Time Spike: Old Habits

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Bobby Z saw the traffic light change to yellow and smiled.  There was no way he was stopping.  He shifted gears and stomped on the gas pedal.

The Ford Mustang quickly responded to his actions and sped through the intersection

Bobby laughed as the wind whipped through the open window.  He reached over, turned up the volume on the radio, and was rewarded by Sammy Hagar loudly proclaiming the inability to drive under the speed limit.

He thought of what his friends would think of his music selection.  Black men weren't supposed to listen to white music, but Bobby didn't care.  Rap was fine for when you were cruising through the hood, checking out the honeys, but not for when you were really driving.  Only rock would work for that.

A flashing light caught Bobby's attention, and he checked the mirror.  Two police cars were behind him in full pursuit.

He laughed as he shifted the muscle car into its highest gear and pressed the gas all the way to the floor.

The Mustang jumped ahead, accelerating to its top speed.  When Bobby again looked in the mirror, he was rewarded with the sight of the police cars fading into the distance.

No one would ever catch him!

"Bobby!" said a voice from the radio.

He looked at the radio in confusion.  What was going on?

"Bobby!  Wake up, man!"

He opened his eyes and looked around in confusion.  As his eyes cleared he could see the interior of his primitive hut.

A black man stood at the foot of his cot.  "Bobby, man, wake up!  We got work detail!"

Bobby threw his arm over his eyes.  "Leave me alone, Leroy!"

Leroy laughed.  "No can do, Bobby.  You know the boss man gave you the turkey pens today.  If you don't show up you get the shit detail."

Bobby groaned.  It wasn't just an expression.  The shit detail was just that, shoveling human feces from the outhouses so it could be processed into fertilizer.  It was bad enough to get the duty on regular rotation.  He sure wasn't going to do anything to get more of it.  "Okay, okay, I'm coming."

He swung his feet to the floor and sat up on the cot.  "Anything's better than that!"

****

Bobby stood and stretched the tired muscles of his back.  He wondered if he would ever get used to the intense manual labor required here in the early Cretaceous.  He had been in pretty good shape, but nothing had prepared him for what he now did every day.

He looked down at the fence he had just finished repairing and nodded in satisfaction.  Good and solid, it should hold in the turkey lizards for a while.  Ever since the locusts attacked the Cherokee village of Saluka, and they discovered the lizards ate the insects, all the towns kept flocks of the lizards penned up near the crops, ready to go on locust-eating duty.

One of the creatures was circling the rails, looking for a hole big enough to squeeze through.

Bobby smiled when he recognized the spot pattern on the lizard's hide.  "Yeah, go ahead, you little shit.  You break out one more time and I will personally make a meal out of you."

Wiping the sweat from his forehead, he looked up at the sky.  The hot sun was high overhead and he estimated it must be about time for mid-day break.  Because they were in an almost perpetual tropical environment, only emergency labor was performed during the hottest couple of hours.  "Hey, Leroy, ain't it about break time?"

His partner looked up at him and nodded.  "Yeah, think so.  Let's see what they cooked up today."

"Probably cold sliced turkey lizard on pine nut bread, just like yesterday."

Leroy laughed.  "Yeah, you right, with those weeds they call salad."

"You know, I'd kill for just one small bag of Cheetos."

"You and me both, man, or an orange soda."

Both men laughed as they dreamed up the ultimate menu of junk food they would never again have the pleasure of eating.

****

Bobby leaned against the wall of the hut, trying to take advantage of the shade.  He took a bite of his sandwich and grimaced.  He had been right, cold turkey sandwiches again.

Leroy laughed beside him.  "I saw that.  Don't let the cook see you don't like his fine gourmet cuisine."

"Yeah, right, gourmet, it doesn't even have any mustard on it."

"Ain't gonna happen, man.  I heard that ‘less somebody find some wild mustard come through time with us, we ain't never gonna see mustard again.  An' even if they do, it sure ain't gonna be no Grey Poupon!"

Bobby laughed.  "I don't need any fancy stuff.  A little plain yellow mustard would be good."

Leroy chuckled and nodded in agreement.  "So, how's it feel to be a free man, now you got your release from parole?"

"I can't say I've noticed it being a whole lot different from parole, since all it means is I get to come back and do the same jobs I've been doing since I got paroled to this so-called town."

"Well, least you ain't banned from Schulerville or Saluka no more.  Hardened criminals like me still be stuck here in Boom Town, ‘less I want to go hook up with Bostic's group."

"You're not exactly a hardened criminal, Leroy.  They only charged you with the one robbery."

"One is enough when two people are killed, man.  Even if I didn't pull the trigger, I was still part of the group that killed ‘em.  Accessory to murder was the official charge.  That with the armed robbery got me sent to Alexander.  It's gonna be a while longer before I get released."

Leroy paused while he chewed another bite of his sandwich.  "I hear they got some fine lookin' Cherokee women over in Saluka."

Bobby chuckled and looked at his friend.  "What's the matter, Leroy, you don't like the local native girls?"

Leroy laughed along with him.  "Well now, there ain't nothing wrong with the native girls.  But what I would really like is to get me some fine Afro-American boo-tay!"  He emphasized the sentiment by gripping the air in front of him as if he were squeezing a woman's derriere.

Bobby shook his head in resignation, but laughed anyway.  "Ain't gonna happen, Leroy, unless one of the guards takes a liking to you."

"Stranger things happen, man.  Cook got himself a bootylicious little piece."

"Yeah, but he ain't as ugly as you!" Bobby quipped and then ducked as his friend took a playful swing at him.

"I oughta kick your ass!" Leroy teased.  "You ain't got yourself no woman, either!"


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About David Dove

I’m just a small town guy from a little bitty place in Southern Illinois with a population of only 300, now living in the hustle and bustle of the greater Washington, DC area. After graduating with a degree in accounting, I served one term in the Army and am now working as a Department of the Army civilian.

I love to read and have done so all my life, mainly science fiction and fantasy, but also military thrillers and historical fiction. I am an accomplished cook, but since I’m a lifelong bachelor, I tend to specialize in one pot meals. My main interests are music, singing, and dance, and in recent years I’ve found I really like to perform. My one big goal in life is to visit every country and see all the sites on the World Heritage list.

You could call me a jack of all trades, since I can and have done many different things in my life. But, while I’m good at a lot of things, I don’t know if I’m great at any of them.

While I have written stories and other things before, I have only really submitted one story, the one that got me on this list. Hopefully there are more in my future!