Short Story: Caught Speeding
*Note: This is not a new concept, but I am definitely practicing writing. Here are more short stories.*
“You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“What?” An automatic response to really any noise my officemate made, some exceptions.
“This is nuts.”
Not answering directly usually indicated that I should pay attention, but it did seem he was just saying things to be outraged over the most recent political scandal. However, when I looked up the chagrin on his face didn’t seem faked. He slammed his chair back and stood up, paced in the small office and then retrieved the chair . Sitting down he grimaced, and took a breath I recognized as his story-telling breath.
He beckoned me to come around to look at his screen.
He had what looked like a really badly done version of YouTube, yep, GovTube. Nobody watched GovTube unless they were told to. Maybe if the government had made one well-thought-out contract with YouTube more people would have used it.
“Watch this,” he nearly spat and violently slammed the space bar. I only flinched inwardly.
The top view of a red convertible with a single male, obvious from the male pattern baldness and other more subtle hints, was driving, quite quickly along a road in a desert.
“He is going very fast,” I remarked blandly, it was never good to get him more excited, it would just make things worse.
“Yes he is, 162 miles per hour.” The way he said it made me stop watching and look at him. There was a smoldering anger that often came up when people started to do stupid things, or continue without heeding his warnings. But this was different, there was a much deeper connection.
“Wait, that’s you?” I hope I put enough incredulity in the question so he could take it either way.
“Yep, after a conference five years ago.”
“What was observing you?” I went through my knowledge of all the public and military satellites that might record it, “But wouldn’t they have brought this up earlier? Err…” It was a bit of an accusation, him driving that fast, if he had been pulled over he would have lost his job and clearance.
He chuckled wryly. “They certainly shouldn’t have sat on it this long. I wouldn’t have even worked on the project if they had any inkling of this. I didn’t even tell my wife.” He was becoming awfully jovial for a man that was about to lose his job. “Maybe the bureaucracy is just as bad as everyone thinks it is.”
“But five years, I mean it’s more likely that the superluminal satellite project was a success, despite the explosion in orbit.” I paused for moment to do a bit of morbid calculation of the dead project, back then we had amazing offices and dreams that extended outside of the solar system, “The telescope would have just gone through five light years away about four months… ago…”
My face must have looked the same as his, ashen, mouth partly gaping. I saw him start to form words, but I had to be the first to say it.
“That’s more like the bureaucracy I know, what?”
“I can’t believe they are using Dan’s work to nab me, what?”