C0140 had her path all set out for her in life. Every day she would walk from one end of H Street to the other, take a turn to the right, walk down 4 Street for three blocks, cross the street, and head back to where she started. The only break came once every two days, when she got to stop halfway down 4 Street and stand in line at the hot dog stand till it was her turn, when the cute hot dog man would hand her some food, and she would go on her way.
Few would call her life boring. Upsetting things happened in One Forty’s neighborhood fairly often. There was a man who had occasional chases or shootouts with the police. He frequently robbed or stole cars from people on the street. If One Forty ever noticed, she could do nothing but run, screaming. But once she had gone a safe distance away from the danger, she would turn back and resume her route.
One day, One Forty made it to the hot dog stand much later than she normally would, having spent much of the afternoon escaping repeated drive-by shootings. The cute vendor was closing his stand for the day, and as he walked down the street, their paths ran parallel. She did not dare speak with him, but they shared each other’s company down a block of 4 Street, and much to her delight, he turned and crossed the street alongside her.
Fixated on this spritely companion, One Forty did not see the stolen car screaming down 4 Street right toward them. The hot dog man failed to notice, too, apparently, as the car slammed into him, and he was catapulted over the top. One Forty ran, screaming, haunted by the image of the crumpled ragdoll that had once been a part of her routine.
The next morning her path took her past the hot dog stand, as it always did. She glanced at the vendor, who had retaken his traditional spot, joyfully handing out hot dogs to his customers. She would get one herself the following day. And life would go on like that.