Hazard Lights by Al Kratz


One of the most dangerous places to be, when I was a teenager, was inside a place called Mother’s Imagination. I always found trouble there, always came home late, but it does take a long time to get a car out of a ditch, change flat tires, or outrun the police. It wasn't just me, around every corner were strangers trying to give me free drugs or lure me into their cars to do things far too horrible to be said out loud in that place. Unchecked, I would’ve stayed “her little boy” there forever, but all places have some rules and it was forced to face that I was becoming a man. Oh shit, the places I’d go!

I’d often jet over to a neighboring place called Dad’s View. It seemed much safer there, although too quiet. Most of the people there liked me; they’d say stuff like I was a chip off the old block. The men at the barber shop weren’t so sure. I overheard them arguing about where I came from, but agreeing it was somewhere far away. We never got into trouble that really mattered in the View. Boys will be boys, nothing for anyone to lose sleep over. 

Something always got me back to Mother's Imagination. Maybe I thought if I let its tides pull me in, I could keep real troubles out to sea. The road back from Dad's View was so bumpy, I couldn’t believe, after all those years, they hadn’t built a smoother way to connect with each other. Oh well, by the time I’d get back, I had it up to 90 mph and no worries. I was sure I’d never die which seems strange now considering how many times I rolled my car, got lost in corn fields, or was abducted by strangers. At least the last time when I was missing for most of the night and they found me and my car stuck upside down in Amy Jackson’s oak tree (long story), at least that time I had on clean underwear.

Comments

  1. A brilliant take on parental fears and teenage recklessness.

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