I went to buy dogfood for the first time since the second week in December of last year. I bought enough so I wouldn’t have to face the crowds and the madness of Christmas, and finally, it’s thinned out enough I don’t feel like I’m walking around in an insane asylum being operated by the patients, who come and go as they please. All in all, with any sort of luck at the checkouts, “Unexpected item in bagging area, would you like to use your own bag, please wait for assistance” nevermind. I can get out in less than ten minutes, or twenty, depending on traffic. I get a huge bag of mutt food, some soy milk, and I’m heading for home but two women, both older than me by about ten years, nearly push their buggy into mine. They’re buying a case of beer. They are Alabama fans, and suddenly, we’re besties because they just know I want to talk football with them “That Saban he’s a genius and The Tide is unstoppable this year” I tell them even though I haven’t watched the first college game this year. I can talk football about nearly any team playing the sport at any level and still sound like I know what I’m talking about even if I have no idea what team they’re in love with.
The parking lot while sparsely populated, has far too many people who seem to be aimless and unconscious. Christmas is over. It’s done. But they’re returned to the scene of the crime in order to try to reignite that feeling of purpose the commercials gave them for the last six months of advertising for Christmas. The employees seem shell shocked, traumatized, and demoralized. It’s over and they know it, but they’re putting out decorations for Valentine’s Day, and getting ready for the big Fourth of July sale.
I’m listening classical music and as I hit the last traffic light out of town and back towards home I realize that I may be able to get home in just two songs. It’s a good twenty-two minutes back but these are pieces of music that were put together to enrapture an audience’s hearts and minds for more than three minutes and a half. There’s a Cheshire Cat moon smiling at me and the road is empty, more or less. Violins sing to me as I put distance and time to good use.
There a vehicle ahead of me, and I find it odd that I’m gaining on it. I’m riding fifty-five and usually that means I’m the slowest person on the road. I move to pass the vehicle and it’s a panel van, one of the white ones, that people associate with serial killers. It’s more or less one of those things that’s morphed into an Urban Legend but at the same time, I cannot help but wonder about who is driving this thing and why. But the van speeds up as I try to pass it. I slow down and the van slows down. There’s a car coming up fast behind us so I drop my speed to see how the van drive reacts to faster traffic.
Oddly, the van driver speeds up as the faster car tries to pass him. We’re on a four-lane highway. There’s room for everyone here, but the van driver doesn’t want to be passed. I speed up because these two are going to get out of sight before long, if they keep this up. But the car takes a left and now the van driver slows down. He’s driving at about fifty-seven miles an hour, just fast enough to slowly pull away from me, but at odd intervals he hits his brakes. Unicorns, maybe? Floaters? Who knows? I do know that as long as I keep this guy in front of me I won’t have to worry about him.
I wonder what or who, this guy is got in the van. Odd isn’t it? I assume it’s a male driving, and I’ve been preconditioned to think of white vans as rolling crime scenes. As weird as my life might be, at least I don’t have the same nightmares as women. You never hear about guys being kidnapped and used as sex slaves. A woman has that fear, and it isn’t an unreal fear in some part of the world and this country, that a man might take her away from the life she knows to chain her up and use her until he decides to kill her. Young women from Asia get sold off to monsters in this country who use them as prostitutes, moving them in white vans, from one place to another, and their lives are consumed by the idea that they’re alive only to bring in money for sex. Men never have these sorts of nightmares. Men are these nightmares.
It’s not impossible, you know, for there to be women chained together in that van, being taken to their next destination, without any sort of hope of rescue, and they do not realize that half a mile away is someone who can sense, somehow, they are there, but thinks it’s just imagination, or hallucination, that these thoughts occur. Prostitutes, whether forced into it through brutality or the lack of any other opportunity, have historically been non-people as far as society and law enforcement goes. Serial killers have targeted these women simply because we as a society care less for them than we would a woman kidnapped out of her home or place or study. They will not see the dreams of having children of their own and a family to raise and care for actualized. They will be beaten if they become pregnant or maybe even killed. Abortion is a work requirement for these women. Their reproductive organs, if they become fertile, are a hindrance to the men who have enslaved these women.
The van pulls away and into the night. Some guy who operates a rolling repair shop, or someone who is moving a friend to another home likely realizes that their choice of vehicles causes these thoughts in other people, but maybe someone just needed a van, and it just happened to be white.
It does happen, I suppose.