The dashboard clock read 2:36. Traffic was never so thick at this intersection so early in the afternoon. Hell, it wasn’t even a through-street. This roadway was a traffic artery that dead-ended at the edge of a neighborhood airport. Most days at this hour, you could lie down in the street and nap uninterrupted until the evening rush, when the rich moms in their SUV’s came to pick up their tots from day school.
Something else caught my eye. A new yellow caution sign had been put up: Warning! Dangerously Excessive Noise Levels Ahead.
Dangerously excessive. I chuckled at the thought. What traffic jargon genius thought that one up? I snapped a picture of it with my phone’s camera, making a mental note to upload it to that comedy website that consumed so much of my time at work. Meanwhile, João Gilberto sang a duet with his guitar: “Chega de saudade, a realidade é que sem ela não há paz...”
The earth shook. My phone tumbled out of my hand and onto the passenger seat. There was a distant hiss, like water coursing through long-dry pipes, and then a dull thud. A shrieking missile shot out of an underground silo, trailing a fiery tail like a comet splitting the skies in its passing.
The cars ahead lurched forward, zigzagging haphazardly to get away before the missile touched ground.
The rocket slammed into the open field at the airport’s outer fringes. Dirt hailed down onto the passing cars as a tiny mushroom cloud blossomed just within the airport’s perimeter fence.
Times must really be tough when the municipal airport in an upscale neighborhood has to lease some of its land to a munitions proving facility just to get by.
A cacophony of horns blared. Cars elbowed past each other to flee the intersection. A semi-truck hopped the center median and roared past the gridlock, stripping the side view mirrors off of several luxury sedans in its path. Meanwhile, chartered jets headed for the airport runway veered in sweeping arcs as the air went thick with rockets.