Warning Signs

By: Tyler Smith

Regardless of the fact that the speed limit in town has always been 20mph, there was a time when, despite the almost quotidian triage situation at 7th and Flagship Ave., people still burned rubber around town like it was Tokyo Drift. However, since the Transportation Department has implemented the use of pixilated skeletons on the city’s crosswalks and posted speed limit signs, things have been different.

Now I’ve always been paralyzed by the notion of “bones,” and so I’m pleased to announce that our streetside skeleton has had the desired effect: abject fear and a near-Wehrmacht conformity to traffic rules and regulations Therefore, on behalf of the Department of Transportation, I’ve been asked to outline just a few of the additional warning signs we’ll be installing in the next few months, “reminders” of just how important safety is and how fleeting this life can be.


People often treat the yield sign as if it were a mere suggestion of deference to faster traffic. Perhaps they won’t be so cavalier about flitting into traffic when, instead of the old equilateral, motorists encounter our new sign featuring an image of Dracula and his bloodstained fangs! That’s right, if you’re thinking about just blazing into a lane that’s been spoken for, maybe you’ll think first about the physical (painful bites) and ontological (an eternity dressed in a cape) terror of this roadside abomination and yield the right-of-way like a responsible human being, not some undead clod.


This sign is not advertising a porno movie, nor is it the name of that new emo band from Brooklyn. No, “Don’t Block the Box” is a simple admonition to stay out of the intersection if there isn’t room for you on the other side. How hard can it be to obey this municipal mandate? Extraordinarily hard, according to DPS numbers. That’s why, in lieu of the old black and white square signage, we’ve placed The Invisible Man. Look how sad the Invisible Man gets when you edge out there like a dick. You can’t see him, but I assure you he’s devastated. Also, it’s better to give up wondering if the Invisible Man is nude or if he has invented invisible clothes. Just watch the road! You could run him over and then who’s in trouble? If you must know, we’re not sure if the Invisible Man is nude or not. In fact, we may have lost track of him. Indeed, if you “see” the Invisible Man, please do not approach him. Call the local police, any dogcatchers you know and/or other relevant civil brigades.


These unremarkable red octagons peppered throughout the city will remain the same, with one alteration — from now on, stop signs will be propped up by cursed Egyptian mummies. “Hey, no sweat!” you may say, “I can drive faster than a stupid mummy.” Fair enough, but they’re sure to find you eventually: these mummies have walkie-talkies and never, ever give up — even though the world has given up on them.


What’s that terrifying din coming out of those loudspeakers on the corners? That is the Bride of Frankenstein. No, not the one with the electrodes, but Judith, a far more terrifying crone and wife of Hyman Frankenstein (proprietor of Frankenstein’s Deli on Main St.), a soulless woman with arms like legs, legs like cabers and a bad strain of pancake hands. And what you’re hearing is Ms. Frankenstein’s hideous meat rattle as she forces down an overambitious bite of kishke, reminding us to use caution and consider the choices we make in our lives. Think about that the next time you consider making a hard left onto 3rd Ave. coming from the east, hauling ass away from Egyptian mummies wielding stop signs.


While steering your vehicle into a dead end is pathetic, it’s not as potentially harmful as, say, a head-on-collision. But it is a kind of soul-death, isn’t it? That’s why, instead of the forbidding, bright orange diamond that seems to — counterintuitively — send drivers barreling into historic brownstones, we’ve come up with a far more effective deterrent: two skeletons. Not only do these fiends serve as poignant icons of how little time we have on Earth, they remind us that the only thing worse than dying alone is dying with someone you never really loved — and may just get traffic moving again. There is always, of course, the bus.

A brief postscript on the bus: please remember to stay clear of the automatic doors and watch your back…If the warnings don’t stop you, the werewolves will.



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  1. Pingback: tyler stoddard smith – New story up at The Big Jewel!

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