Crawling From the Wreckage
by Michele Christopher
A few nights ago we wrote about car breakdowns. Tonight, we've got more bad car stories.
Car wrecks. Most of us have had one. Or two. Or three. Hey, they weren't my fault. I wasn't even driving in the first one.
Car accidents suck. That sound of metal being scraped and crushed stays with you for a long time. But sometimes, if you're lucky, you get a good story out of it.
Michele spins her tires:
I've been in quite a few car wrecks in my time, but this one is still fresh in my mind. Let's go back to March 2006 (inster wavy lines here).
It is a Friday. The last day of the most stressful week of my entire life. No exaggeration there. I am frazzled, on edge and probably within inches of beating a random person just for the hell of it. Hell week, as it were. And it ends like this:
I'm driving home from work, headed east on a four lane road. I have ODB on the stereo and I'm a little jacked up on caffeine and sleepless nights and stress. My senses are heightened. Ever tweak? That's what this feels like. My hair is standing up on end. I'm ready to jump out of my skin. There's something in the air. Something's gonna happen. I can taste the electricity on my tongue. It tastes like battery acid.
I do a little ass shaking in my seat as Baby I Got Your Money ends. I change XM stations and ODB morphs into Black Flag as I drive across a main intersection. Up in front of me, a school bus has stopped. It's facing against me. Westbound. It's got flashing lights going and its stop sign is moved out from the bus like a long arm of the law. And you listen to that arm. It says that traffic going in all directions must make a full stop and wait for the bus driver to turn the lights off and retract that long arm before proceeding. That's the law.
The car in front of me stops.
The car behind me stops.
I glance in my rear view mirror. The utility truck coming across the intersection? It's not gonna stop.
I know what's going to happen before it actually does. I watch an ugly scene unfold in my mirror. The truck plows into the car behind me.
And then I brace myself for the inevitable. I know what's coming. I remember that you are supposed to go slack at a time like this. Don't tense up. You'll suffer less damage that way. Well, hell. I'm already tensed up. There is no chance of my body - having been in fight mode all week long - going slack, not even with the knowledge of what's coming. I see the car coming at me, the truck pushing it forward like Mr. Plow pushes snow. Slack is not an option here. I'm stiffer than...well, I'm stiff.
I watch. I wait. I know that car behind me is going to be plunged forward. I know it's gonna smash right into me. I do a brief mental check. No holes in my underwear. I shaved my legs this morning. I figure I'm going to go through the windshield (yes, I was wearing a seatbelt and yes, I was being over dramatic). This all has taken place in about ten seconds, by the way. It's amazing what your mind can conjure up when you think you are about to become airborne through some glass. Or killed. Or crushed.
And then it happens. Basically, the car behind me fucks my car up the ass. That's what I am thinking as I lurch forward on impact. Automobile butt sex. That's going to be my dying thought. Thank Christ no one but me knows that.
I'm not even close to going through the window, though. Really, the whole crash part of the incident is kind of anti-climatic. My car moves about two feet forward. Stops. Still running. Rollins still singing on the stereo. I sit there and take stock of what's happened. I'm more pissed than hurt. All the fear seeps out of me and is replaced with renewed stress, anger, annoyance, desire to kill random people, etc. The whole damn week comes rushing back at me and I decide that this guy driving the truck - and not some random, innocent hobo - is going to suffer the consequences of it all.
I get out of the car. The lady in the car behind me is holding her neck and moaning. Typical post-accident stance. I go see if she's ok, she says she's fine, but she's sure something bad happened to her neck or back. She's laying it on pretty thick and looking around to make sure any available witnesses hear her moans and cries. Some guy is calling 911.
So here comes the jackass truck driver. I look at him and just shake my head like you do at a kid who disappointed you by sticking bugs in the microwave.
He says: "What? You came to a stop in the middle of the fucking road!" I hear Turtle's voice in my head. Calm Michele. Remain calm.
I say, very slowly: "There was a school bus stopped here."
He says: "Where?"
Ok, this is going well. I explain to him that there was a stopped school bus. He looks confused. I explain again, using my best "you must be retarded" voice, that you must stop for a school bus when the lights are flashing. That confused look on his face again. He insists there were no flashing lights. Then he says he was distracted by the sound of a horn beeping. Then he says it's not his fault. Then he starts blaming everything but his own stupidity. Sun glare. Cross traffic. Global warming. Aliens. As he's blabbering about who else is to blame for his mistake, it dawns on me that he has the look and mannerisms of what Beavis would be like grown up. As he talks, I just see Beavis. He's making another excuse, something about the space time continuum, I think. I walk away from him because I'm about ready to kick him in the nuts. I call Turtle because I need my nerves calmed.
The cops arrive and we all pull our vehicles over to the side of the road. We're standing outside of our cars, just waiting for the cops to finish talking to the drama queen with the alleged broken neck, spine, legs and uterus. I swear that's what she said.
