Exit 420 A – 365 Flash Fiction #44

The history of the place had less to say compared to the rush in the market place as he stood there trying to find the address of the shop. He had picked a book on the town from the last gas station some two hundred miles away and had got ample time to glance through it. History was always his baby and he loved to know more about a place even if he only had to stop there for a drink or to fill up the gas. But he was amazed to see the bustling market place next to the highway where one would usually only have thought of seeing a few gas stations and one or two eateries. Here there was a town much advanced and big than his home town. In a place out of nowhere that seemed a bit weird.

He had parked his car in a parking lot that was full but said one spot left and it was just adjacent to the gate. Which he again found weird as he always felt he spent more time trying to find parking spots in his life. Luck has never been so faithful with him till now. May be everything is about to change. He looked at the book again to check on the shop address.

24 Market Road, adjacent Bill’s cooler it read. He looked around for Bill’s cooler and he saw a quite busy stall on the opposite side of the road where he stood. He read the board and it said that they sell the best out of the world cranberry juice. He has never seen people advertise cranberry juice, the more popular was shakes and may be orange juice or even carrot juice, Cranberry? this is one weird town in all. He crossed the door and walked towards the stall.

As he came closer he could see the adjacent shop, his destination which was half covered by the people lining before Bill’s. He walked past the people and he could feel the smell of cranberry juice all over and he stood in front of the door that said “Visitor’s info; where you need to be first before you move on”. The door was closed, quite unlike for a shop that important as the Visitor’s center.
As he was about to open the door he heard a voice near him.

“Hey Mister, you new here?”
“Yes” He said looking at the middle aged man smiling at him.
“You took Exit 420A.. aheh?” He asked
“Yes I wanted to take 420B but then somehow I turned here”
“Lucky you, that’s a good mistake to make” he said and laughed loud. He then walked past him and opened the door in.
“Hey Roger” He called to someone inside “You have got a new guy here” The guy then smiled and walked out.

An old man came out of a heap of books and looked at him
“You are young” he said and then looked at his clock. “That’s so less a time for two hundred miles I say”
He was perplexed not knowing what the old man meant. But before he could ask the old man continued

“I am Roger, they here call me old boy” He then looked into his ipad and said, they will call you New boy for at least a month” He chuckled “Old remains old, but new will always change” He laughed loud and signed him to sit on the couch and he pulled his body on to the nearby couch.

He then picked his ipad again and asked “So you have some real good Karma” He looked up “You took the Exit 420A instead of 420B, good choice, you will love it. We were not sure till the last moment if you would make it. You know last minute changes and calculation errors to be fixed. But good, Welcome lad!”

As he looked at the old man pressing on his ipad, he took his phone and it showed no bar.
“They don’t work here, but this one is special made for us” said the old man pointing to his ipad and continued his work on the ipad as he stared around the room. The room had some maps and a large board that said “Take exit 420A, Make your own choices”

“Oooh!” Said the old man, that was neat, you had straight A’s right to college, that’s commendable, a few months back we had another nerdy guy come in, but then figured he was in the wrong place and we had to transfer him back. Now they would make nice stories about him back there, OK, we are almost done” He said ending his ipad work with a few more clicks.
“Can I get a Visitor’s booklet?” He asked not wanting to spend more time in that shack

“Sure! Sure!, you will have everything you need to get started. Come with me” the old man stood up and limbed his way to the desk. He then pulled out three big books and placed it in front of him. The books had nothing on their cover except a word on each written in Yellow. One said NO, One said Yes and the other said Good. He pointed to the Book that said NO. Here you will find all the items you can do and don’t carry any karma, they just nullify what you have. There are lots to do here, but it costs and so be wise.

He then took the second book that said Yes “This is my favorite, anything you do in this will give you one Karma point, but there is a catch” Roger looked straight into his eyes “They can be either good or bad karma points, you are free to make a judgment from the book of ethics that you will be writing for yourself as you move on” He then smiled, “I would love to see your book of ethics, I have so fun reading them, and I will give you some contacts who have done this well” He then paused “But later I guess….”

He then turned to the third book which was far smaller than the other two. Here you will find a lot of things that will give you good karma. Anything you do in this book, will fetch you a point of Good Karma. There are no catches here, but not many people like to do them they are not usually the fun things to do” he chuckled.

Roger looked at his astonished face as if he is in a Ghost land.
“You ok?”
“ye… yes…” He said slowly “But where am I, I just need to spend a few hours, eat something and then I have to hit the road”

Roger looked at him. He walked away from the desk towards the board that had the sign of Exit 420A. He pointed to the board and said “When you took that exit you put an end to all freeways lad, but I would say lucky you for if you had taken 420B it would have been a lot more like a hell”

He slowly felt dizzy and he fell on the couch “He could here Roger calling him “Lad, Lad, it is no use…. Come back” He shook a bit and he could see blurred images of people around him and shouting many things “Holy shit….. call 911…. Move…. Move…. Give some room…. some air…. can you hear me?….. hello……. can you hear me?……can……”

He could hear some cries in the distance and the screeching sound of wheels and the smell of tire burning on tar. Slowly blankness descended on his eyes. When he opened his eyes he saw Roger standing next to him “I told you it was not going to work, I am sorry lad, but 200 miles in such a short time was a big mistake, hope people drive more safely back there again. Hope your example serves a purpose”

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Categories: 365 Flash Fiction, Flash Fiction, Stories

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