‘Just calm down,’ Tim says from the passenger seat. ‘If we left a bit earlier we wouldn’t have to worry about a delay.’
‘If we left any earlier I wouldn’t of had my second coffee and then you’d be in worse shape.’ My face scrunches in the frustration. My skin prickles with heat. The cars in front barely move leaving us in this shaking car, the air conditioner blasting to stop the windscreen from fogging up. ‘What a fucking joke? Why the hell do I pay taxes if all it does is get these terrible roads that make me late for work?’
‘I don’t think it works like that,’ Tim adds. ‘I’m sure there’s just a minor accident or something up ahead.’ I turn to glare down at Tim. My cheeks burn knowing that in two minutes time I will be on my second warning for rocking up late to work.
‘I don’t care how major the accident is, there’s no bloody excuse for traffic slowing down this much. There are three goddamn lanes.’ My left leg shakes, tapping my feet heavily on a car floor. Tim rolls his eyes, ignore the obvious thuds that sound out over the newest radio ad that screeches anxiously at us, demanding attention through its repetitive hammer of catch phrases.
‘It’s going to be fine. I’m sure the boss will understand if you’re late this time. It’s not like you slept through your alarm. Besides, I’m sure you won’t be the only one late if this is what traffic is like all the way into the city.’
The clock ticks over the hour. There it is, I’m officially late. I can hear the screeching of my boss already, berating me for fail the simple task of arriving at work on time. What I do is never good enough for him. My heart rate fires rapidly, my arms shiver the rage through all my muscles.
‘Bloody fucking no good government!’ I spit. ‘They’ve gone and done it now. Useless bunch of pricks. What are we even paying them for? To sit on their arses and do nothing about this shit house roads.’ Tim shakes his head, refusing to interject on my rant. ‘Why can’t they do anything right? I can’t wait for the next election to kick this mob out. They don’t deserve any more tax payer money. No fuck it. I’m going to stop paying my taxes. If they’re not working for me then why the hell should I pay them? We’re their job!’
A flashing orange light can be seen over the roof of the cars in front of me. The arrows are directing the three lanes into just the one far left lane.
‘See, fucking road works,’ I can feel boiling behind my eyes. ‘Fucking roadworks. In peak hour. Whose brilliant idea was this? No doubt that bastard of a Labor road minister. That prick can never seem to get anything right. Doesn’t he know that we all have jobs to get to?’
Tim shakes his head and glances down at his phone.
‘What are you doing?’ I ask. ‘Telling the boss that we’re late?’
‘Yes, exactly that. I’m explaining there’s road works and said that I will start on my emails from the car.’
‘That’s well and good for you but what about the driver?’
‘We could always take a bus? There are plenty to the city at this time of day.’
‘Are you fucking kidding me? What sort of slob do you think I am that I would take the bus?’ Tim doesn’t respond. ‘Here we go, one of the pricks responsible.’ I spot a man in a hi-vis vest directing traffic. I roll down the window. Tim’s face flushes of colour once he spots the man. ‘What the fuck do you call this? Do your job right! My taxes pay your income!’ I bellow out the window. The man ignores me. Tim shrinks further into his seat.
‘Finally,’ I say as he join the single lane and move steadily up the road. The bitumen bends down a slight hill bringing the rest of the road into view. I gape at the mess stretching down the road. Car bits and black marks stain a few hundred metre stretch. Multiple cars are tangled together, blending their colours and insides. We pass by the first two cars, revealing a greater mess on the other side. A blue tarpaulin hangs loosely over the top of the cars in the middle.
‘At least you’re still going to make it to work,’ Tim hisses drily. Guilt consumes my chest, freezing my breaths. For the first time that morning my words fail me.