Waiting for Babye Leto
Text Fred Flintstone
It’s early September, morning, and Wilma has the stove burners running full blast to help warm up the kitchen — and the rest of the apartment. Bedrock normally doesn’t turn on the city’s central hot water heating system until the middle of October, and it seems we either had a very short babye leto (literally, grandma’s summer, but meaning Indian summer), all of three days, or it hasn’t arrived yet. With temperatures under 10 degrees Celsius at night, and a wet and damp fall, the Flintstones bundle up around the house this time of year.
In contrast, things are heating up outside on the roads. Following the relatively light traffic of July and August when the population leaves town, September is one of the worst traffic months on the stressful Bedrock streets. Tempers are short and drivers more hurried and reckless than usual.
Fred was on his way to see an old friend who was in Bedrock for a visit, when he came to a partially controlled intersection where vehicles and trams have to crisscross each other, causing a serious probka (traffic jam) every day. An oncoming Land Rover SUV decided to turn left in front of Fred and block his way. Fred didn’t let him in, and they ended up stuck, driverdoor to driver-door. The SUV driver edged forward and kissed Fred’s rear quarter panel, one of many of the unique ways Bedrock drivers show their appreciation. Fred opened the door and squeezed out the narrow space between the cars to inspect.
No damage apparent, Fred still took a few iPhone photos of the SUV and surroundings just in case and got back in. Then the SUV driver got out and banged his door into Fred’s. He circled around. Fred started to get out to again inspect the damage. This was a mistake. The SUV driver dashed around and Fred, seeing the guy was large and not in a good mood, got back in and locked the doors.
At this point he started to beat the side of Fred’s beauty, kicking the door several times and smashing his fist into the driver side window. He grabbed door handles and pulled them hard, first trying to open but then clearly trying to damage them. With surrounding drivers honking and Fred more concerned about the manic SUV driver, Fred edged out, taking some more photos out the window. From his rearview, Fred could see the SUV depart as well.
Despite the damage, Wilma and Fred decided against calling the militia or traffi c police. In Bedrock, this could buy more trouble than it’s worth and certainly would waste a lot of time. And the big problem in Bedrock is that you never know what kind of person you’re dealing with and what connections he has.
Well, Fred and Wilma soon found out. About ten days later, an ominous letter from the traffi c police arrived requesting an appearance. The Flintstones showed up at the designated time and were greeted by a statement from a traffi c police officer that the SUV driver had made several claims, and that for leaving the scene of an accident, he was filing a “protocol” that could result in a suspension of Fred’s driver’s license for 18 months. Fortunately, Fred had his photos that demonstrated the situation and disproved the claims. Looking disappointed, the police officer said he was sending the issue for “further investigation.”
Babye leto finally came, and Bedrock turned the heat on two weeks early. Still, it’s no match for the heat on the city streets.