#97 1/3 Life Crisis of Thin Man (600 words)

Inspired by: Ballad of a Thin Man 

While Sadie and Tiffany partied in San Gabriel, Ein learned about life, the universe, and everything. The meaning of life never concerned him. He didn’t care what happened to him once he died. But traveling through space with Mr. Spaceman and visiting another planet really threw him for a loop. Having a universal translator in his head hasn’t helped him feel normal.

“You’re driving,” Veronica said, stepping out of the car and walking to the passenger side door.

Ein met Veronica online. He responded to an ad on Fred’s List for a couple who was looking for a driver. He didn’t have any false impressions about what he was getting himself into. He scoured the message board searching for the right opportunity to be the driver he wanted to be. 

He got behind the wheel and took a second to familiarize himself with the setup of this car. Comfortable, he drove to the bar.

“What brings you to our career path? Medical bills, student loans, boring wife?” Veronica asked. 

“I have a very rudimentary job. It offers no opportunity to express myself creatively. I want something to do; that’s all instinct. No protocol, constant problem-solving. 

Ein stopped at a red light beside a police officer. 

“Well, here’s your first test, kid. Lose him.” 

The light turned green, and Ein put the pedal to the floor. Before the cop knew what was going on, Ein turned left at the next red light. The police officer turned on their siren and gave pursuit. Thanks to the element of surprise, Ein was already a couple blocks ahead, quickly parallel parked and turned off the car. Thirty seconds later, the police car blew past them without even realizing it.

“Nice work,” Veronica said, impressed. “Wait, did you know we were coming here?” 

“Nope. Some sort of cosmic coincidence.” 

They got out of the car and entered the bar across the street. It wasn’t the sort of establishment Ein would generally come to. As a dyslexic person, Ein developed coping methods for social interactions. He needed to know the rules and what was required of him in every social interaction before he made it. The last thing he wanted was to make the wrong move and get punched in the nose. 

However, with Veronica, Ein felt not necessarily safe but secure. She nodded at a booth in the corner with a man named Duke he met the night before. 

“I’ll get drinks, you go sit down.” 

Ein did as instructed and sat opposite of Duke.

“You’re back. That’s a good sign.” Duke said. 

“Why does everyone think I’m going to quit after my first day.” 

“This line of work, people think they can handle it, but once they get a glimpse, they get squeamish.” 

“I’m just looking for an opportunity to drive.” 

“You’ll be driving, alright.” 

A few seconds later, Veronica sat down beside Duke with three beers. The pair of criminals stared at Ein, sizing him up.

“You look so, square. Why do you want to be an outlaw?”

“I know I don’t fit in here. But I’ve never fit in anywhere. I always feel like I’m not only on the wrong page, but I’m reading comics while everyone else is reading Moby fucking Dick.

“You said you need a driver. As far as I’m concerned, this is specifically targeted wealth distribution. Here I am ready and willing, take it, or leave it.” 

“Redistribution of wealth. That’s a good one. We’ll have to remember that for our trial.” Duke joked. 

“I think he’s in,” Veronica said. 

“I think so too.” 

The burgeoning gang cheered. 

Published by einquin

Writing personal exploration flash fiction as well as building the foundations for a comic book universe.

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