The Square Peg - Karmageddon
© S. Bradley Stoner
Saturday morning. Garage sale day. I stepped out of my front door expecting to see a small crowd in front of Bob’s house. Nope. The garage door wasn’t even open. For a moment I wondered if Bob had slept in. He does that sometimes, but usually on workdays. And nobody else on our block was doing a sale either. It was eerily quiet for a Saturday. I began to wonder if I had slept an extra day and maybe missed it all. I was about to go in when I spied Duncan Donutz’ big crew cab pickup coming up the street. That was odd, since Duncan usually approaches from the opposite direction. He slowed and pulled up in front of Bob’s house. Okay, that was really odd. I stepped off my porch and headed down the driveway.
As I crossed the street, Duncan got out and waved at me as he went around to the passenger side of the truck and opened the door. I wondered if he had given Bob’s wife a ride somewhere. That made sense, given the little garage sale dust-up yesterday. Nope. With Duncan helping, Bob slowly emerged from the passenger seat. He looked like something the cat dragged in. His left arm was in a sling, his head and nose were bandaged, his left lower leg was in a walking cast, and he had two enormous shiners.
“Holy crap, Bob,” I said, “was your wife that pee-oed?”
“Nothin’ like that,” Bob moaned.
“Well, what the hell happened to you?”
“Bob kinda wrecked his truck,” Duncan explained, and then proceeded to tell me the whole story.
It seems Bob had to run to the grocery store to pick up some things for the wife so she could fix a really late dinner in those Calphalon pans Bob was going to sell. So off he went to get the goods. That was uneventful. It was on his way back that things went south. Bob decided to take the slow way home. I guess he wasn’t anxious to enter the wife’s domain again right away.
“Well, ole Bob pulls up to the stoplight on the road up there,” Duncan pointed to the south, “and there’s this little white compact with racing stripes and a spoiler sittin’ there revving his engine. And you know Bob...”
Yeah, I knew Bob. Bob fancies himself a primo race car driver... even in his truck. I could just picture it. The little white car revving the engine and Bob goosing the big hemi. It must have made quite a racket. If I had been outside, I probably wouldn’t have missed it. But I was on the computer with Gracie Slick on my media player walloping out “Don’t you want somebody to love...” Since that particular stretch of road happens to be a favorite spot for street racers, I could just imagine what went down, but I didn’t have to. Duncan continued the saga.
“Yep, ole Bob, here, answered the challenge and when that light turned green they both tromped on the gas and peeled out, or so Bob told me. The little car got ahead for a few seconds, and then to hear Bob tell it, his hemi really kicked in and he shot past him.”
Bob nodded and groaned with the movement of his head.
“But... and it’s a big but,” Duncan paused for effect, “Bob forgot how short that stretch is. Those barriers were gettin’ big fast. Bob slams on the brakes and starts skiddin’. And he doesn’t skid straight, which, as I told him, is a little weird since he has an automatic braking system. I’ve investigated a lot of accidents and I figure Bob had to have turned that wheel a tad.”
Bog shook his head “no” and groaned again. But we knew better. Bob’s memory gets a little fuzzy when he’s done something stup... uh, foolish.
“Anyway,” Duncan persisted, “he goes into a sideways skid, jumps the curb of that parking lot... you know the one... and smacks into the only decent sized tree there. The air bag deploys and smacks Bob in the face really hard, breaks his nose, scrapes his forehead, and gives him a couple of black eyes.”
“That doesn’t explain the arm and leg,” I motioned to Bob’s left side.
“Oh that... you want to tell him, Bob?”
Bob shakes his head and groans again. He points with his right finger and says to Duncan, “You.”
Duncan nods. “Okay. Well, when Bob finally gets the door open... it was bent into the fender so it kind of jammed, so he had to force it... he sorta falls out of the cab because his step got snapped off when he jumped the curb. There’s this hole right there, so in goes his leg and he topples over and gets a hairline fracture in the lower leg bone. Oh, and when that happens he comes down on a manhole cover with his elbow and cracks one of those bones.”
“What about the white car?”
“No clue. It wasn’t there when I got there after Bob had the cops call me to give Bob a lift to the hospital so he could be checked out.”
“They should have called an ambulance.”
“Oh, they did, but Bob refused. Said he wasn’t going to pay those outrageous fees for an eight block trip, so I was elected.”
“I don’t know why this happened to me,” Bob finally whined.
Given Bob’s antics over the past year, Duncan and I kind of did. In unison we blurted out, “Karma.”
“More like Karmageddon,” Bob added miserably.