Martin sped down the long tract of a dark city road in his baby blue Chevy Impala. It was two in the morning and John Coltrane’s Giant Steps blasted energy through the car speakers as the street lights streaked by in blue and white blurs. It was as if nothing else in the world existed beyond Martin, Coltrane’s sax, and the infinite stretch of asphalt ahead.
The bourbon was taking a strong hold of Martin and he was at the point where the world outside his car took on a dreamlike quality. He still had complete control of his actions, but his mind teetered between the real world—with its many dangers and consequences—and the dream world he now found was beginning to take over.
Coming to a red light, Martin looked around but didn’t see anyone else on the road. His head was light as a balloon and threatened to float away at any moment. A warm sensation rushed from his core and spread throughout his face, arms, and legs as relaxation washed over him and he lavished in its comforting embrace.
The sound took a few sections to register and when it did, Martin thought it was a part of the music.
He glanced in the rear view mirror and saw the headlights of a truck behind him.
Martin looked up and saw that the light was green. Without thinking, he stomped the gas petal and flinched at the sound of rubber tires peeling against the unforgiving asphalt. The back end of his car swayed side-to-side while he struggled to regain control. Then he let his foot off the accelerator and allowed the car to coast back to a steady speed, straightening out in the process. When he looked back in the rear view the truck was gone. It must’ve turned somewhere right after the light. The road belonged to John Coltrane and himself once more.
Home was still miles away but Martin was okay with that. He didn’t have anything waiting for him and he much rather drive all night if he could manage it. Only, the whiskey was starting to intensify its grip on him and the road was tilting in unusual ways. He felt more carefree than ever, but this was dangerous. This was when he needed to be most alert.
Every time Martin shook his head the road would straighten out slightly, but it always tilted back to a bizarre slant; getting progressively worse each time. He slowed down enough to match his new standard of reaction time, but as the minutes passed, he had more and more trouble focusing. It was turning into a challenge just to keep the car in between the road lines.
“Damn,” Martin said with drooping eyelids and a swaying head.
He was driving well under the speed limit now and was nearing his house. Another night of reckless behavior without consequence it would seem.
“Bout time I made it,” he said with a chuckle.
His whole body felt like lead as he took an extra wide turn—going far over to the wrong side of the road—and pulled into his driveway. It was perfect timing, too, as John Coltrane’s sax faded away with the end of the album and silence took over. But it wasn’t to last, because when Martin stumbled out of his car and struggled to stay upright, he looked right into the blue and red flashing lights of a police cruiser parked right behind him.
“Don’t move!” the cop ordered.
Martin closed his eyes and let the cool nighttime air rush over his warm face. He could still hear Coltrane’s saxophone echoing in his ears.
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