An Accident Waiting To Happen
Shreveport was balmy and wet in the Springtime, it always soaked you to the bone when it was like this. Len grunted at the red light as he waited impatiently in his Jeep for it to turn to green. Market street was always busy at five pm with the rush hour craziness of people on a warpath to get home. It was a Friday, which made it even worse because everyone was looking forward to escaping from the drone of their workweek and wanting to get on with their weekend.
Len sighed as he threw the Jeep into first gear letting up on the brakes some and started rolling forward. The light was taking forever to turn green and he was late for work as usual. He had overslept again, not hearing the alarm go off with its usual annoying electronic buzz. This new continental shift was killing him, it seemed that he just could not adjust to the time change, when he did finally get to sleep it was time to get up. The boss was insistent though on keeping the tourists and higher echelons of his clientèle happy. The shop where he worked was the only one in Shreveport with the new open twenty-four, seven, three hundred and sixty-five days a year service. Len figured the old fart was going senile wanting to keep a mechanic’s shop open like that, but what the boss wants, is what the boss, he thought out loud.
Finally, the light flicked from red to green and that was his cue to peel on out of turning lane and get his Creoles ass to work before the boss man ripped him a new one. As Len started forward he caught something out of the corner of his eye at the very last second. At first, it was just a black blob and that blob was moving very fast coming straight at him. The SUV was coming at him so fast it didn’t even have time to register in his mind as to what it even was.
That’s when Len heard the sound of metal crunching against metal. His shocked mind couldn’t connect the sound with the pain he felt in his left side as the door first crumpled then dug into him. The Jeep spun around in circles playing what seemed to be a choreographed, fascinating metal dance with the much larger black SUV. As the two vehicles momentarily parted the jeep was being tipped over on its side. The bigger vehicle slammed into the bottom of the Jeep sending it reeling on its side. It was so hard it flipped the jeep over onto its top, instantly crushing the roof in. With the sound of shattering glass, and crunching metal the Jeep continued its death roll.
Len let off a horrible scream and a large piece of the windshield frame slammed into his right shoulder and buried itself deep in between the joint. The pain was so tremendous and overwhelming as it raced through his body, tearing it’s hot burning fingers through his consciousness numbing his ability to scream again. He closed his eyes as he felt the Jeep slamming into the traffic pole and coming to a shuddering stop. The traffic light that he had just been waiting for slammed into the bottom of the dark green, twisted piece of metal that he was now pinned in.
The dashboard had crumpled under the pressure of the two-vehicle death dance and had pinned Len’s legs down, crushing them. The impact had slammed the steering wheel into his pelvis, breaking it in two and snapping his lower back in three places. Both of his wrists had been broken under the impact, shattering them so badly that later the doctors would find it very difficult to even put them back together. His right forearm had a compound fracture and his ribs were nothing more than a crumpled cage of shattered bone.
Len’s nostrils flared as he could smell the gasoline as his Jeep cocooned him in his metal coffin. He thought for sure he was dead but then again the screaming pain of his injuries told him otherwise. The sound of the onlookers was fading in and out of his ears as he lost and regained consciousness over and over. At one point he could hear someone yelling call nine-one-one.
He opened his eyes and squinted to see and what he saw was the crumpled front end of the SUV. It had been smashed up good and its driver was just as crumpled and mangled as it was. He blinked and stared harder trying to focus better at the other driver, watching her gasp and claw at her throat. One of the crossbars from the Jeep’s brush guard had broken away and impaled her in the throat. As the red life spurted from the woman’s jugular it flowed lazily over the broken dash, busted windshield, and over the hood of the black vehicle. It trickled down onto the street with a slight pitter-patter sound on the asphalt, it was mixed with coolant, engine oil, and gasoline.
Len had been unconscious when the fireman was on his knees trying to slip his hand into the Jeep’s mangled cab. He had his glove off and was feeling for a pulse at Len’s throat. The firefighter stood up quickly and motioned and yelled to the medic that they had a live one after all.
Len grunted as his lungs burned with each jagged breath and his mouth filled with the rancid metallic taste of his own blood. His vision blurred as a hand reached in toward his face and everything swam back and forth between pitch black and daylight. All that he could see was a heavily gloved hand coming closer and closer to him. Len gagged on and tried to spit blood out of his mouth but just could not do it. All that seemed clear now was the pain of his mangled, ripped apart body. Then everything swam in watery waves in front of his eyes for the last time as he lost himself in the deep darkness of unconsciousness. The last thought to follow him down into the darkness was not about making it into work. It was what he would have to tell the boss man for an excuse this time.