DRIVER…part 2 of 3

The headless, lifeless lump, it lingered. It was not the first dead body I had seen, but it was the first I had caused. I was not proud of my art and I could not keep the scene alive in my mind’s eye for very long. Claustrophobia and sickness and more itching and foot stammering were approaching faster and faster as I kept my eyes locked on this now useless slab of creation that had put me here on this curb.

I was unable to turn my body around or switch back to my fake smiling work badge so I closed my eyes.

Gravity’s pressure was sinking in on my bones and my spirit and my forehead. Minutes passed between any sort of cogent thought or idea or impression came through my sphere of awareness.

“Oh my God, Jesus are you alright?” Soccer mom had sprinted to me gazelle and 8 Minute Abs like and tensed and she stationed over me to check my forehead. “What happened? Oh my God, Jesus are you alright? Did they jump at you? Did you see them? Who was that?” Her voice grew as she brought her hands on my shoulders and lifted my head up with her thumbs. Usually this would be a point of arousal, but I didn’t feel like forcing any conversation, and her’s was on the screechy, dumb whorish side.

Anyways I didn’t know who they were. She did though. “We need to call an ambulance! Do you have a phone? Are you alright? Jesus Christ! I need to call my husband!” I could sense more inquiries on her part and a diminishing willingness to speak on my part, clarity retreating all around me like a sun-struck, land-locked tropical depression, so I handed her my cell phone and put my head back into my lap.

I kept my eyes down and closed and was grateful and glad to have the buds out of my car and the burden of proof off of my shoulders. “Here. Take it.”

The droplets tapped calmly for a moment at the summit of my chakras, a violet thousand petal’d lotus, and traversed down my forehead past my mouth and into the fabric of my once light blue now dark navy button-down shirt. Everything was cascading around me. It was the realest mushroom trip I had ever been on. Weak nuclear forces became supra-amplified with the strong ones and they were all destroying my mental ability to anchor to some hopeful attenuation. At least the dreading over what microwave meal to throw in and when to watch that Ti-Vo’d basketball game and how many beers to get at Worldwide Liquors had also melted past my collar and down into the damp pits and crevices of my body to collect and convolute with the rain and other unknown fears, all to be wrung out in next week’s dry cleaning.

Despite the pleasantries… I’m boiling acerbic and dying inside my throat and I need a shower and a warm towel and a cold beer and a way out of this mess without having to give a statement to the police. I despised talking to five0  with a clear conscience, much less an already guilty and possibly convictable one.

 

Red and blue and psych ward “off white” stars began to flood the stretch of suburban highway and accumulate near the snow angel, lifting the night’s curtain to those with houses near the accident who had filtered outside to cramp their necks and squint their eyes and whisper coldly to one another. The rest of the neighbors prayed rosaries from the corner of kitchen windows holding onto prayer cards, lost Florida screw salesman in the dead of a rusted Nevada desert winter.

Eyelids were still shut but I could sense a great deal of kinetic motion and voices shot in and around me but for most of it my mind was glued into my elbows. The head of the person who had been struck had been reunited, but not re-attached, to his/her body and a coroner’s table cloth had been set down by the first paramedic on the scene to prevent any sort of Senatorial seat auctioning, mistresses’ name dropping, internet buzz sensationalism. I remained on my dirt patch, leaning on the bumper of my car, while a county sheriff took thought it good and well to take inventory of my possessions from my chassis’ interior.

He had approached me with a peculiar hesitation before I handed over my keys, I couldn’t remember what he said…such ultra-sensitive, petty, personal interactions were not of concern. As he came back I unlatched my hands from my face and I took an absolute, air plane glue catatonic glance at my pack of smokes, where all matter of the universe transmorphs like a crescendoing symphony, silent into a smoky ether.

“Listen son. I don’t want to put you through anything else right now. It must have been tough seeing what you just saw. But protocol is protocol, and I need to start producing some case notes so when the lead detective get’s on the scene, my ass doesn’t get chewed out.” I pulled out a square, for this square. “You gotta understand it’s just the way things are, and I would give you some more time to get yourself together, but we need statement pronto. Take your time and catch your breath, smoke one of those cigarettes, and you let me know in the next three minutes when you want to talk.”

He left me with some kind of half high five half thumbs up salute. I was ready to say something, but I imagined his fat little son and his haggard nagging wife and him at a nice family style Italian dinner, forking meatballs and bathing in Parmesan and swilling cups of marinara. A sole comfort for my soul while I lit, smoked, and flicked a fresh butt out into the world. The cigarette rolled along the edge of the road’s curb until it met the infinite gap between the steel beams of a sewage gutter.

