The clock ticks inaudibly as the sky of the frigid December night paints itself with a peculiar greyish color of the moonlight. You take out your cellphone and gape at the message that pops up on your mobile screen.
You click on it. Tap!
The message crops up briskly, covering the screen from the topmost notch to the bottommost circular home-button of your mobile.
You read the text message in silence. It says
‘Hotel Hyatt Regency, Room 404. Meet me there exactly at 2. And don’t forget the bag!’
You take a look at your wristwatch. It pinpoints the time to be exactly quarter past one. So you calculate the remaining time inside your feeble mind and deduce that you have only forty-five minutes until you reach your destination.
You answer the text hurriedly, misspelling some of the words.
Tap, tap, tap!
‘I’ll be der soon. On my way! Wont forget d bag!’
You answer and head towards the kitchen.
Pad, pad, pad!
You walk with a soft dull tread and reach the refrigerator. With your wobbly hands you clasp its ice-cold door-handle and draw it towards yourself.
A long, faint squeal resonates throughout the empty scullery as you stand there rooted to the spot, eyeing the freezer in utter dismay. You see the bag. Your bare forehead starts to drench in your salty sweat as you gulp down your saliva, gazing the shiny plastic bag that lies inside the freezer, motionless.
Your heart starts to palpate strongly, making you dead on your feet. You pull down the bag.
It lands just an inch away from your big toe. You grasp the protruding polythene handles with your perspiring palm and lug it arduously as you head towards the garage.
You open the garage door and notice that it makes an eerie popping sound.
Pop, pop, pop!
Maybe due to the newly replaced torsion springs, you mumble softly lowering your weary eyebrows. This is the reason why it doesn’t make any rattling sound like it did before. You take out the keys from your jeans pocket and press it, unlocking the doors of your burnished Volkswagen.
As the sidelight flickers, a moment of silence ensues with a dash of fear and distress, your heart still palpating strongly.
You open the boot and throw the plastic carry-bag with a great blow.
You head towards the front seat of your car and open the door…
…and close it with much force.
You position yourself firmly and put on the seat belt. You insert the key into the keyhole and twist it clockwise, igniting the engine.
You fix your skinny hands onto the steering wheel at ten and two and engage the first gear from neutral, pressing the accelerator with your foot very deliberately as you saunter out of your homestead.
You make it up to the highway within a jiffy as the car’s engine gets into overdrive. You eye the speedometer and observe the needle aiming at a perpendicular direction where the tick-mark states a double digit number: 80 km/hr (which means you’re speeding way more than the traffic rules allow you.)
But your preoccupied mind wigs you out to the point where you lose control of yourself. As you accelerate your car by pressing the pedal, your face gets smooched by the gush of wind entering through the open windshield, making you squint your eyes.
You glance at your wristwatch and note the time to be exactly 1:35 am. Twenty-five more minutes till I reach my destination. You mutter as your heart makes loud audible thumping sound.
Come on, I have to reach there on time; otherwise I’ll be a dead meat.
You accelerate. Vrommmmmmm!
In nothing flat, you reach the crossroad and swiftly take a right turn, with your heart still pumping exceedingly.
The tire screeches as you make the turn hastily.
Come on, come on! I have to move faster.
You accelerate again as your forlorn being gets engulfed by sentiments of stress and strain. But as soon as you pick up the pace, to your surprise, you hear a wailing sound of the siren that resonates from behind your car.
You glance at the wing mirror and parse the sentence inked down in capitals.
Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.
But you get the jitters as soon as you see two black-tinted police cruiser align horizontally with the phrase that’s painted in the side-view mirror. On the spur of the moment, your leg automatically hits the brake pedal, rapidly deaccelerating your car.
You hear some syllables being aired through the loudspeaker firmly attached onto the headliner of those two patrol cars.
Sir! Please get of your car. You’ve violated some rules and we have to check on you. Please cooperate, sir!
You take a deep breath and take notice of the time. It reads 1:45 am.
Just fifteen more minutes! If I don’t reach there on time, this day is surely gonna be my last!
Your heart palpates crazily.
Lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub!
The police officer behind you warns you again.
Sir! Please cooperate and get out of your car. We need to check your license, registration and insurance. Sir, please step outside.
Your legs start to feel very shaky and heavy. You cannot divert your mind away from the ordeal that you’ll be facing if you won’t follow the schedule and reach the hotel on time.
Bag…Hotel…Fifteen minutes…Life and death!
You take a big sigh closing your eyes.
As soon as you see the officer approaching your car, you press the accelerator and bowl along at a great pace.
You speed instantly, your sweat drenched palms still fixated at ten and two on the steering wheel. As you move ahead on the pitched road of the highway, you come to know how your recusant decision instantly puts you in great trouble. You realize you’re being chased by two bulky patrol cars, both aching to take you down.
Without giving a second thought, you pick up the pace even faster.
The two patrol cars behind you also take the momentum and speed up.
As the moment gets intensified by fierce run down and pedal pressing, you come across a two way intersection, not able to opt which way to go.
At the drop of a hat, you choose to go left.
You motion your hand in the figure of one on the steering wheel as if you’re pulling something down the rope. You immediately catch a glimpse of the patrol cars behind you. But this time you get an eerie feeling that something’s not right. So you take a look at the side-view mirror and instantly realize that you’re on the verge of losing the chase.
Oh my god! This can’t be happening. This is outrageous!
As you can’t take hold of the jim-jams, you finally realize the fact that the only thing that you should be doing now is to outrun the cops, and not bother about the task that you had been given to do.
Fuck the bag.
Fuck the hotel.
You speed up.
But as soon as you rev up, your adrenaline soaked mind gets sidetracked by an electrical sound.
“Ma! Not again!” you utter in vexation.
“I can’t believe you’re still glued to your play-station. There should be a time limit, you can’t sit here all day and expect me to do all your chores. Now get up and clean your messy room!” your mother shouts and ambles out of the room.
Eventually you keep this level incomplete and start folding your wrinkled boxer-shorts that clings on to the leathery arm of your couch.