Processing. 2466. There is a sign that I see every morning. The sign is large and stands erect as it relays messages to me several times on my commute. It displays its messages best when it is dark outside. At first it was very helpful for me and in some ways cheerfully greeting me along as I drove passed it. Other cars pass by and the sign would wave a happy “good morning” or a loving “goodnight” everyday. The sign recently turned on me after it had claimed one of my friends about four weeks ago. It took the sign a full week after my friend became one of its many victims for it to reveal it’s true self. Deceiving me for seven days while I  cried in silence during my commutes. Stupidly, I would still wave hello and goodbye not knowing the wickedness and corrupt intentions it kept from me. I’m sure it laughed silently as I drove by. More than twice a day for seven days - waving and cheering while inside I bet it actually wished me harm. It probably waits patiently day by day; eagerly wishing I would leave towards my destination at least a few seconds early to ridicule me. Now knowing what this sign has hid from me, I think back during that first week it kept it’s silence and I noticed it was standing a little taller. It was displaying its messages even more cheerfully, almost tauntingly. The sign mimics the expertise of an octopus that lies below the ocean’s surface hiding from it’s prey, occasionally popping it’s tentacles up to show its presence to those of us who ride the concrete waves. It became harder not to notice those times I passed it. Though scourged by rain and wind it showed a proud face and a lasting glow and foolishly I questioned none of its newfound confidence and behavior.

Now that I know and have seen it’s true intentions I feel it’s power even when it went back into hiding behind those messages that seemed to come from care and concern, those messages that I believed to be so sincere in the beginning. I now know to look beyond that and see that it doesn’t come from concern or care that it instead comes as a warning. It conceals itself with other structures and signs that don’t carry the same intentions. These days I curse and spit whenever it smiles or even glances my way.

Since revealing its true self seven days after my friend was claimed, it tries its best to go back into hiding. I know it is only a matter of time until it returns to boasting about how many more it has claimed.

It’s just a matter of time before it is standing a little taller, a little brighter, and a little prouder. It mocks me now because it knows I know of its intentions, because I know what it is capable of. I hear it snicker behind its messages while giving other cars advice. Its brightness is just as loud as the sound of my tires rolling over the concrete waves. The lives it claims increases its importance, making it more relevant until it can stand in victory in a few more months - once again undefeated and waiting in anticipation for the following year so it can claim many more. Now my commutes are in silence. I no longer wave hello or goodbye 
since it’s betrayal and I do not care to give it anymore of my attention.

Austin, TX. 2018