Secret of Mecca

Mecca leaves his house every morning at seven thirty to complete his sundry tasks. The secondaries change from day, but his primary is always I Must Not Let Them Know. This morning he is last in line at the fish market with five pounds of soft shell crab in his hand and his prime directive is still buzzing away inside his brain. He hears it like a click. Clicks are better than klaxons. He is trading watches with the churchyard keeper. He is getting a tune-up. Whale watching. Spontaneous tapping on the elevator wall. He is writing out pi to its 167th decimal on the door of a stall in the bathroom of a major mall department store. Lobby. He executes his missions deftly and always remains conscious that he, even he, could be exposed.

He is on his bike and coasting freely down a steep city hill when calamity occurs and all he has time to do before he hits a car door being opened in front of him is calculate his trajectory and point of impact and think, "Oh boy physics." And does he fly over the convertible door! He scrapes along the tarmacadam and hears his dread warning bell: hull integrity compromised, hydraulics leaking, danger danger danger danger danger danger danger danger.

But he sees no one notices. Humdrum and apathy. Fear of litigation. Bleeding clear fluid, wires snapping, he picks himself up, gets on his bike, readjusts his handlebars, checks for traffic, and leaves.

At night when he gets home, he dresses his wounds and then turns off. At peace at last.