Stars Over Holonyak County

The night will be dark, but the street will be diode luminescent. Thousands of tiny flashes will stream past the grill of Rashid’s auto as it accelerates over the LED pinpricks embedded in the roadway. The lights will meld into signals for lane cordons and traffic patterns, speed limits and emergency access routes, adverts for local businesses and county lines.

“Lola,” Rashid will say.

 The auto will respond with an innocuous tone to signify command reception.

“Lower tint on front side windows to ten percent VLT.”

In a pre-selected feminine monotone, the auto will respond, “Tint lowered to ten percent visual light transmission.” At Rashid’s request, the auto will only respond to the name Lola.

Rashid will wriggle to the edge of his seat to lean over the dashboard and look up through the windshield in an attempt to see the stars in the night sky, to see the constellations, to look back in time, to see if Gemini is looking back at him. Rashid will see the amber glow of the sidewalks reflected in radiant curves on the glass, the silver numbers and various blue diodes from the auto’s console control panel, and, far off, the faint wisps of grey clouds against the black sky. Rashid will not see stars. He will not see the constellations, and his head will pulse and throb and swell as he squints into the glare.

“Lola. Lower cabin lights to zero.”

 “Cabin lighting at zero luminosity.”

“And raise windshield tint to factory settings.”

“Windshield tint at fifty percent VLT.”

“No. Raise windshield tint to maximum VLT.”

“Windshield tint at fifty percent VLT.”

“Okay, Lola. Let’s try it this way. Raise windshield tint to one hundred percent VLT.”

“Cannot comply.”

Rashid will take a breath before he speaks the command again.

“Lola,” he will say with measured words. “Raise the windshield tint to one hundred percent visual light transmission.”

“Cannot comply.”

“Damnit,” he will say, crossing his arms over his stomach. “Seriously, Lola?”

The auto will respond with an innocuous tone to signify command reception.

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Christopher Notarnicola

Christopher Notarnicola studies creative writing at Florida Atlantic University.

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