I’m a pretty good girl. I hesitate to use the words ‘perfect angel’ (tee hee), but I am a very well behaved, (reasonably) productive member of society. There was a time, however, that this would not have been an entirely true statement. Yes – I admit it – I have spent time (in the past) playing the badass, and as such, I have broken a few laws. Also (as I’ve mentioned previously) I come from a long line of criminal-type ruffians and thugs. Because of something naturally programmed into my DNA and my past history of being a self-proclaimed rebel without a clue, the strobing of police lights has always caused me a little (irrational) anxiety.
These days, now that my sister is my only relative living within a 600 mile radius, and now that I’m such a well behaved little girl, I would think those flashing red and blues would have lost their fear-inspiring effect on me. Not so. To this day whenever we drive past a lit up squad car on the street, I still get that ol’ familiar twinge in my guts; that crazy impulse to ‘pretend’ I’m behaving even though I wasn’t doing anything wrong to begin with. On top of that, now I also get that ‘oh-no-what-if-?’ feeling when I see and/or hear flashing lights and/or sirens. What if it’s someone I know? What if it’s someone I love?
At exactly 5:13 this morning (which, by the way, is a freakily bizarre coincidence since just last night I was working on a short with that exact opening line) I woke up to the slightly panicky realization that my bedroom was flashing. A little disoriented, I crawled onto my knees and peered out the window above my headboard. The backyard and alley beyond were still and quiet – just as they should be – but the backside of the garage (not attached to the house) was lit up like a Christmas tree with the flash pulse-light controls cranked up on high.
My first irrational thought was; crawl back under the covers and pretend you’re sleeping. I don’t know why that was my first thought, it just was. Of course I quickly realized how ridiculous this was, and since I’ve gotten very good at ignoring some of my stranger impulses (especially pointless, antiquated ones), instead of hiding under the covers, I scrambled off the bed, stepped on the dog’s tail – oops! – and threw on the first clothes I yanked out of my closet. As I was heading towards the door (and trying not to step on the dog again in the dark) I heard voices.
I paused and listened for a moment; sometimes Zed wakes up early on the weekends to get his Call of Duty on, so at first I thought he might be chatting online. It took me a second or two to realize that a) his tone was way too calm and he wasn’t cursing in frustration as he typically does while playing C.O.D. and b) there were two voices on the other side of the bedroom door. Weird, I thought. Who the hell would be here at quarter after five in the morning? Another illogical twinge in my guts, and I told myself to stop being a moron.
I opened the door and stepped out into the hall. The flashing was much brighter as I peeked around the corner to see Zed standing at the open door chatting with someone I couldn’t quite see.
“What’s going on?” I asked, still just sort of peeking around the corner as I rubbed at my tired eyes with the back of my hand.
“Someone smashed into the Dodge,” he answered – his tone morose.
I edged around the corner a little more, and now I could see the officer standing just beyond the doorway. Peering slightly to the left of the open door – out through the big bay window in our dining area – I could see the source of the flashing lights; two cop cars parked at the curb. I could also see the headlights of a truck pointing through the window. It had come to a stop on the lawn just a few feet short of the enormous evergreen in our yard.
Fuck me sideways, what the hell?
My little one started crying at that exact moment so I wandered off to tend to her while Zed finished up his chat with the officer. Ever the curious little cat that I am, I was dying to know what had transpired while I was still partying it up in dreamland. As it turned out, I didn’t have to wait long; by the time I came back to the kitchen with the little one in my arms, the front door was closed and Zed was standing there looking a little pale.
This is the account I got from him…
He’d gotten up early – to play Skyrim rather than Call of Duty – and he’d just sat down with his first cup of coffee. He was in the process of sword-whipping the first creature of the morning when his concentration was rudely interrupted by a loud cacophony of your typical, collision-type sounds; a sharp boom-bang, the scraping of metal on metal, breaking glass – the usual. He jumped up and crossed to the window to realize that – lo and behold – the action was right out front.
Zed throws on his shoes and jacket and steps out into the cold just in time to see a teenage girl running down the street in one direction, and a teenage boy running in the other. On our front law was the aforementioned truck – a white Jimmy from just up the street – with three of its four doors standing open in salute. Meanwhile, our Dodge is at the curb about thirty feet removed from its usual location.
Zed rushes down the steps and crosses over to the truck. As he comes up to the driver’s side, he realizes for the first time that there’s someone in there; the back door (on the same side) is still closed – is in fact, somewhat caved in – and there’s an unconscious young kid seemingly attached to it. He hurries over and stops himself just shy of trying to jar the door open; he’s afraid of hurting the kid inside. The window is smashed out and the kid is covered in bits of glass. Zed starts talking to him, trying to rouse him, but he’s getting no response.
As he’s telling me this story after the fact, he pauses to say, “Fuck Rob, I thought the kid was dead.” His face is ashy and his eyes look a little glassy as he says it. He’s a tough guy – not easily or often unsettled – and so seeing how much the morning’s events have affected him brings a certain gravity to the situation for me.
Anyways, so this kid’s not responding. Zed’s on the phone with 911 and still trying to wake the teen while talking to the emergency operator. He’s right in the middle of the sentence, “… I think he’s dead…” when the kid’s eyes flutter open. He looks right at Zed – his eyes huge with confusion – and asks, “What the hell happened?” Zed – so relieved that the kid’s alive – gives a nervous chuckle as he relates to the 911 operator, “Holy fuck! He’s okay… he’s alive.”
