Day Fourteen


The duct tape crackles as I wrap it around the pillows that rest against my stomach.

“I can’t believe I can do this without help,” I mumble, “I rock.”

Cleaver tips his head at me, a skeptical shadow concealed behind his smoky eyes.  But I can barely see him beneath the football helmet.

“I know you might not understand this,” I try to explain, “but on ssome level… everyone wonders why it’s so dangerous to drive drunk.”  I continue nodding as I speak, “it’s not suicidal.  It’s not even bad judgment!  I’m going to drive at limited speeds, on level ground, in a safe car!  I’m sure police cars have great crash test ratings.  This is just an experiment.  An illogical one, perhapss.  But iss it more or less safe than if I were to operate a roller coaster on my own?” Cleaver’s not convinced.  I point back and forth between us, “That’ssnot for you or me to decide.  Besides, it’s not like I’m going to hurt anyone.”

 This last I finish with a chuckle.  I reach for the digital breathalyzer on the sidewalk but the pillows are so tightly wrapped around my body that I can’t reach it and end up twisting until I’m lying on my back on the ground.  I rest there for a moment, looking up at the crystal blue sky.

“I felt no pain,” I mutter triumphantly.  “Successssful test!”

I begin rocking back and forth on the pavement, and the roller blade knee pads begin rhythmically knocking together.  

“I bet I could survive an attack from those…dogs right now,” I mumble, refraining from the curse.  Besides, I can’t be certain that the Rottweiler or any of its friends are female. 

“But she PMS’s like one!”

I burst into laughter at my own bad joke, fairly characteristic of my typical drunken behavior. Once on my feet again I steady myself.  My stomach is still rolling from the movement.

“Oh,” I say, holding my hands straight out from my body to keep the street from spinning.  Forgetting about the breathalyzer I stagger into the front seat of the police car, and just for the Hell of it I push the siren. 

“Get out of the way!” I shout at no one, setting out at a blistering speed of 25 MPH.  I realize this might be a dangerous experiment.  After correcting four or five times in about half a block I slow to 20 MPH.  After several extremely concentrated and uneventful minutes I realize that I’ve left Cleaver back on the other side of town. 

Assessing the risk of trying reverse in this condition I instead decide to U-turn across four lanes.  Though I accomplish this successfully, I see the dark coat of the Rottweiler dart behind an espresso stand.  Revving the engine I scream away from the street and up a hill where Cleaver is undoubtedly waiting.  Cresting over said hill, I see that he is in fact waiting, right in my path.  Unthinking, obviously, I wrench the steering wheel away from him, the tires cry and I hop a curb.  For a brief moment I’m airborne.  Instead of my life flashing before my eyes I see the smile of the resident fast food icon as I crash through a plastic Enter sign and come to a screeching halt inside the parking lot.  When my ears stop ringing I can hear Cleaver barking behind the car and the passing air of my own heaving wheezes.  

Before I can even jump out to see if he’s all right, Cleaver jumps up to the passenger window and when I let him in he starts leaving sticky slobber all over my salty cheeks.

“I’m so glad you’re alive…” I wince.

I step out and pull off the pillows and duct tape. Hairs along my arms choose not to stay with me and I wipe sweat and slobber off my face.  The sun is setting, and I now know not to stay out after dark.  The strength of my sight is returning and the buzz is being replaced with the stab of a headache. I take several deep breaths and survey the minimal damage.  Some scrapes and broken glass, mostly broken plastic; I’ve decimated the sign.  The police car can take it.

As we begin back across town towards the mansion, the front bumper dragging lamely along the ground, I see a facility in front of us that is shrouded from sight in the afternoon’s glare.  When I realize what I’ve stumbled upon I slam on the brakes, causing a ripple of white pain to stream up my right ankle.  The screech of the tires precedes the smoke and smell of burning rubber.  I stare in awe, mouth agape, at the facility in front of me.



Industrial, Hazardous, and Data


The End

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