A driving death wish

It’s late October, it’s been raining, and we’re returning from a late Halloween Party. I’m driving faster than I should. I most certainly am not expecting to find the wreckage of a cheap car on the other side of a blind curve.

Imagine my surprise as I whip around a turn to find only fifty feet in front of me (and prefaced by much debris) a vehicle completely blocking my lane, no lights, with a thick cloud of something wafting from its hood.

After quickly dodging around the hulk I exorcised the quick thinking that is exhibited only by people who know they need to get some brownie points with the universe. I stopped to see if there was anything at all I could do to help.

I rummage through my trunk and discover, much to my shame, that I have no flashlight or flares. I suck ass.

I run to the smoldering heap to see if anyone is alive. While running up to it the car is nearly hit by no less than two vehicles rounding the turn at 60+ miles per hour. When I get there I find someone scavenging on the floor in the dark.

Dude! Are you OK?”


“Are You OK?”

“Yeah, I guess. I just can’t find my glasses.”

“Do you have any flares? Can you turn on your emergency flashers? Another car is going to hit you if we don’t show them you’re here.”

“I didn’t think of that.”

So I’m looking through my trunk again hoping to find something I can light on fire (and something else to use as the lighter - I knew I should have taken up smoking). Still nothing. Then the teenagers stop.

“Are you guys OK?”

“Yeah, I don’t think anybody’s hurt. There’s no flares though. Do you have any?”

“I think so...”

As this kid is trying to light his flares he stands in the middle of the lane, maybe twenty feet in front of the derelict, struggling to figure out how the flare works (“Remove cap and then strike?”). He nearly gets hit by at least two cars.

We’ve finally got the flares in place. We started before the blind curve so that people will see them as they approach vs. seeing them midway through the turn. I figure that everything will be OK now. I go to see what the driver is doing. He’s talking with ’Neff.

“My cell phone has a strong signal, so I guess I don’t need you to call anyone for me.”

“OK! Great!”

Who do I call?”

“You should call 9-1-1.”

“You think so?”

(A car comes skidding around the turn and jumps into the other lane. It has managed to extinguish two of the flares by driving directly over them. It nearly hits the center divide. Dumbass.)

“Yes. Tell them that you are the only participant in what is currently a single vehicle non-injury accident.”


“It says that all circuits are busy.”

More people have stopped and are bringing small caches of flares with them - two here, three there. I feel so powerful. “You! Start laying the ends of those flares over the ends of the currently burning flares.”

Some guy stops and pulls out a bag that must contain a hundred flares. It seems he wants to get the flares going at least a quarter mile down Highway 17. I nearly suggest to him that the seven or eight flares that we have is probably OK until the cops show up, but he seems so happy with his mission. I suspect he’s been cruising the highways for years waiting for this opportunity to use his flares and I really don’t want to get in the way of his dream.

Still there are cars driving over the flares. Apparently a series of blinding red flames in the middle of the lane doesn’t mean much to most drivers.

A CHP arrives and starts asking the driver questions. Feeling my power ebb I decide to leave.

I think this would have been a better good deed if I had had flares. Oh well. Next time. I think I’m going to go buy a big bag of them now so that I’ll be prepared for the next time. Yeah. Hundreds of ’em.

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