256 Words

The Morning Commute

M. Stanley Bubien

I jumped in my car, revved the engine and sped off. I knew the traffic was going to be hellacious---after all, I was already late. Downshifting toward the on-ramp, I was right---jammed.

I weaved out of traffic and onto the back road. It led me beyond the residences and through a lush valley. The strawberries were ripe there, and the workers bent to collect their harvest.

As I passed, I ran a brush through my hair---something I hadn't the time for at home.

The road became curvy, but I made good time until reentering civilization. The first stoplight in sight flashed green, yellow, red.

Idling on the limit-line, I scanned the mass of people on the corner.


There must've been thirty of them. Some were well-clad, in blue jeans and flannel shirts, while others wore corduroy that looked as tattered as their faces.

A pickup braked into their midst and a farmhand hopped out. He began pointing to individuals in turn, counting out in Spanish.

One man, the most tattered of the lot, pushed forward. The farmer counted up to him and hesitated. The Mexican remained still, but his eyes pleaded. Sighing, the farmer nodded, and waved his thumb toward the truck's bed.

The elect climbed in and the farmer drove off.

I couldn't help but wonder about their day's wage, and where it would go. I recalled the tattered man's eyes. He had a family---somewhere.

As I slid the car into gear, for some reason I no longer felt rushed.

Based on a true story.

Copyright ©1996 M. Stanley Bubien. All Rights Reserved.

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August, 1996
Issue #5

256 Words