Traveling in Traffic
Traveler was hopelessly mired in traffic and it was pissing him off because he was supposed to be dining with the love of his life, Lisa Hole.
He was in 'City Sector 7' of Raedis' big-ass world ship. Since they had begun taking in whole racing teams and their families while following certain classes on various worlds, the sector had changed from a nice place to hang out into an overcrowded, sprawling mess of a burgh. Often Traveler would go for a drive through it and perhaps even have lunch in one of its many idyllic municipal parks. However, taking aboard large groups of people had overcrowded the city space. He definitely needed to bring this up with Raedis. His thoughts returned to the present as the high pitched hum of a punk little kid on an electric scooter whizzed passed his open window as he smoked a cigarette. It was just a normal smoke that he lit with the tiny, jet-like flame of a lighter fueled by butane. The kid waved to Traveler as he passed having recognized the distinctive car the man was trying to drive at anything faster than the pedestrian pace he was plodding along at presently.
Traveler was in a 1972 red DeTomoso Pantera and he'd be loving it if he were able to drive it faster than a kid on a scooter. He looked down his arm to his fingers which were holding the cigarette upright between them. He took a long drag and exhaled it through his nostrils impatiently then looked at it again after flicking ashes from the tip. They blew right back at him, however and landed in his lap.
"Fuck." he said aloud to the empty car. Of course he was wearing thin, black trousers that now bore a pinhole burn in their upper right thigh in the middle of a grey smear of ash.
City Sector 7 was becoming a crowded, very unmachine-like sprawl that he was definitely now going to bring up with his best friend.
Whenever he got out this traffic. A three lane river of slow moving metal crept along. Traveler looked at the cigarette burning between the tips of his fingers. The sunlight simulating lights that shone from unfathomable heights were currently throwing down a depressing flat light that cast no shadows. Traveler sighed and finished his smoke. As he put it out though, something clicked in his complex brain. He pushed the thought aside for now. The group of cars he was stuck among began to move forward.
A wave of red brake lights receded, replaced by a surge of motion. Traveler gunned the Pantera's big motor and scared some kids in an adjacent car. He took maximum advantage of the opportunity to move and with a little skill, found a space within two groups of cars to cruise in.
He finally arrived at his rendezvous with Lisa. She was a welcome sight to his eyes which were literally sore from the drive.
She saw it on his face as soon as he climbed out of the gorgeous red machine. There was such a contrast between the jovial red of the cool car and the misery on her man's face she couldn't help but snap a photo of him as he looked at her. She raised her phone and quickly snapped a shot before he could move. She smiled when she saw that it was perfect.
Her smile was so wonderful to him that his foul mood evaporated like breath on a window.
"Why this face, baby?" she asked and turned the phone so he could see the picture she had taken. He ignored her phone and took her wrist. In an elegant sweep of a maneuver he was behind her, kissing his way from her wrist to her elbow. He bypassed the jagged scar of a racing injury knowing she did not like it to be touched.
"I was annoyed by the traffic around here. It's gotten out of hand." he finally told her. He could feel a certain kind of heat reserved for him now emanating from her body with his dance like move next to her.
"Perhaps the city needs to be expanded? Anyway, who wants to talk about the traffic? Let's go eat." she suggested. There was a delightfully mischievous look in her icy blue eyes that told him not to listen to her would be folly, so he did.
She insisted on driving and he did not refuse. She was currently wheeling around in a quick, agile little sports coupe and he also very much wanted to see how she handled the current city traffic.
They got into her slick, red coupe and she switched it on. It hummed to life with a powerful throb. Its dashboard lit up with holographic displays that Traveler watched her quick eyes look over. She appeared satisfied at what she saw. Other drivers' process when starting up a vehicle alway intrigued the man. Doubly so when he was in love with said driver.
She caught him checking her out with a sideways glance, leaned over and found his lips with great precision. She kissed him for a long time and when she finally disengaged said: "Everything is operational. Ready to see how driving in traffic is done?"
"At your leisure." was his slightly winded response. She grinned almost savagely as she floored it from her parking spot to seek out some traffic. She didn't have to drive far. Within ten minutes after leaving her place they were merging into a ton of traffic, slowly.
"Right then. Here, as you can see, is the problem. I know you've noticed it before." Traveler said.
