ATLANTA, GA–Traffic on both lanes of Highway 400 just north of the perimeter has mysteriously clogged the past several nights in what local officials suspect is a ‘supernatural act of tollbooth vengeance.’
“I’m told it all starts with the faint rattle of loose change,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. The mayor declined to be named because he claims to not believe in the supernatural. “Cars start slowing down trying to figure out where it’s coming from. And that’s when motorists think they see shadowy toll arms out of the corners of my eyes. Wait, I meant ‘their eyes!’”
The traffic jams have all occurred around 3am – the traditional bewitching hour. Alpharetta resident James Snarkle was a witness during last night’s blockage. “Everything was fine on the road until I noticed how cold it was getting, just like in the movies,” said Snarkle. “And then I turned down my AC. Not long after that, though, I was overcome with a deep sense of impatience and a penetrating fear that I did not have fifty cents.”
Many other witnesses have come forward with similar stories, including Breanne Parkins of Atlanta. “I was driving 400 South late last night and saw a set of huge, glowing red eyes off in the distance. And then another set, and another,” Parkins said. “I didn’t think much of it until I neared and realized that they were actually stop lights above the tolls. They were all closed! It was so terrifying!”
“It’s just like that book I read as a child,” said Jonah Butternut of Dahlonega. “You know, the one with the murderous toll ghosts that wreak havoc on a Southern town! The Phantom Tollbooth, I think was the name.” Butternut later admitted to never having read the book.
City officials called an emergency meeting with the Georgia Department of Transportation early this morning to address the traffic jams and to take bids for civic exorcism. They have issued a warning for motorists on Highway 400 to be vigilant at night, maintain the speed limit, and to carry extra crosses and rosaries until the ghostly tolls can be properly reunited with their physical form at the Fulton County Landfill.