You really needed to start taking a different route back home.

When you had first moved here, the One Time Light hadn’t been installed yet. It was merely part of the web of rumors that had always surrounded the Council’s decisions. Of course, as the newcomer, you had had no idea of the conspiracies which circled the very streets you drove on. After a few awkward conversations at the weekly beer-drinking contest, your neighbor Gina took pity on you.

“You see,” Gina whispered over the rim of her mug. “No one here trusts the Council. We all know that they’re really out to get us. Dave thinks that they’re putting arsenic in our water, not fluoride.”

“Really?” You replied, eyeing the taps over in the corner. A sign proclaimed that the beer was brewed with a ‘secret ingredient!’. You decided to leave it alone.

“Yeah, he swears that when he filled a glass he could see the little particles inside. White particles.” Gina nodded sagely. “If you have to drink water, get it from the Wal-Mart. We gotta show the Council that we know what’s up.”

Shortly after the arsenic-water scandal the traffic lights came under attack. John, the flower shop owner, said that the Council wouldn’t dare mess with the town’s roads. However, Jamie, the guy who loitered so often outside the theater that it may as well have been his job, was convinced that there was a plan to force the town to produce as much hazardous emissions as it could.

“A traffic light, but it only turns green for a second, right?” Jamie gestured wildly. He had already crushed his cigarette in his hand, and trails of ash fell every time he moved. “So there’d be this huge line of cars all in idle, because, you know, America. It’s all the Council’s plan, right, so much carbon dioxide would bounce off the Earth’s greenhouse and ruin our air.”

“Oh,” you said. You couldn’t remember why you were talking to Jamie in the first place. Something about the tyranny of media?

“You can trust me on this, because, you know, I have my contacts.” Jamie winked.

And alas, the foretold traffic light had been built soon thereafter.

It was Thursday, a pretty okay day in your opinion, though it was unbearably hot outside. You had just finished a hard day’s work at Miller and Co.’s magnet factory, and your hands ached from throwing the magnetic darts you had been asked to review. As you turned on Madison Street, the realization that you were about to come head to light with the One Time Light struck you. You always meant to take an alternate route through Beach Lane, but ultimately forgot each time. As you approached the One Time Light, you registered the sheer amount of cars that were bumper to bumper in front of it. You approximated that it must have been at least a couple dozen cars.

The One Time Light was always red for five minutes, before briefly switching to green.

You weren’t going to make it back home in time for Antiques Roadshow today.

As your mind struggled to come to terms with your new reality, Jane, the grocery store manager, exited her car. It was a customized neon pink Peugeot, only a few cars in front of your own. You watched as she climbed to the roof, and stood surveying all that appeared before her.


The occupants of the cars around her applauded. A few people threw open their car doors and went to congratulate her on her beautiful speech. You, however, were distracted by the thudding noises that gradually became louder. Suddenly, a band of helicopters circled Jane’s car, on which she stood in defiance. The people who had danced around her car fell to the ground. You started to feel quite strange yourself, as your eyelids slowly started to close.

The last thing you remembered was-


You didn’t remember.

That didn’t matter, though.
You loved the Council.