Monday, April 25, 2011

120: Unfortunate Acts of Others

"You suck!" yelled the driver as he inched by in his blue sedan.

There was nothing Jared could do. The truck had clipped his Sportage and pushed it into the railing where it was now stuck. Of course, the truck hadn't stoppped. So Jared sat on the edge of the railing and waited. He had tried to extricate himself, but the car wouldn't budge.

It was a hot day and the sun beat down. The air was still. He would have given anything for a breeze. Or a working cell phone. A woman who had seen the whole thing called the highway patrol for her, but then she, too, had to move on. The mountain pass was narrow and she couldn't stay either.

He wished he had a watch. He had no clue how long it had been. Or even if there was a tow truck or patrol car somewhere in that long, long line of cars that stretched as far as he could see. Eventually the winding road curved around a hill and he couldn't see any further, but so far, no relief was in sight. And at the speeds these cars were edging around him, it was going to be quite some time.

The truck had been tailgating him for some time, a large pickup with big tires and a menacing grill driven by a menacing jerk. This was not the place for lessons, so Jared had kept to the speed limit and had hoped a clearing would present itself before the guy did something stupid. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case and so near the top of the hill just as it flattened out, the driver of the pickup had seen the oncoming lane was clear, floored it, trying to charge past. Only he'd misjudged, tapped the corner of the SUV, pushing it to the right, towards the guardrail and the cliff. The bumper was pushed under the guardrail and when Jared got out to take a look, the car lifted just enough to catch and become stuck.

The pickup had stopped, but as soon as Jared got out of his car, it raced off. "Chicken" Jared thought. Jared was a big guy, but not a confrontational one. Of course the guy in the pickup didn't know that, they were obviously a coward who made up for it with an oversized truck.

Jared looked again and counted. 14 cars slowly making their way up the hill and squeezing past. Over his shoulder, he looked down. The hillside was flat rock for quite some ways. He had no idea how steep, but he guessed several hundred feet. After the rocks, it quickly spread out, grassy and covered with trees. It was an idyllic spot probably not glimpsed since the last time the guardrails were worked on.

Again, he lamented the lack of a breeze and wondered if he had any bottles of water in his car.

A family in a minivan crept slowly by, four faced turned to stare at him, children in the back with their mouths opened wide in curiousity and the sight.

Yep, it was gonna be a long day.
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