Beavis comes over to me, his hands stuffed into the pockets of his dirty jeans. He looks like a chagrined child who just realized that maybe putting ants in the microwave to see if god would save them was not a good idea. See, god doesn't save them. And god doesn't save idiots from themselves.
"I guess you're kind of mad at me?" he says.
I stare at him. "Mad? I get mad at people I know. I don't know you. I just think you're an idiot."
He comes closer, looks at the ID I'm wearing on a chain around my neck. "Oh you work at the court, huh?" I say nothing.
He stares down my shirt. I move over about five feet. He follows me.
"So it's Friday. You headed home or what?" That Beavis look on his face. Still staring blatantly stares down my shirt.
I'm thinking "What the fuck?" but not saying a word. I zipper up my jacket and go over to inspect the damage to my car. Beavis follows, starts to say something to me, but the cop comes over and asks for his license, registration and insurance. Beavis chooses D: none of the above. The cop is obviously annoyed by this. I think of Beavis singing. Breakin the Law, breakin the law!
I go sit in my car for twenty minutes while paperwork is filled out. I wait, I wait, I wait. Beavis paces back and forth by my car, glancing in and giving me strange looks. Then the cops call in his info, all the time shaking their head or calling him back to yell at him. He has no answers to their questions. He seems to not know a hell of a lot more than he knows. He keeps walking past my car and looking in, smiling. Weird smile. Like "I just fucked with your head and I am really enjoying that." Creepy.
The cops finally give me back my license. I can go home now. End this fucking day. End this fucking week. There is a bottle of Jack Daniels at home with my name on it and I am planning on bathing in it when I walk in the door.
I start my car and I see Beavis is sitting in the squad car. The policemen are going through his work truck. Searching it with purpose and determination. Beavis's weird grin is gone.
I drive past the squad car, roll down my window and give Beavis - and the whole damn week, by extension - the finger. -M
turtle hits the wall
I've been in a lot. I have no idea why but these kinda things happened to me like once a fucking year. Seriously, I really get tired of these. Yeah, the Valentines Curse I had was funny to look at but really, all those kinda things really sucked. But, this one, this one really sucked.
My brother was in town. Don't ask me why. I stopped asking questions a long time ago about things like this. But for some reason, he met me out of town. He was going to a show and really needed me to drive his girlfriends car into town cause he was scared to drive in the city. Ok. This is when it gets weird. He stole his girlfriends car from a town about an hour and half away and drove to meet me in the pouring rain. I took the car on the outside of town while him and my friend slammed back cheap beer in the back seat.
See, that wasn’t that hard to get. Anyways, we drove thru the bay bridge and everything was fine. I only had a few beers in me, so it was all cool, but I was going to get drunk before all this started. They needed to know that by the end of the show, someone else would have to drive the car back. The rain started coming down harder as the radio blasted "I'm only happy when it rains." Don't ask me who sings that. I'll I knew was to keep driving. We hit the city and ran inside to see to the show. Well, not really. We sat in this old as car and drank the rest of our beer and wandered in. I met some of my friends inside and the show went off.
No big deal, but I was fucking drunk as fuck. I handed the keys to my friend who was drunker than me. Well fuck. This isn't going to work. My brother trembled at the site of the city so it looked like it was up to me.
Before we go any farther I want to say I do not condone drunk driving, nor do I think it is funny in anyway. I think people who do it are incredibly selfish. I, myself, have had three DUI's and those were only the times I have been caught. Anytime I talk about breaking the law, remember there were always consequences for my actions.
*Insert the evils of drugs and alcohol here*
I started the car with my friend passed out in the back. My brother happy as a motherfucker that he was in a city and me closing one eye to find the bridge. I had asked my friend to follow us home in is car, you know, stay behind us so he could cover me. His little red car followed. I had this made. I hit the pass and on the bride. "I'm only happy when it rains." That fucking song again. I know a lot of you are probably familiar with the Bay Bridge, but if you aren't, it is a two-tiered bridge that spans the bay. Designed by two different guys. The first part of the bridge stops in the middle when it hits Yuerba Buena Island. Then you go thru a tunnel on the island to get to the second part of the bridge. When you get off the second part, depending on which way you are going, you either hit Oakland, San Francisco or Berkeley.
Well that really has nothing to do with the story so lets move on. That song kept playing as I hit the first part of the bridge. Ok. We can do this. And when I say "We" I mean "I". One eye closed with someone screaming in my ear about how cool the show was, another one in the back snoring and my ears being blasted with this one song. The first part of the bridge was ending. The rain was pouring. My friend who was following me, I guess, decided it was time to pass me.
We hit the island underpass and it was flooded. The car I was in started to hydroplane. I could feel it happening. No one else knew what was happening. My lungs took a deep breath as I looked over to make sure everyone was belted down.
Don't get me wrong. This wasn't like a long gaze. This was an "Oh fuck!" gaze.