"Of course I have. But you, of all people, have the ability to change this for the betterment of City Sector 7." she said back. In her mind she was lacing a route through the traffic. When it was set she adjusted her hands on the wheel and started her run. Traveler watched with amazement as she made leaps of intuition in spots that only seconds before she took it over contained another vehicle. The ire of many other drivers was sounded in their horns as she wove her way through the traffic. Their irritated notes seemed to fuel her skill and daring. She pulled moves Traveler would reserve for a race and his strict adherence to local traffic laws of the planets and times he's visited kept him from such bombastic displays of vehicular motion.
Lisa, however, didn't seem to give a toss about the other motorists muddled around them or the regulations that were intended to keep them from moving like they now were. Traveler tightened his safety harness as Lisa dove onto the shoulder, around a long, cargo truck.
"Hey! Going off the road doesn't count." Traveler protested and yet could not stop grinning. Her style and skill were dazzling. Her bravery, was enough to make Traveler obtain an even tighter grip on his safety restraints. He also spaced then placed his feet firmly on the fairly flexible flooring of the speedy little coupé.
"It's the fastest way around that dumb, slow truck! C'mon, baby!
This isn't a race..." she said as the grin returned to her face after pulling another daring passing maneuver that caused Traveler to clench visibly in his seat. "We could get another car for our time together and go to the racing sector of the ship." she said and, having to stop behind another car, looked at him long enough to arc a thin black eyebrow provocatively over a dazzling blue eye. He loved that look and she usually got her request whenever she employed it on him. They both knew this so she didn't abuse the wiley power.
"Let's talk about it while we eat." was his reply.
"Sure!" she said. She was happy their destination was close and got them to it much quicker than Traveler thought she could given the traffic. Lisa stopped them in a vacant spot before a small café.
"Nice work through the traffic." Traveler said looking behind him at the crowd of cars stopped in the street they had just turned off of. He snapped back around to watch her egress the vehicle. This was a motion that he never tired of watching for, to him, watching Lisa Hole exit a vehicle was one of the most balletic actions he'd ever seen a clothed woman complete.
In one fluid motion the woman would guide her knees under the steering linkage and pivot. She set her stylish blue shoes on the tarmac one at a time as if to first make sure the ground and, depending on the situation, her legs were solid under her for often times, they were not. Finally, she would emerge, usually with a stretch because she was a tall woman and sports cars were crampt vehicles, at best.
Lisa knew this action of egress garnered his attention so she deliberately made a more elaborate and somewhat seductive show of it when they were alone together. Traveler never suspected that she knew he watched her do all this and she grinned when, out of the corner of her eye, she saw him totally checking her out.
Lunch was served to them at the little café in a cardboard box the interior of which was stained with a bright orange grease. The contents of the box were taco-like treats accented with colorful vegetables which the pair devoured while chatting about where to go next before getting back in the car.
Overhead the lights demarcating day from night began to take on an early evening hue. Traveler was back at the wheel and the traffic was noticeably lighter. They agreed to stay at one of Traveler's favorite places. He knew how to get there from where they were. Now it was Lisa who was observing her man's wheel work. Sure they had competed against one another so she knew how he raced but their love affair contained surprisingly little time together in cars. She noted how cautious and courteous he tended to be. He was nothing like he was on the racetrack.
She also noted the amount of courtesy he was granted by other motorists and how he seemed to ease the tension of drivers around him as he progressed. This was something she would have expected more from from Raedis and she could feel the influence of Traveler's best friend in the man's amicable actions.
As Lisa Hole studied him, she was also totally going to use everything she learnt about his driving against him the next time they had to race against each other.
Red brake lights halted their progress and flooded the small car with light. It threw the two lover's features into sharp contrast as they looked at one another.
"You...are so rad." he said to her with enough time for a quick kiss before he had to roll them forward a few feet. He totally knew she had been devising racing strategies against him every time she let him drive. So, since she was gaining knowledge about him he made sure to drive contrary to how he really would were they in competition. He too was studying her just as much when she was at the wheel.
And so it went for the rest of their time together. For five days they spent driving one another from place to place, each of them gearing up psychologically for the next race. When their time came to an end and Lisa had left, Traveler made sure he had a detailed talk with Raedis about his observations on the status and size of City Sector 7.