Furious Fiction: The Day Jay Stopped Jaywalking

Since March 2023, I despair every first Friday of the month, when I receive the challenge criteria of the Furious Fiction contest.

This was the assigment for April 2023:

  1. Your story must include something CHANGING COLOUR.
    I thought of traffic lights.
  2. Your story must include the words ACCEPT, POINT, RIDDLE, INKLING and LABEL.
    You can use longer words – e.g. POINTED or RIDDLES – as long as they retain the original spelling within them.
  3. APRIL FOCUS: Your story must have an ENGAGING OPENING SENTENCE.
    I'm not sure if I've hit that mark.

Just like a month before, I woke up with an idea on Saturday morning. I didn't win any mention with "The Final Ordeal" last month, but this month I made the long-list! Out of several hundreds of flash-fiction stories, the jury selected "The Day Jay Stopped Jaywalking" as above the 90th percentile of all submissions for April.

The Day Jay Stopped Jaywalking

“Traffic lights can't be trusted,” argued the elderly man. “They change colours in the blink of an eye!”

“I'm afraid that's not an acceptable excuse to jaywalk, sir,” replied the police officer sternly. The pensioner had an inkling he wouldn't be able to talk himself out of a fine this time, despite the fact that he had done so many times before. He was a New Yorker; he had been jaywalking all his life.

The arm of the law was unyielding. “Your documents, sir?”

“What about them?” the golden ager replied brazenly.

“Can you show me some proof of identity, please?” the police officer repeated.

Faced with such unsettling kindness, the senior citizen chose to show a more humble version of himself: “I'm sorry, officer, but I don't have any on me. Oh wait, there's a label with my name on in my jacket. That can tell you who I am.”

“But you're not wearing a jacket.”

“Ah shoot, you’re right. It wasn't supposed to rain, was it?”

“I don't know,” the law enforcer replied in his most phlegmatic tone. “I'm a police officer, not a weatherman.”

“Look, officer, I'm riddled with guilt,” said the pensioner, crossing his fingers behind his back. “Can't you cut me some slack? I promise I will never jaywalk again.”

At this point, the police radio crackled. After acknowledging the 10-53 one block away, the officer turned back to the senior citizen: “It looks like we have a bigger problem than jaywalking. I'll let you off the hook this time but be warned: next time I'll write you a ticket for sure.”

Thank goodness, the old-timer thought, it works every time. He walked away as fast as his feet could carry him. Although he didn't intend to, he would keep his promise. It was green when he crossed the road, but he got hit by a car anyway.

“Traffic lights can't be trusted,” the taxi driver told the police officer moments later. “They change colours in the blink of an eye.”



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