FLIPPED by Zac Smith

Brad flipped his car after hitting a fire hydrant, right downtown, right on Fifth Street, right near our old apartment, the prefurnished one with the broken window and the red wall and the kitchen that had bookshelves instead of cabinets, he was driving, something happened, who knows, he hit the hydrant and the car went upward, upward, from the height of the hydrant and the height of the curb, and the car veered upward and over the hydrant, and the hydrant’s base cracked under the weight and pressure of the car and the angle of it, and the cracked base gave way so that the water could come out, and it came out, one huge spray into the underbelly of the car and out into the street below while car ascended into the air itself, at an angle, fast and strange, twisting, up and around, the body of the hydrant lifted, dislodged, entirely broken free, the water coming out as a geyser, up and out, the body of the hydrant rolling away, or more tumbling away, bouncing under the force of the impact, the force of the water, the car’s wheels spun and the engine roared freely, the tired no longer struggling against the friction of the road but against nothing, free air, spinning madly, the engine just bellowing as the car veered upward, the clanging of the hydrant as loud as the screaming of the engine and the roar of the water, all three a unified cacophony on Fifth Street near our old apartment, right in front of the convenience store where people would gather to smoke and scratch off lottery tickets and ask for change and sell weed and catch up with the other people who lived on the block or around the corner, and who we would sometimes buy forties with and scratch off lottery tickets and talk about what the other people on the block were doing, who they were with, where they had been and what they planned on doing, who was leaving town, alone, or leaving with someone else, people we knew or didn’t know or had only heard about, or people who we saw buying beer but who never hung out, and right next to the laundromat where someone died once in the bathroom, then they closed off the whole place with police tape, and everyone was crowded around trying to see who it was, if it was anyone we thought it would be, anyone we expected to die in a bathroom, or who always hung out in the laundromat for whatever reason, but it was just some nobody that no one knew, it was right in front of that laundromat where he flipped the car, his foot still on the gas, the car in the air, the tires spinning, engine screaming, water spraying, hydrant rolling off, and when the car landed it was the loudest of everything, a real crashing down, the whole car coming down from the air with its full weight, just a huge crash, the windows crunching into a million tiny bits and the hood crumpling in and the engine letting up, finally, a big groan into nothing, but the water still spraying up and wide, less murky now that it was finished clearing out the old silty pipes in the neighborhood and pushing in fresh clean water, spraying all over the upside down car, all over the street, the curb, like the car, car half on the curb, half in the street, Brad pinned between the wheel and the seat and the roof of the car but able eventually to wrench himself out through the busted-out window, on his back, coming out like a baby covered in glass and blood and just staring at the water coming up and spraying out everywhere while the radio kept playing, louder than almost everything else except for the water spraying out and splashing down, louder than Brad muttering “shit, goddamn,” over and over again, louder than him just muttering the same thing over and over again, wondering when the cops would come, whether anyone would call them, whether he would have to call them, wondering what would happen if they came, what would happen if they never came, all kinds of shit, over and over again, the same shit just over and over again in his head.

Zac Smith is Zac Smith.

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