

He squinted as he started reading off the numbers.  "5...3...1...5..."

Up ahead, a speed trap created a domino effect of red brake lights.  When the Mona's Furniture truck hit its brakes, Mickey was still reading off the last three numbers.  Concentrating on the numbers, and being so close to the truck already, he braked late, and promptly crashed into the rear bumper of the truck.  His airbag exploded out of the steering column, covered his face in fine dust, and knocked the phone from his hand.

"Sir, are you there?  Sir?" 


BIO: Born and raised in Queens, New York, Matt Mok moved to New Hampshire after college when someone made him an offer he couldn't refuse. One day, he decided to give writing a try and to his surprise, publications started accepted his stories. Matt resolves to one day dream up a brilliant idea which he will turn into a completed novel. He currently resides in Hampton, NH, where trees and fresh air still scare him.

MOTIVATION: I was driving one day when I saw a truck on the road with one of these numbers that you call if you want to complain about their driving.  I wondered what would happen if someone did just that.

Photo: Kym McLeod

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