I ran my hair through my head and forced another long look at my hands. The paramedics and the cops were all walk-e-talk-e over each other’s shoulders, firing glares towards my position, and the collective energy of the scene rang even more chaotic as soccer mom wept and screamed at her husband on the other end of the receiver, probably seated with some secretary’s mouth clenched around his member, hysterical and unsure what to do.

A string of  “Oh my God Martin, Jesus!”’s.

“Martin, what if the baby saw it! Anastasia could be scarred for life! No sweet princess should be afraid of getting their drivers’ license because of something like this! She’ll hater her sixteenth birthday!”

Somehow the cops were more interested in my movements.

The incessancy continued, amplified by the horns and sirens and honking and crying and the now silent birds who could only watch in terror. “I don’t think I want to go home alone so you have to leave your meeting…I don’t care! Martin this person who ran into the road, they just lost their head, like, like their head! In front of both of our eyes! What will Annie have to deal with now!…You aren’t as concerned as me, you’re just being an asshole. I had better see you at home!”

Irrelevancy. Ad infinitum.

There was one soothing harmony amidst the din…Anastasia cooed in the background, ten years away from her first rehab stint and twelve from her first abortion and sixteen from her second marriage to a methamphetamine chewing sideway dealing Greek restaurant owner, drinking coffee at the corner seat near the window of his joint so he could scout women walking down Lexington Avenue and hike their skirts down and sweat through their thighs in his luminous Mediterranean imagination.

My pupils were overcome by the shaking of my hands. Toxicologists. It’s all my third eye could conjure up. Chemical screens, urine samples, fMRI scans and gas spectrometry, saliva discharges and field sobriety tests and water boarding and back alley Billy club ass whompings IRA style that you only heard about from fringe internet websites. Questions, pauses, shallow stares and stunted posturing. Chest puffing, to be sure. Badge wavering and boasting and low lights and more shallow stares, everything through clouds of smoke and uncertainty with a constant scent of scorched life.

I was losing control of my thought processes and I couldn’t just give these bastards the reigns and let them take me how they wanted to so it was time to re-center into that IRA fuck you spirit.

I stood up. I rolled my feet over one another and felt myself grow dimmer with each step. I bet that soccer mom hadn’t noticed my contraband go flying into the woods, but I couldn’t trust Big Brother’s street cameras to be so dull. HIS helicopters and roadside blocks and twenty three hour lockdown mental schizoids. I had to walk a few paces and light another cigarette and figure out what I was going to tell these mercenaries of Jesus and Jehova and Yahweh and the Lord. The archangels of the Right vs. Wrong in heaven of white light above the hell of black death.

Insanity.

There wasn’t much to say. “Yeah officer, well apparently an apparition just got up and right then and there decided to jump onto my windshield. Just up and jumped onto it without any warning all. I tried to tell him not to, but he just went on and jumped anyway.” I take a few steps towards the officer and he squints and points to the ambulance along the side of the road and tells me I need medical clearance first and foremost.

Joe Cop had fumbled. He should have put the press on me early. Now I had time to fabricate an alibi in the ambulance and extinguish any thoughts of guilt or doubt or God forbid, murder. I also noticed something important in his half smile…

When death is near, either in physical proximity or by a conversation or a billboard or any consequence, human beings are at their most altruistic, their most sympathetic; pity and pain turns people on when it isn’t their own. They adore the brutal collapse of a close friend like their favorite daytime soap opera stars, but the tragic downfall of a total stranger was still probably tickling enough. Now was the time to put on a gameface of absolute terror and shock and forlornness and sucker these bastards into believing I was the victim…

I began limping towards the edge of the grass and the start of the sidewalk and I rickety rack my way up the aluminum steps of the ambulance. A different cop and one of the medical technicians came to my sides and helped me the last fifteen feet or so. Perfect.

A very female paramedic (legs curve, lips curl, all the juicy amber and sapphire Pavlovian zeitgeists) placed her arm around me at the doorway and I was escorted into the vehicle without much of a fight. Two Hispanic gentlemen sat on either corner nearest the driver’s console and were adjusting instruments and paid me no attention during my stay in their mobile life saving unit.

“All you alright sir? Can you tell me your name?”

“Raleigh Spillane. I’m alright. What’s your name?”

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