Nightmare of the Donut Man
Where yesterday the parking lot was a vast, cracked desert of dried-up fountain drinks, tonight it's freshly tarred and black as sky. Cigarette butts and litter no longer stick but tumble away. Tires squeal even at 5 m.p.h. When it's busy it sounds like a cop show; the only thing missing is wah-wah.
It's quieter at night and at certain times silent. The window sill is only four inches wide but it's a good enough seat in a pinch. It's important to pace the feet, since they still have three more hours to support nearly a hundred pounds apiece.
The moon is almost too bright to look at directly; the man is overexposed, hard to pick out. On a breeze is the hint of a longoff train. Even the crickets are sleeping. A distant hum makes its way closer and gradually reveals itself as the roar of a van traveling 60 m.p.h. in D2, big blurry donut painted on the side. It sails through the yellow-- make that red--light, and, barely braking, turns into the lot, breaking through the yellow banner that guarded the fresh tarred side, busting through a second ribbon before squealing in reverse to within inches of the front doors. He's out and running before the van rocks forward.
"Did you hear about it?"
"Hear about what?"
"Disaster! All over the dial!" One tray's on the donut man's shoulder; he ducks inside, returns. "They go hit the whujacallits. You know." He's gone again, then back. "The financial, that's it!" Gone again, back for the third tray. "Blowm up! What they said!" Gone and back. "Ain't no yella kind neither. It's, what's that, not green, but, what's the next one? Orange? Or red? Amber, that's it. Gone to amber's how bad it is."
It's $62.50, which he pockets without interest. "Oh, they know who's behind it all right. It's the. The. Whujacallem. Iraqs? The one that, what's the one that sounds like Al Capone, but it's --al Qaeda! That's who done it all right. Next is Sears Tower, you know, down there by New York, New Jersey, all them financial, all go get it, put this country out of business!"
In exactly 23 hours and 57 minutes, the donut man will return with the rest of the story.