There’s a guy in the car next to us
surfing the stations
and I decide to surf mine.
I press the four buttons and skip
the missing one
and then hit SCAN.
I look up
at a green light and take my foot
off of the brake
moving it quickly to the gas.
I need to move quickly today because
I am behind on everything.
January’s rent payment.
Stores that carry ‘92 Nissan pickup belts.
So I have to move fast because life is a race
and it’s so easy to finish the race
with nothing accomplished
and your children following in your footsteps.
I’m turning left to go to Wal-Mart
before heading to Governor’s where they carry the A\C belt
because I have to get .
Not mine, but I can feel it.
I turn to my wife who is ‘Oh my Godding’ and
tell her to “come sit where I am and get our car out of the road.”
Some one is dead.
Of that I am sure.
A tan SUV never hit the brakes
and so it flipped and landed
uncatlike on its side while the guy in the TBone
is angled down into the culvert
and is sliding, with much less blood than one would imagine,
out of his crumpled door like a lazy fried egg,
thrashing in pain as if covered in ants and blind
and holding his chest and looking nowhere.
I look over at the SUV and a colorful fat lady is climbing down through the windshield.
People come from all sides to the huddle,
a few calling plays –
turn his car off
don’t move, don’t let him move
Memorial and _________, and yes it’s bad! We need an ambulance now!
My wife leans over and stops him from moving,
talks to him
tells him what happens
each time he asks,
gives him a focal point.
He stops moving around
and I see blood in his eye
as I look for embedded glass
and lean in his car to find the radio is still playing.
I turn the car off and
lean into the door, scrunching it back against metal
so it won’t open on the guy.
His wallet is under him and
I pick it up and hold it with his keys and
give them to a busy paramedic.
I look over at the fat lady and chubbyyounggirl who are standing in the median.
They are dressed from one of those stores that rich men’s wives open in strip centers because they are bored.
The kind that sell gaudy blandishments for ridiculous prices.
The girl jumps straight up and down and whines for her daddy.
Neither plump is visibly hurt.
Neither plump has walked over to check on the man in limbo.
I wonder if she was on the phone and have a sudden urge to grab her
by her fatblondehead and drag her across glass and metal
punching her in the face along the way
over to the man whose life/song she interrupted
and make her –
“Can you drive a stick shift?”
A strange question in the now.
A lady left her truck in the turning lane.
A five speed.
I make my way across four lanes
and move it,
handing over a stranger’s keys for the second time this day.
I want to remember what song was playing on his radio.
And on mine.
So I can cross reference them and pour my metaphysics
into them when I think of
paths and milliseconds and God.
i love the way the first section of cruising turns into an edge-of-your-seat “page turner,” if you will. i love the lines: I need to move quickly today because / I am behind on everything. i hope this was not based on experience! but it’s all too real.
It really happened. My truck didn’t get me to work, I had to drive all over creation to get parts, and am really behind on getting my first novella out. So I was sprinting everywhere like a crazy mad man to get things done, and boom!
The only reason I’m not dead or in the hospital is because the guy that got hit was playing with his radio stations. Maybe a half second of time. Needless to say, I’ve slowed it down a little.
Glad you liked it. (he was in rough shape, but I’m sure he lived)