Please by K-Rock

Topic: Exhaustion

Sigh. The lines were so long. Always. I’m not sure why I was hoping it would be different today. I should have known better than to hope at all, I told myself as I approached the inspection station. It was a large flat building, a dreary taupe color, surrounded by pavement. Lots of pavement. Lanes and more lanes, winding around the building like the silver railed banisters you weave in and out of at an amusement park ride. Just when you think you have made progress, you turn the corner to find another series of lanes to wait in. There were three lanes across, and I couldn’t help wondering if I picked the right lane. You know, the lane that was moving the fastest. But who was I kidding – my line was never the fastest. And besides, I was committed now. I had been in this particular lane’s line for about an hour. I had the windows shut tight, of course, so I could sing along to the radio as inconspicuously as I could. I glanced nervously over to my right to see if the person in the other lane was watching. A mother with two kids in the car – no, she was preoccupied. The kids looked to be about five and eight years old, and I could see them climbing all over the car, front seat, back seat, front seat. She had her head turned and was leaning over, trying to get them to sit down. I could see the strained look on her face as her younger son started hitting his brother. Boy, she must have it tough, I mused. At least I’m not so bad.

I took the last sip of my artfully blended generic Starbucks creation, and checked out the lane to my left. It was an old guy in a beat up white Grand Marquis. He must have seen me turn my head out of the corner of his eye, because he turned to look at me. He had a sallow complexion, with sunken in eyes and cheeks, and was in need of a shave. He seemed to look through me, with this empty expression. I don’t think he really even saw me. I felt sorry for him. I bet he won’t pass inspection, I thought.

I was out of coffee. Damn. I had been slowly inching forward, and the good news was that the inspection garage was in sight. I leaned my head back against the headrest, draped my wrist over the steering wheel, and heaved another sigh. God, this was so boring.

I don’t know how long I was out for, but the guy beeping behind me woke me up. I sat straight up, startled. The inspector was waving me in. Huh, I must have crawled along the last fifty feet in my sleep. I knew I should have ordered that extra espresso shot. I gave the car a bit of gas and pulled into the garage. “Step outta the vehicle, please,” my inspector barked at me. He was really a no-nonsense kind of guy, you could tell. He was wearing one of those black satiny jackets with his name embroidered on it in yellow. It said ‘Frank’ in cursive and then ‘Emissions Inspector’ under it. He slowly walked around me as I stood still, looking me up and down. “Hmmm,” he said, “you better come with me.”

Oh no. Not this. I never thought it would come to this. I followed the inspector to a garishly lit waiting room in the back, he told me to wait there and someone would be right with me. I nervously took a seat on one of the maroon plastic chairs. Shortly a balding man in a white coat came out to meet me. “Ms. Massi?” he asked. I nodded. He beckoned for me to follow him. We went down a long hallway with a white scuffed up linoleum floor, and finally turned into a large room humming with the sound of technical equipment running. The room was dark, and I could see the greenish hue coming from a gigantic computer screen. It was attached to what looked like an oversized version of the x-ray scanners they have at the airport. “Please step inside,” the technician, whose name was Al, motioned. Why did they always have to be so damn polite? “The floor will move, just walk very slowly and casually, and try to relax.”  I took a deep breath, unclenched my hands, and stepped inside. The door was shut behind me, and now the only light came from the floor lights outlining the treadmill and the red and green mystery buttons on the wall next to me. After about five minutes of walking, the treadmill slowed down and finally stopped. Al opened up the door, looking very grave.

“Please have a seat, Ms. Massi.” He sat opposite me, and fumbled with several pages of my report. “I’m sorry to inform you, ma’am, that you have not passed the State Exhaustion Test. As you know, the state has very strict regulations. Unfortunately when you reach a certain level of tiredness both emotionally and physically, your body emits certain chemical signals which are harmful to the immediate environment around you. According to the State’s regulations, you must be quarantined until such time that your levels are low enough for you to be reintroduced into the general population.”

I started filling out the paperwork. So much paperwork. Emergency contacts, info for the pet sitter, a notice to my workplace, bills to be paid, medical history, diet information, the whole nine yards. “Please,” I thought politely. “Please don’t let the food be terrible.”

5 Responses to “Please by K-Rock”
  1. Jared Karol says:

    This was an awesome piece, had me hooked the entire way. . . loved the twist at the end. And of course could relate too well. Thanks for writing with us. Write On!

  2. TJ Alexian says:

    Let’s hope at the next test, you pass with flying colors!

  3. Brett says:

    Love it! Didn’t see that coming. Extremely creative!

  4. K-Rock says:


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