Episode XIV - E is for Evasion

It was just another quiet spring night. Another night where the stars sparkled and beckoned summer along. Another night where the crickets chirped furiously and happily as they hopped about in the gaps of suburban hours. Just a normal, perfectly average night that was representative of a good portion of the forgettable segments of life. On this utterly unremarkable night that followed a nondescript day I was driving home. Scratch that. On that silent boring night, I was speeding along with the roof of my tired battered and dented Toyota van wide open, watching the branches rush by overhead as if they never connected to tree trunks with one eye, while watching the road with the other.

More of my concentration was directed on the separating stripes of pavement than the trees, lest one think that I was in a mindset to cause general mayhem with my vehicle. My driving ability was no more abstracted or distracted than most other commuters should they have existed at that point. As for the speeding, the van did not really speed per se, but rather gathered all of its hamster-generated momentum with plenty of wind resistance and lumbered along despite how far the acceleration pedal was depressed.

Technically, I was barely speeding, rumbling over the surface street at a measly fifty miles per hour in a marked forty-five mile per hour zone. And to be accurate, I had only obtained such fantastical swiftness because I was going downhill. Another mitigating factor was that I had traveled much faster and in greater violation of the law on eight wheels than on the four I was using at the moment.

I hit the dip in the hill, and momentarily lost sight of the other side of the two lane road as I rolled through the bowl shaped depression as the shocks of the van groaned out dust from the compression that simultaneously shook my brain. I crested the rise of the bowl in grand silver shooting star fashion at a roaring forty nine miles an hour. At this point, I happened to gyrate right past a shape that was imprinted on my memory like skid marks on the road. It was a police cruiser. I looked back as he entered the now abandoned depression. The tell-tale lights came on immediately, filling the bowl with a refracted red soup. I swore.

My foot slammed the pedal to the floorboard. Inside the engine, the rodents felt the electric cattle prod shock to run and chose to blatantly ignore any commands, as it was their union-mandated break from running the wheel which powered the three and one half cylinders that ran the engine. Nonplussed at my lack of escape velocity, my arms immediately moved into Plan B, pulling at the wheel in true emergency evasion mode. Jerkily, my ship of a car slowly swung starboard as my arms moved in frantic circular patterns, pulling it into the imminent and immediate safe harbor of a parking lot and away from the pursuing black and white torpedo. Mental alarms and claxons sounded loudly in my thoughts at the last several seconds of action.

It was just a night. Just a completely abnormal night where, once again, for inexplicable reasons, I had to make the wrong decision and take an unneeded risk. The mistakes were beginning to pile up like leaves. I would have kicked myself savagely at the idiocy I was displaying, but I needed my both legs to depress the brakes fully as I zoomed across the half full lot into a dry dock of even lines and cracked pavement. The keys hung in the ignition as I yanked at them. With an audible clang, the door slammed shut, illuminating my shifty presence like a floodlight. I swore again.

My heart was pounding a relentless and remorseless series of signals against my chest, which vibrated across all sectors of my body, and even registered in my brain. Stupid stupid stupid stupid it stated flatly. Its beat was so loud that I almost told it to shut up as I was crashing through knee high bushes toward the Super Amazing 24 Hour Convenience store. I then realized that should it decide to take such a request literally I would be in a worse way than my current predicament. I decided to deal with its relentless nagging in silence. Clunk. The sound of metal pipe embedding itself in my knee reached my ears just as the palpable waves of pain dropped me in agony on the mildly littered ground.

From my supine position in mid-range dusty bushes, collapsed on what was unmistakably a half-filled extra large super soda container from the aforesaid bastion of commerce, my eyes widened and took in the cruiser now passing through the lot, no doubt looking at the parked cars methodically. I waited until it passed out and back onto the road, before pushing myself up to a standing position, and hobbling to the Super Amazing Convenience Store. My entry to the store was viewed with some amazement by the clerk. I couldn’t see his expression of disgust at first, because my pupils didn’t adjust from darkness to unnatural florescent brightness quick enough. Fortunately, his slack jawed expression was still there when my eyes adjusted.

After my eyes saw the clerk, they caught my reflection in a glass doored refrigerator. My shoes were coated in sandy dirt. A trickle of blood seeped from where the unseen pipe had impacted my leg. A weed was caught in my hair. And I had acquired a great smell that most definitely was not stale soda. I stumped around the store for a half hour under the clerk’s suspicious gaze, just to make sure I had thrown off all pursuit. In my opinion, the clerk didn’t really have the right to be giving me any sort of gaze at all, as I was a paying customer. Or maybe it was because he had a portable phone rubber banded to his head which he jabbered in as he manned the register. But since I didn’t want to disappoint him, I paid for a bottle of aspirin with a handful of change, mostly pennies, in true deadbeat style.

All that was left to do once the transaction was completed was weave back to my abandoned car, and drive home. At the door of my car, I had to remove my shirt and leave it there as an incriminating piece of evidence. If the authorities wanted to catch me that bad, they could deal with the increasingly heinous smell coming from it. It was just a night. Just a night with another pricelessly crazy escape.