SECOND
PLACE
Gemini Magazine
2010
Flash Fiction
Contest
$100 PRIZE
Way it used to be, bro, anybody who got in my car, I’d
tell ’em straight up:
Synchronicity does not leave the tape
deck.  I drive a ’94 Accord, right, candy-apple-green
paint job still looking slicker than a bowling lane, and I
never put a CD player in that mug—why would I?  I’m a
old-school brother, a throwback representer.  So picture
me and this lil broad cruising through uptown, getting
blazed, you know, just vibing out.  That psychotic-
sounding track “Mother” was playing, and your boy Andy
Summers is straight howling about how every girl he gets
with starts acting like his mama.  This broad looks over
at me with some serious concern on her face and says,
Why don’t you put something else on?  I looked at her
real hard and said, Bitch, I done told you the rules of my
ride:
Synchronicity does not leave the tape deck.  I mean
I don’t actually call these hoes bitches, but you feel me.  
What’s funny is I don’t even own no other albums by The
Police, and I for damn sure don’t listen to Sting’s solo
shit, “Fields of Gold” or whatever.  I don’t know what it
was about that record, man, but
Synchronicity just never
quit feeling great.  No other cassette had graced my tape
deck for over a year; I made this lil broad understand
that wasn’t
even about to change.

Naturally I found myself riding solo after that, but it’s
cool.  I don’t need nobody with me to just ride, just chill.

One day I swerve off Tchoupitoulas onto Jefferson,
windows down on the Accord ’cause the AC don’t work,
and I’m sweating like a beast, riding slow, gripping a
blunt, steering with my knees and shit, had my hand out
the window letting it like undulate in the wind.  I was
listening to my jam “Murder By Numbers,” marinating on
how brilliant it is in a fucked up way, like you’re listening
to a psycho explain his process as if it was fourth-grade
math.  When it faded out, I was already getting bucked
up knowing the tape deck would do that cool thing where
it automatically flips over to side one.  Sure enough, here
comes “Synchronicity I.”  Stewart Copeland just tears
that drum set
up, boy.  I don’t even know what Andy
Summers does on that track—sounds like a bunch of
keyboards—but it’s probably some synth-effect only that
dude could get out a guitar, and Sting’s voice just keeps
rising ’til he gets to that part where he’s just singing over
and over, “Syn-chro-ni-ci-ty, syn-chro-ni-ci-ty.”

That’s when it started.  On Jefferson, at the exact
moment I pass under it, a branch hanging from a willow
tree in the median rips loose and hits my driver’s-side
mirror, took the thing off like
snap.  Stupid coincidental,
right?  I mean, what’s the chances?  The car felt like it
was driving itself, like I was coasting on top of a cloud.  
Mind you, I’m lifted as fuck at this point.  I had smoked
the blunt most of the way down and I’m frozen in this
stupor, thinking about the whole irony of “Synchronicity I”
off
Synchronicity the album playing while real, actual
synchronicity is happening to me, and I’m so focused on
that trippy philosophical shit that I didn’t even realize I
wasn’t watching the road no more—didn’t even know I
was still
driving, dog—and that’s when I heard this
hideous crunch and the car heaved up like I hit a speed
bump going full-throttle.  You know that sick feeling when
your stomach flies up in your gullet, and you know that
crunch you just heard wasn’t no speed bump, no way.

It was one of them floppy-eared Beagle-type dogs.  His
stomach was busted open and his guts spilling out all
pink and red like Valentine’s candy.  I swear to god I
could see his back legs twitching, and he was trying to
yelp but I couldn’t hear nothing, only the tribal percussion
and like prehistoric whistling noises from “Walking in Your
Footsteps.”  I never turnt down the volume.  The dog was
trying to move, and there was a car stopped in front of it
now, and some dude waving at me like a air-traffic
controller.  Then this kid rushed into the street and
squatted by the dog’s twitching legs.  My heart cut a
backflip, seeing that little kid, and I damn near side-
swiped a hooptie when I busted a right on Claiborne.

You even know what synchronicity
means, bro?  I can
tell you.  I had the definition tacked to the wall at my crib,
and I looked at it so much I memorized it: "The state of
being synchronous or simultaneous; coincidence of
events that seem to be meaningfully related." The tree
branch.  The driver’s-side mirror.  The crunch.  Everything
came together with
Synchronicity blasting out my
speakers.  And I was still high—all that tragical
coincidence didn’t even kill my buzz, and my mind kept
tumbling down crazier side-streets, torturing me with all
these words and meanings.  I kept saying to myself,
“Syn-chro-ni-ci-ty, syn-chro-ni-ci-ty,” and I realized it was
like three words all mashed together,
sin, chronic, city
a-fucking-nother instance of synchronicity right there!  I
was sinning, smoking chronic, in the city.  I flipped a wig.  
I had to take
Synchronicity out the deck and not just
retire it but like eviscerate that bitch—stomped it out right
there in the street.  Shit hurts me, bro.  I swear to God,
since that day, I can’t stand to listen to it.  And I miss it,
too.  Don’t get me wrong, I still got mad respect for The
Police for making such a classic,
mad respect, but if I
even go up in the grocery store and hear “Wrapped
Around Your Finger” or “Every Breath You Take,” I just
start bawling.

So what I’m asking is this: You know any other records
that’s
that classic?  I mean, like, records I could ride to?
THE
SYNCHRONOUS
CITY
by Micah Herzog Stack
Micah Herzog Stack is a native of
South Louisiana who now lives with his
wife amidst the wintry fields of Iowa. He
finds that the ice and snow leave him no
choice but to write more fiction, which is
working out nicely. His poetry has
appeared in such journals as Word Riot,
The Innisfree Poetry Journal, Radiant
Turnstile, Paradigm, and Product. This is
his first prose publication.
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