After Zed gets off the phone, the kid tells him he doesn’t really know what happened; he remembers turning onto our street, but then nothing. He goes on to explain that he doesn’t really even know the people he was with; he’s just in town to party for the weekend and he met the others (there were 3 others by the way, even though Zed only saw two depart) at the bar just two streets over. He’s a little upset that everyone abandoned him, but he just kind of shrugs it off and bums a smoke.
Zed’s still talking to the kid (determined to keep him chatting until the paramedics arrive so he doesn’t lose consciousness again) when the girl he’d witnessed bolting before comes running back towards the truck. She’s wasted, she’s hysteric, and she’s rambling at a million miles an hour, but Zed manages to ascertain that this girl was driving, she doesn’t have a license, and the truck was ‘borrowed’ without permission. In full-on panic mode, she keeps shrieking over and over again, “I’m so fucked! I’m so fucked!”
The kid in the backseat – meanwhile – has discovered that he can’t move his arm, but he’s not sure if it’s because there’s serious physical damage, or if it’s just because of the way he’s sort of squished into the door (he doesn’t want to try moving just yet, in case he makes his situation worse). He’s also becoming more aware – by the second – of some pretty serious pain blossoming in his rib cage. To his credit, Zed says the kid took it like a champ. The teenage girl is in a frenzy, but the injured kid guy is completely calm; rational. At some point he even asks Zed, “Hey man, do you think you could give her a hug or something? You know, to try and calm her down… she’s pretty messed up.” For some reason this makes me like the kid… a lot.
Eventually the cops show up and the girl gets shoved in the backseat of a cop car. The ambulance shows up and when the paramedics can’t get the door open, one of the cops – Zed’s taken to calling him ‘Robocop’ – comes strolling over. With his bare hands, Robocop grabs the corner of the window frame, bends it down and out so he can get a proper two-hand grip, and rips the door wide open. At that point, the paramedics move in to do their job, and one of the officers walk back up to the house with Zed to take his statement.
That – of course – is about where I came in. I’m still not sure how I managed to sleep through all the fuss, but it is what it is.
In the end, everyone’s okay… or at least alive which is pretty lucky considering how drunk they were, the black ice on my street from all the freezing-thawing-freezing over the last few days, and the obvious speed they would have had to be going in order to ping-pong the Dodge so far up the curb. Zed just got off the phone with the cop he was talking to this morning; the calm kid from the backseat is pretty banged up, but he’s going to be fine.
I’m extremely relieved for the happy(ish) ending, and I sincerely hope that the girl doesn’t end up paying for the rest of her life for the mistakes of her youth. We can all tut our tongues and be as judgemental as we want, but we all – or at least everyone I ever knew – made mistakes when we were young that could easily have come out just as bad… or worse.
The Dodge, I’m afraid, did not fair quite so well. Let me take a minute to bitch about that.
Zed was never in an accident in his entire life. He’s got all those little ‘safe driver’ discounts on his insurance for never having been in so much as a fender bender. In November of last year, we made our final payment on the four and a half year old Dodge. Since we drove it off the lot, we’ve put nearly 200 k on the damn thing driving back and forth between B.C. and Alberta. We’ve spent so much time on those damn roads in the past few years that they should name a patch of highway after us… all that mileage, and not a single scratch.
Just two weeks after our final payment was processed, during the first big snow storm of the season, some lady in a bigger Dodge slid into the driver’s side door and put a lovely dent in it. It was no one’s fault; there was black ice that night too, and though the lady was observing all the rules of the road (or mall parking lot in this case) her truck simply wouldn’t come to a complete stop… she just kept sliding at about two miles an hour until, crunch-bang-boom, viola! first dent. A week after my birthday in January, some twonk (who didn’t so much as leave a note) put another dent in the rear fender in yet another parking lot, and then there was what happened this morning. The accident that took place today before the sun was even ready to come out to play was a lot more than a fender-bender. The rear end is completely thrashed, one window busted out, all the rear lights were smashed and something got messed up in the undercarriage (I don’t know what – I have zero vehicular knowledge and I’ve already completely forgotten what I was told about this).
The good news is that we’re insured to the hilt, so it will all be covered, but it’s still a giant pain in the ass. The best case scenario; the frames entirely screwed, they call it a right-off and we get a brand spankin new Dodge for our troubles. The worst case scenario; we spend the next – however long it takes to deal with these types of things – dealing with the annoyance of paperwork and whatnot (Oh joy!) but at least everyone involved with the situation will live to tell the tale. This is not such a terrible worse-case scenario after all.
As that I was up until just after two this morning, and then awake again at just after five, I am tired; very tired. I also have a houseful of my sister’s screaming children for the day – an arrangement that I agreed to before knowing that the morning would be such a gong-show. That I’ve managed to write this is at all is rather amazing (hopefully it makes sense – I’m not going to bother to edit it to find out), and at this point I’m not sure if/when I’ll manage to get back to do my challenge for the day. I’m sure I’ll manage to squeeze in some time later this evening after the munchkins are gone. Until then, dasvidania.