Heading to my nature trail this morning, my mind on that damn EFFIN’ ALBERT query. Kicking that thing around in my head, looking at it from different angles, trying to come up with a way to show my mc Mike and his little brother Albert are truly in a world of hurt, trapped in burgeoning nightmare. Mom’s new boyfriend is the Boogeyman personified. Nobody’s going to help them, nobody’s stepping in to save them. Mike knows it even if Albert doesn’t: if they don’t stop that cop, they’re dead ducks.
So I’m driving pretty much on autopilot, heading east toward the river, thinking about dead ducks and then I hit the brakes. Believe it or not, there’s a damn duck right in the middle of the road, my lane. Just standing there. I’m thinking, Okay, duck. What the hell are you doing? Cross the road already.
Then I see his mate, guts smeared across the asphalt. How I didn’t see the carnage before that, I don’t know.
The drake lurches left into the other lane and I stop thinking. Shut the engine off and get out, walk into the other lane with my hand up, stopping oncoming traffic. Hoping I am, anyway.
Meanwhile, the poor thing’s kind of staggering, beak bloody at the tip but I don’t see any open wounds. He’s lurching a little bit but it doesn’t look like his leg is broken. He’d been rocked, though. Shaken to the core. Blindsided by the Boogeyman at 30 mph.
Shit happens when you least expect it. Maybe somebody steps in before you get hurt; steers you away from the carnage and in the right direction. If they do, count yourself lucky and don’t look back.
Mike and Albert aren’t lucky. Their Boogeyman is standing on the front porch, flashing a badge and a smile. It’s up to them to stop that fucker, up to Mike to figure out how to do it, up to me to show that in a query. But I digress.
I kept my hand up and people stopped and the duck somehow made it to the side of the road, then down the embankment and out of sight. Shaking, I walked back to my van, got in, got her started. I took off slow and tried to stop myself but I couldn’t help it. I glanced back once in the rearview.
Wish I hadn’t done that.