#fridayflash: Special Delivery

Gears grinding, the sorely abused SUV careened through the four-way stop at full speed, forcing the half dozen cars in its wake to scatter like ants in the rain. From there it wove at top speed down 17th, scuffing too many bumpers and setting off too many car alarms to count.

It literally cut the corner at Holt Street, jumping across a small triangle of sidewalk to bypass a Mini Cooper that showed no signs of forward momentum—never mind that the light was red—, displacing a bus bench and adding yet another battle scar to its disfigured chassis.

From there it screamed down the alley behind Carver Avenue, sending trash cans and boxes of refuse flying like so many bowling pins, and frightening two dogs, a cat and several pigeons nearly to death. It barely slowed taking the turn out of the alley and onto 19th, though the engine’s squealing plea for a much-needed downshift was heard for blocks all around. Thus alerted to their impending doom, pedestrians and bicyclists fled before the primer-spotted terror as it sped toward the t-stop intersection up ahead, and the floor-to-ceiling plate glass windows of the Mironi Brothers Bakery.

At one hundred feet, it held steady. At seventy-five, no change. At fifty the driver yanked the wheel hard to the left and stomped on the brake pedal, sending the rear tires into a smoking, sideways skid. The heap of metal, fiberglass, plastic and melting rubber plowed sideways into the loading zone, caromed off a parking meter and bounced to a stop.

The twentyish driver killed the engine and stepped out into the street, clipboard and pen in hand, head bobbing enthusiastically to whatever his iPod was piping into his cranium. He circled around to the sidewalk, entered the bakery and yanked one earbud loose.

“Yo!” he announced to the girl behind the counter. “Cake pickup for the Carruthers wedding.”