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The Night the Evening Went South in the Cold North
by Edward Sullivan
So I’m driving along after work buzzing down Route 14 listening to my favorite podcast. It hadn’t been a good day but hadn’t been a bad on either. Road is slippery but there isn’t much traffic, I figure I will be home in ten or fifteen. The guy in front of me isn’t tearing along but he is somewhere in the ball park of the speed limit, so I figure I will give him about two car lengths. No sooner had I thought this than he stopped dead in the middle of the road, in winter, in Vermont, doing forty miles an hour. It was hit him or go for the freshly plowed snow bank on the right side. I chose the snow bank. I figured I would pull out so I could tail him and introduce boot to ass, I didn’t catch his plate as he slowly started back up and pulled away. I was stuck and he was gone. My head started pounding. I rallied my composure. I had taken my medication, I had done my meditation earlier. This too shall pass.
No houses were right in sight. Very angry. A truck pulls up along side of my dilemma. Nice old couple real country folks, good folks.
“You need help son? I don’t think I can get you out even with my chains.”
I shake my head a bit, not answering “No”, just shaking it because it seems appropriate. Maybe I am hoping if I keep stirring the rage won’t settle.
“I appreciate it if you could give me a ride down the street and I will call the auto club.”
Old man nods a good natured Vermont nod and gestures to get in. His wife scoots over. It was like I said good folk. I definitely don’t want any rage to leak out now, not with kind folk doing a good deed. They leave me at the store and I dig out the auto club card and call their number. I tell the girl on the other end I know the local tow vendor they send.
“You need to tell him I am half way between the bridge and the high school, not far from the town-line.”
She gives a practiced retort like what I said didn’t even matter. God damn minimum wage zombie. She can't go off script even in the service of better service. “I have to tell them a cross street sir.”
“They will know what I am saying, I need them to find me sooner rather than later.”
“Sir I will tell then you are on Route 14 near the Chelsea Street bridge.”
I am too pissed to think straight. “Sure whatever I will be at my car.” I head out to walk the miles back to my car to meet the tow truck. Given auto club response times I should just make it back if I hustle.
I need not have rushed. Miss “I can’t go off script” has given them directions which send them to the opposite end of town so I get back to the car with well over an hour to spare. I don’t do well with too much time to think when I have been wound up.
The tow guy is nice enough. He does his job and gets me out of the snow bank. He earns whatever the auto club pays him and the added bonus of me not decapitating him and feasting on his warm organs right there on the roadside. Whoa I really need to get home and get to my medication. I need to have enough benzodiazepines in me to tranquilize a rhino post haste or something bad is going to go down.
I drive up the snowy Vermont hill, well really it is a small mountain I live on. Coincidence continues to flop with me all the way home. I narrowly miss not one, not two, but three separate head on collisions with full grown deer. Three miles and I see a buck and two does almost smash into me in three separate spots. All miss narrowly and bound off into the woods. Not my night, this last bit really gets me worked up. It makes me want to hunt instead of go home.
I pull up my driveway and see the back end of a grey Dodge parked in my driveway. I live at the top of the hill. It is two miles of woods to the nearest neighbor. I don’t really do unexpected visitors, especially not tonight. Wait a God Damn minute! That is the car! I park and get out in one motion.
A piss-ant college looking turd gets out one side, and a buddy as smarmy looking and spoiled as the first get out the other side.
Dink one says, “Oh man were you the local yokel I brake checked back coming into town? Bummer. You should’t follow so close.” His friend was trying to hide a smirk.
“I think it best that you let me go inside, I need to take my medication. You should be gone when I look back out.”
He put his hand on my arm and his buddy came over on my other side and put his hand on my shoulder. “Wait a minute Bra’, we came all the way from upstate cause we heard you had inside info on a real wild trip. Someone said you knew where to find a Wendigo and you need to show us. We will even pay you enough you can buy moose meat or whatever you woods people eat.”
I looked into his eyes. “ Yeah you know what, now that I think about it, I don’t need those tranquilizers at all. You make an interesting offer. I can show you a Wendigo. I can show you possible the most wild, scary ass Wendigo to ever stalk these woods.”
The change comes quick when I don’t even other to hold it back. Dinner was served.
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