Everyone was belted as it happened.
We started to spin.
Oh just fucking great.
We slammed the wall. My friends’ head nailed the side of the door. 90 mile per hour spin in the middle of the busiest fucking bridge in Northern California. Shitfaced drunk and blocking traffic. Three drunks in a smashed up old Ford with empty 40's of King Cobra lying on the seats.
See, this kinda shit is when I work my best. This isn't like light a cigarette and survey the situation type shit. This is when you need to think, and think fucking fast.
My friend’s car stopped in front of us. He came running back. I flipped the ignition. No bueno. I tried it again. It is going to work. I know it. Dammit. Calm down. Think this thru. Cars pulling up behind me. My friend asks me if we are all ok. "We are good enough for now. Take these empties and throw them off the bridge." My little fat friend grabbed all the bottles he could hold and ran for the bridge.
Situation one was taken care of.
Ok, now we gotta get this piece of shit of the road before a cop comes. More cars backed up. Ok turtle. You need to think. Another quarter mile of pushing this car to the off ramp of Yerba Buena Island or another DUI. I tried to push the car, but it wasn't working. The axel was totally bent. Well, not totally, but there was no way I could push this. My friend in the back screaming he had a concussion while still laughing about the whole thing. My brother leaving with my other friend. Oh. well. fuck.
Gotta keep moving.
Just then some guy open up his door. Some Limo guy running up to us. Some totally wasted out of his mind cocaine dude. Came up and looked at the car. "You guys need to get this out of here." Well fucking thanks for the update J. Edgar, we kinda know this. He got in the car and tried to start it. Then flipped the trunk. Pulled off the fuzzy thing that covers it, pushed a button (thank you to the loud pedal's bob for providing me information on what the hell he pushed) and the car started. Well, started is not really a good description of it. But, it was rolling.
I did manage to get it to the center island turn off and parked it. Sparks were flying as I did it, but it happened. We made it. Grabbing my friend and the rest of the empties, we abandoned the car and ran up a hill. Just to sit and think about our next step. We were in the middle of the fucking bay with a car that was shooting sparks.
Ok. Hold on.
Let me savor the moment of crisis number two being over before we start on number three.
Well, I had about a minute before crisis number three hit me. Getting off the bridge and staying out of jail. We both drank our 40's so if a cop came, we could say we just started drinking right when we got here cause of the stress. I do not know if that gets you out of a DUI. I really think that might be an urban legend. So don't quote me on that one cause I don't really fucking know. But, our big problem now, getting out of the middle of a fucking bay.
A tow truck driver came by and asked us if we needed help.
No, we just like the island and decided to crash our car here to look at the new homes.
So, he picked us up and drove us back to our starting ground. Well, my starting ground. Remember this wasn't my brother’s car. He had stolen it from his girlfriend. He lived another hour or so away. We had to get it back there.
Welcome to crisis number four.
Ok, I needed some sleep bad, but the sun was coming up. No car at her house in the morning equals bad things. This has to be done now. I called in a favor to a friend (you will see him referenced a lot when I talk about cars) and had it towed to his place. But I was doing bad. Really, the wreck might have actually done damage to me, but I just didn't care. Something else was happening to me now. Sobering up. Really, the alcohol makes your teeth chatter as it goes thru you and away from your body. You can really feel it leave you as you start to sober up. This had been along night and I was about to go into seizure mode. I can feel when they are coming on. I needed a beer bad or a drink or something. I was seeing those little white circles so I popped Librium so I wouldn't end up in the ER looking up at mom crying over me. I needed a drink but it wasn't 6 yet.
So Librium will have to do. Don't get me wrong, Librium doesn’t get you high. Not at all. It is for when your body is just about at the seizure state. You can not detox without them. Well, you can, but chances are you will be in the hospital and dah dah dah...
So I needed a drink and I needed to fix this car. We got to the shop and my friend was drinking. He handed me a bottle of Captain Morgan’s and I took a long pull as he checked out the car. Axel. Bent. Money. Bottle. What happened?
Just give me a second til the hits me. Please?
The liquor entered my blood stream as I felt my senses coming back. He wanted to know how good of friends I was with the owner of the car.
How good of friends was I with her?
He could get this fucker running back to where I needed to get it.
Ok hero. How you going to do that?
He pulled out a torch and a crowbar and twisted the metal back into place. Hey dude. Don't ask me what he did. I had to go out to ask other people just to tell me what the button was the coked guy pushed to get the car started was So don't ask me what the fuck he was doing.
Well, anyways. I dropped the car back off to my brother and just told him good fucking riddance. You know those sad eyes when you steal your chick’s car and her brother wrecks it and then fixes it with a blowtorch and a crowbar? You guys all know those looks?
Well, I don't blame you.
I just gave him the keys and went inside. Turning on the stereo, I let my mind wander.
Just as I was about to fall asleep....
"I'm only happy when it rains..."
God, I hate that song. - T