Stuart Dybek_Lights


In summer, waiting for night, we’d pose against the afterglow on corners, watching traffic cruise through the neighborhood. Sometimes, a car would go by without its headlights on and we’d all yell, “Lights!”

“Lights!” we’d keep yelling until the beams flashed on. It was usually immediate—the driver honking back thanks, or flinching embarrassed behind the steering wheel, or gunning past, and we’d see his red taillights blink on.

But there were times—who knows why?—when drunk or high, stubborn, or simply lost in that glide to somewhere else, the driver just kept driving in the dark, and all down the block we’d hear yelling from doorways and storefronts, front steps, and other corners, voices winking on like fireflies: “Lights! Your lights! Hey, lights!”

Originally published in The Coast of Chicago

Photo by Carson Masterson on Unsplash

Stuart Dybek is the author of the flash fiction collection, Ecstatic Cahoots: Fifty Short Stories, as well as seven other books of fiction and poetry, including The Coast of Chicago. His work has received numerous awards. He is currently the Distinguished Writer in Residence at Northwestern University.

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