The remnants of a musky old-man sweat permeated the interior of his hatchback. Mixed with scents from past drive thru meals, the small bottle of car freshener could barely compensate for the amalgamation of the present odor. Maybe because the bottle was bow-tied taut dangling on a grocery-bag hook in the trunk but it was fine with him. June, or Jun-jun to his closest of friends, was used to the essence of his scent; the putridness which was the current state of his life. He sat silent behind the wheel staring blankly when he noticed something from across the parking lot. Squinting as he tried to focus with his aging sight, he could make out a small plastic bag. When it became clear what was taking up a tiny space in the opposite parking slot, he welled with emotions. It was of anger and a growing distaste for his fellow men. No, the inconsiderate prick who left their trash was far beneath mother earth’s tenants, he thought. When he could no longer contain what was building up inside him, he got out of his car and, out of habit, locked the door behind. He made his way across the floor toward the lonely clump of trash wrapped in a plastic bag that was tied with an overhand knot. He stood in front of the bag on the ground and stared at it for a moment. Contemplating, he went down to a squat like most Filipinos are accustomed to when they’re out and about relaxing. He reached out with his right hand and touched the plastic then his head jolted up; his eyes fully dilated staring blankly. The silence of the parking floor was accompanied by his shallow breathing and the midnight ocean breeze passing through the balconies of the parking building.
Back at their office building which doubled as a parking space, Jake grabbed a quick takeout from one of the ground floor restaurants. He ate everything inside his dilapidated diesel SUV while in the parking floor waiting for his engine to warm up. To avoid stenching whatever good was left of his interior, he decided to ditch what was left from his meal in his parking spot.
It was late at night. Three hours past the time he hurriedly drove out of their building, Jake was still stuck in heavy traffic bound for home. Cutting his way carelessly through traffic to make time, he was still no where near his exit. Listening to Monster Radio for a bearable drive, he felt a tingling sensation run throughout his arm emanating from his chest down to his left hand. He was having a heart attack. His foot slipped off the break and his vehicle, left on Drive, crept forward and bumped right into the sedan’s rear that was in front of him. There was no stopping. He was struggling. Cringing and clutching his chest, he stepped on the gas pushing the car in front further ramming other vehicles. His SUV made it out of the traffic build-up and onto the expressway’s shoulders building speed then crashing into a tree. He was approached and found dead. His head bashed into his steering wheel. Airbags failing to deploy.
June returned to his senses. Picked up the trash and smiled weakly as he stood back up. He then frowned at the thought that another life had to be taken. He had no choice in the matter. It was mother nature’s calling, he thought. Dropping the trash to a nearby waste bin, he went back to his car.