The Roundabout

by Sacha Bissonnette

I heard the screeches and saw the tire marks every week. Many drivers failed to use the roundabout properly. I tried to tell them to do something about itand I don’t even drive. I know it’s a problem because my balcony’s right there. That’s where I drink my green tea.

Last visit downtown, the city councilor pushed a piece of paper with a few scribbled numbers on it, across his clunky, shit-colored table. “Roundabouts are statistically safer,” he condescended, in his ugly cheap tie. I figure about one in ten times it’s more than just honks and screeches, slammed breaks and tightened seatbelts. I figure about one in ten times, the roundabout cars collide and crash.

“That’s ten percent of the time,” I yelled at Mr. City Councilor.

Today was no different. I didn’t even flinch when the crash echoed throughout the area. The police hadn’t shown yet (They were usually pretty quick —this is a good neighborhood). From where I was standing, it was hard to tell who was to blame. The driver of the white sedan did not yield properly. The driver of the black truck was going way too fast.

Synchronized, the men exited their cars to assess their damage. “Why the fuck didn’t you yield? Are you some sort of moron?” yelled Mr. Truck, a bulky man in a flashy baseball cap.

“You were going so fast. I thought I had time to make it. You’re absolutely reckless!” shouted back a much taller, slimmer man, trying to fix his glasses and tuck his dress shirt back into his pants. The men were waving their hands like angry stick figures.

“You little shit, they shouldn’t even let you drive. I should go over there and beat you for what you did to my truck. Look at the damage to my wheel and look at that scratch! You’re a fucking dead man!”

“Your truck? Your truck! Look at my car. It’s totaled! My wife needs it for work, she’s going to chew my head off!”

Both men exaggerated the damage. From where I was standing it looked like their cars were still mostly intact.

“I’m going to kill you!”

“No! Fuck you! You’re dead!”

The two men were crazed, rabid even, doing a rage dance towards the sidewalk, a sort of prefight ceremony. As they got closer to each other they got further from their vehicles.

“You’re the problem. People like you are ruining this country!” Mr. Truck spat violently.

“No, you are. You and your stupid truck and little dick!” Mr. Sedan corrected, raising his fist.

Then, all of sudden, the street ritual stopped, as if the possessed men came to. Together they focused in on a yellow jeep barreling into the roundabout at breakneck speed. They turned their attention towards the black truck. Mr. Truck said something to Mr. Sedan that I couldn’t hear.

From where I was standing, the little hand reaching out of the window of the black truck wasn’t that obvious. I saw the men’s faces turn pale. Off-white actually. I screamed and dropped my cup. The ceramic smashing into a million little pieces. Synchronized, the men fell to their knees. Red and blue lights approached in the distance.

*

The construction is loud and annoying and the air is always full of dust. Too dusty to drink my green tea out on my balcony. But at least the roundabout is gone.

 

 

Sacha Bissonnette is an Afro-Trinidadian, French Canadian short story writer from Ottawa, Canada. He is a reader for the Wigleaf top 50 series. He was nominated for Best Small Fictions 2021 and was longlisted for Wigleaf Top 50 2021. His story “Glass Birds” was shortlisted for the Masters Review flash fiction prize and was a Mythic Picnic short fiction prize finalist and is nominated by Wigleaf for a 2022 pushcart prize. He recently placed third in the 2022 Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary competition. His work has appeared in Wigleaf, Litro UK, Lunch Ticket, SmokeLong Quarterly, The Maine Review, The Emerson Review, Cease, Cows, among other places. He has upcoming short fiction in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Lost Balloon, and elsewhere. He loves film and comfort food and tweets @sjohnb9

 

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