Dogs 2007

US 75 N
(2/21/07)


the snow
didn't start
until Yates Center
but by the time
I reached Topeka
there was at least
a good foot of the stuff
sloshing up the roads
and slowing cars
to a practical
standstill

for the first time
in my travels
Topeka had
genuine
rush hour traffic
bumper to bumper
stop and go
for about 10 miles
on the expressways
around the city

the downfall
had stopped
but the drivers
were wary
of the two slim
dark tire tracks
in each lane
surrounded
by that frozen
white

I
was in
the passing lane
and as I filled
the rear view
of one
after another
slow goer
they eventually
pulled to the right
and let me
through

I
had to get
to Grandma's house
goddammit

finally
I was up
to about 55
speeding past
the 35 mph crowd
to the side

I didn't
know what
they were so
worried about
the snow wasn't
that bad

sadly
the four lane ended
40 miles north
of the city
and I was relegated
to playing a tricky
passing game
to keep up
my speed

all in all
though
it was going
fairly well

then
as darkness
muted even
the snow
I came upon
a string of tail lights
stretching
to the short horizon
of the next
rolling hill

40 mph

this
was brutal

peaking
the next rise
I saw the cause
three semis
choking all progress
trailed by a parade
of passenger vehicles
afraid
to go around

past the point
of choosing
an alternate route
I began to pass
my fellow four wheelers
one at a time
most often
having to force my way
back into line
to avoid
the oncoming
traffic

I turned
asshole

after about
two dozen
smaller vehicles
I finally reached
the rear
of the trailing
18 wheeler

the hills
the snow
the darkness
all made the procedure
much more hazardous
than the everyday
but after
a few miles
I made around
my first target
and was sandwiched between
that unyielding bastard
and the middle truck
hardly two car lengths
between them

who were
these pricks
that they thought
they could take over
a highway
like this?

next downslope
I made it around
the second rig
and played
lunch meat again
until capping the crest
of the next cornfield
beginning
my final pass
a bit too soon
considering the one
trough-hidden traveler
heading south

I still had room
to pull back
between the trucks
but misjudged my movement
in relation to the contact
with clear pavement
hitting a patch
of 22 degree hardened
former slush

first
I lost the front
then the back
passing through
the northbound lane
onto the shoulder
which contained more
frozen snow
then over an embankment
sliding 20 feet down
landing miraculously
in a soft drift
bordering
a disced field

where
I had been angry
with my impeded progress
before
I lapsed into
a morbid feeling
of tired disgust
from the moment
that I relinquished traction
until skidding
to a halt
the trailing truck
blasting its air horn
a final salute
to my hubris

life just
wasn't worth
all this
shit

I checked
the cell
and had a connection
so tried 911
to bail my
candy ass
out of
trouble

the local
sheriff's office answered
and both deputy
and wrecker
were on the
way

I sat
in the flashing
enhanced darkness
watching the cars
I has so recently passed
drive by above

suddenly
there was a shape
up there
slipping down the slope
toward me

this person
was really ruining
some quality
sulk time

I rolled
down the window
as he approached
telling him that help
was on the way
but thanks
for the effort

"you're OK then?"

I assured him
that I was not injured
and he nodded
turned
and began the hike
upward

at road level
he stopped
and looked down
upon me
then
started to follow
his own tracks back
to my location

what now?

window down
once more
I waited

"I think
that you can drive
out of there"

I was up
to my small truck
wheel wells
in white stuff
and thought him
quite mad

"just what
did you have
in mind?"

"I think
that if you get
over into that field
that you can drive
up the rise
then back
to the highway"

he then
proceeded
to direct me
right and left
forward and reverse
until I was actually
crunching over
what was left
of last year's
corn crop
gaining altitude
all the while

back level
with the road
I turned the wheel
and plowed through
a small drift
to get back
to the shoulder
with him
running beside
the whole time

quite amazing

"you've
done this before"
I shouted

"once
or twice"

I got out
and shook his hand
getting his name
and home town

"thank you
very much"

I thought
I had a tow
and an overnight stay
in my future"

"no problem
just take it easy
the rest
of the way"

"you can bet
on that"

he crossed
to his car
and gave a wave
as he pulled
away

how extraordinary

he risked
getting hit
in the dark and cold
to talk my dumb ass
out of trouble

what was
my problem
with people
anyway?

a deputy
pulled up
just about then
and I assured him
that the issue
had been resolved

he called it in
then I returned
to my truck
and injected myself
back into the stream
of northbound traffic

I waited
about 5 miles
before passing
the first car

I could still
blow by
those fucking truckers
before they reached
the Nebraska
border

I
had to get
to Grandma's house
goddammit