Saturday, October 2, 2010

In The Headlights

The road South from Quitman, the Greenville Highway is a road less traveled. Late at night you can expect to meet more deer than other vehicles and most people around this part of the world have dents and banged up parts in the front of their trucks from speeding at night when deer are on the move. I’m not quite certain why deer like to get near roads, but then again, before you start making some sort of assumption, remember that over half the wrecks that humans get into involve people who are impaired, and knowingly arrive in this condition on the inside of a car.

As if this thought would not have been otherwise, a car passed me last night after midnight, as I made my way home. Sure enough, that same vehicle sat on the side of the road, one headlight missing, the front of the car issuing forth a slight mist of cloudy antifreeze, and the driver of the car standing in front of the car, screaming. If you listen to Holly McNarland, you know that a screaming woman can be a delightful thing in public. But this wasn’t a singer, or sexual passion, this was rage, rage, and more of it.

Step away from the crazy person.

She looked young, but anything in her that might have been beautiful had been devoured. She stomped her way towards me and I flipped my flashlight up into my right hand, arm over my head the way police do right before they club someone.
“STUPID &^%$#@ DEER! STUPID &^%$#@ DEER!” the woman screamed at me.
“You’re bleeding” I told her. Blood was coming out of her nose. I edged into the road, where there is better footing.
“NO I’M NOT &^%$#@!” The woman screamed at me. Her eyes, already wide with adrenaline, looked as if they were glowing. She looked at my truck as if an idea was forming. She took a step and I stepped in front of her.
“Have you called 911?” I asked, arm cocked and ready. I admit it; she was beginning to scare me. She paced back and forth towards her car, back to where I was, pulled her hair, and wiped the blood off her face, and then smeared it on her face as she tried to wipe it off again. Hit her, Mike, club the hell out of this woman if she gets close enough. This one isn’t just scared or frightened, or freaked out. Do not let this thing near you. Get out! Get away from her!
“Ma’am, you’re injured. You need to call someone to help you” I tried to sound calm. I looked at my cell phone and it was flashing “Battery low” at me. Great.
“ANSWER THE &^%$#@ PHONE YOU &^%$#@! YOU STUPID &^%$#@ I NEED A &^%$#@ RIDE!” The woman was calling someone and screaming at their voicemail.
“YOU CAN TAKE ME TO TALLASSEE!” the woman screamed. “I’LL PAY YOU!”
“I’ll call 911 for you.” I tell her, and she seemed to realize if she gets near me I’m going to pop her, and I am thinking now I don’t want to be here. I had a conversation about ghosts with a co-worker before I left. I’ve been writing about Demons. This one, this person in front of me doesn’t seem female. She doesn’t seem human at all. She’s bleeding and doesn’t seem to care. There is something about her that scares me. I’m a man and she’s a good fifty pounds lighter than I am. But there is something about her that frightens me. This isn’t right. This isn’t just too much to drink. I do not know this drug. I have not seen this before.
“Mike, get out.” The voice is as clear as the woman’s voice, and more reasonable. You do not belong this close to disaster, you have not earned it, and you cannot help someone like this.
“TOW MY CAR TO MONTICELLO!” she screams. “MY DADDY’LL KILL ME IF HE FINDS OUT I’M HERE” Meanwhile she is pacing, wiping her face, pulling her hair, and redialing on her phone, and screaming at the voice mail.
“Look around you” I tell her.
“WHAT?” WHAT?”
“You’re in the middle of nowhere and you are alone in the middle of the night with a dead car.” I say.
She looks at me as if she just noticed I was there and if I had just risen up from the ground. She looks over at the deer and then back at me. For the first time since I stopped, she isn’t screaming. But there is something inside this one, it is whipping her, driving her into action, however stupid or futile, something, anything, any action is better than reasoning, and she cannot defeat it. She cannot regain control of herself.
“YOU STUPID &^%$#@ WHAT THE &^%$#@ are YOU TALKING ABOUT?”

I walk back to my truck and she screams at me not to leave her. “A mile and a half South, you can see the security light. That’s the Brown’s house. If you go there they have three Black Labs. Those dogs will kill you if you go there.”

A few moments later I’m back home, my cell dead, and I’m wondering if I ought to call 911 from my landline. But at some point my obligation to other people ends. She’s an adult, and she can get herself out of this mess. I scramble eggs and read my email. I go to bed, and suddenly it occurs to me she might start walking, really, and if she makes it all the way to Brown’s place, those dogs will kill her, regardless of what she has inside of her.
Dammit.

I call 911 and tell the operator there is a woman in a car and a dead deer. She tells me they got a call on that one about an half hour ago.
“Who called it in?” I ask.
“The driver.” The operator tells me. “She sounded scared to death.”

Take Care,
Mike

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