While making his rounds, Keith found himself more tired than when he woke up two hours ago, so the first chance for a break, he pulled-over, put a quarter in the meter and went back to his truck, pulled the visor from his cap down over his eyes and promptly fell asleep.
Children with their mother’s in tow, were running up and down the street, making sounds at the passing cars and laughing at those who dared to pass them on the sidewalk. It was a sunny day, and it was going to be a warm one, for the temperature was already at eighty-five degrees.
Hearing the children, the drone of tires and the jingle of music from an ice-cream truck, was soothing enough and then, SCREECH! “OH, NO!”, one woman gasped. It became so cold and dark, Keith woke up in a sweat. He thought he was having a disturbing dream. The sun was still beaming it’s sunshine and the heat was bearing down. “It must have been a dream”, Keith shrugged and started the engine. Gulping the last drops from his coffee cup, now gone tepid, he looked at his orders and silently mapped his plans.
Today was just like any other day, but for the gnawing feeling inside that made Keith change the course on his route. He thought that if he back-tracked and started over, this dreadful feeling would lift. So, back to his house, to begin his day, again. A bit shaken, he drove the speed limit, 25 in a School Zone, and moseyed his way down Main Street. While at the red light, Keith realized that something was shining right into his eyes. It was blinding. He thought that he should find it, so he could remove it. He did not want another driver to get blinded by it.
He pulled over, got out of the truck and began scouring the road near the curb, but all he found near the drainage grate was a foil wrapper from an ice-cream bar and a red elastic band, the kind that little girls wear in their hair. When he walked around the truck to get back in, he noticed a dent in the front bumper, and upon closer inspection, he saw a tuft of mousy brown hair and blood. While he just stood there looking at his front end, a police car pulled up along side of him, the officer over the loudspeaker was telling Keith to put his hands up.
After a sobriety test to walk a staight line and a puff on the breathalyzer, Keith was handcuffed and placed in the back of the cop’s car. Keith was numb. That afternoon, he was arraigned and charged with Driving Under the Influence, pending more charges. “Why?” asked Keith. “That girl is on life support and in grave shape, she probably won’t make it” said the judge, sternly. A witness to this incident came forward and said that Keith was speeding and wrecklessly drove right into the crowd of children standing at the ice-cream truck, then he took off.
Keith just buried his head in his hands. All he kept saying was, “That damned job, working me to death picking up and delivering the morning edition, then back again to pick up and deliver the late edition. I’m on the most ludicrous time schedule!”
-dld last day of 2010-
T10 Member’s Pick, Friday: Something found in the gutter