Jan 25, 2002

Death on Route 69

Jesus fucking Christ. I nearly died today on the highway. Kansas City drivers are terrible anyway so I am always aloof when I drive. But today was something a little more than careless drivers. Someone was out to kill me.

I started off today late. Work began at 8 sharp and I had just crept onto Route 69 South at 8:02. My truck was freezing. I had a minute and a half of 75 MPH travel before I hit the I-435 East and West exits, which are a big slowdown. So I was trying to make good time before I got locked in traffic.

Well, just like every other day, everyone slowed to about 45 MPH at the I-435 exits. As I was sitting there eyeing the cars around me for hot girls (there were none, it was a bunch of ugly office women wearing sunglasses and yuppie nerds with their little spiked-forward haircuts and Honda Civics) when I saw this atrocious car enter Route 69 from I-435. It was a very old Dodge Omni and it was blowing smoke all over. Laughing out loud, I watched as it merged with traffic and stunk out the person behind them. Oddly enough, the windows were tinted on this car too. What the fuck?

After another false start and subsequent halt, I noticed the smell carrying from this offensive little car. Whoever owned that piece of shit needed to change their oil. Badly. That and their fucking breaks, which were making the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. God, what kind of moron can't take care of simple maintenance on their car? The thing had gone from funny to annoying at this point, between the sound and smell, and it was then that I noticed the stickers.

The back end of this idiot's car looked like a small billboard. It has sticker upon sticker upon overlapping sticker piled across the back. The only thing not skinned by the stickers was his license plate (oddly from Pennsylvania, I noted), which read “LNUX.” What the fuck? Darting my eyes over the stickers I noticed there were several “LNX” and “Open Source: Love It or Leave It” bumper-stickers, as well as an “America = Gun Ownership” and “WILL ROLEPLAY FOR FOOD.” Whoever was in this car was clearly—between the condition of the vehicle and their fascination with role playing, guns, and Linux—detached from reality. Someone else who shouldn't be on the road.

Traffic started moving again and I revved my V6 into gear in the far left lane, trying to make up for lost time. It was already 08:08. Then I heard a bunch of honking beside me and off to my right. Had my bed's gate come open in the back? If it had I'd be spilling garbage all over the highway. Glancing around, however, I saw there was nothing wrong with me. Then I caught what the commotion was all about—it was that God-damned little Omni, weaving in and out of traffic, cutting across three lanes, and heading straight toward me! I'd seen this happen before, when some hapless loser wants to make time and charges into the passing lane, but this guy seemed not to even notice any traffic around him at all!

In a split second the Omni was next to me. Traffic was in full motion now, so I lead-footed it and climbed to 70 MPH. Whatever this guy was up to he could be up to it 50 feet behind me. Then I hear this terrible sound like a tricked out Civic exhaust system with bronchitis and the guy's next to me again. His car is shaking like it's gonna fall apart too. I pushed it to 80 MPH and the same thing—the car shook harder and it sounded like the engine was gonna blow, but he was up beside me again.

I tried looking through the tinting on the Omni's windows but it was no good. For all I knew this Omni could be a driverless Transformer drunk off of bad energon cubes. So I braked. He braked. Everyone behind us was keeping their distance by about 15 cars. I began reaching for my celphone in case I couldn't get away from this guy and needed to call the state police when the window began rolling down. Then I saw this dickhead.

The man behind it was short, stout, had a mess of greasy red hair on his head, a drooping red mustache, and was yelling what looked like a string of emotionally charged profanities at me. He also had some sort of dark brown liquid dribbling from his lower lip off of his chin. He looked drunk to me, and I figured the brown stuff was Jägermeister. He started swerving wildly in what I took as an attempt to crash into my side and push me off the road. Right as he was about to ram me I floored it and punched ahead just in time.

My needle was buried now and I was putting distance between us. That's when I saw the guy's window fly out of his door and his exhaust system drop in the road. The black smoke was now coming from the center of his car's underbody and it was making the air grey all over 69. I slowed to 70 MPH again as I thought the ordeal was over, his car literally falling apart. And just as I took a breath of relief, the dying automobile jerked, wretched, and wobbled violently up next to me again.

A hand shoved the sun-roof off of the Omni, and the driver stood up through it with a shotgun. As he took aim I heard him shout, “You son of a bitch! I know who you are, God dammit it! I came all the way from PA so I could put a stop to your trolling, you motherfucker!”

A look of pure hatred then came over his drunken, ruddy face.

“I'm gonna have your dead ass, Trollaxor!”

I froze… But just as he was going to take his shot both front tires blew out and his transmission dropped. He was propelled forward from where he stood and I saw his body hit and crumple on the unforgiving concrete of US-69. His car swerved 90 degrees to the left and hit the impact wall, and the resulting explosion billowed into a thick black ball of flame and smoke.

I winced as I imagined the broken mess the EMTs would have to scrape off of the highway a few minutes from now. The police would have quite a story to put together too, explaining why a drunken man from Pennsylvania had ended up dead after wrecklessly chasing someone.

I knew I'd been very lucky today.

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