Tin / stories / 2018 / Grind

June 14, 2018

(Based on an actual event.)

“DID ANYONE CALL 911?!” I screamed as I jumped out of my car.

“YES,” a voice rang out plainly to me. I felt stupid for asking. It would end up being my only contribution towards the entire disaster.

The man in his car behind me – Kenneth, I would like to say – had just gotten out of his own vehicle and ran resolutely to the aid of whoever was trapped in the flipped over cold, blue car. It was as if whoever was in that cold, blue car was an old, forgotten friend of Kenneth’s and the two had suddenly been reunited under the most unfortunate and undesirable of circumstances. They started to darkly mingle through the passenger side window which happened to be rolled down or perhaps even broken out from the impact or resulting tumble.

Kenneth then plunged headfirst, landing waist-deep into its distress.

I took time to survey the intersection. The asphalt was decorated with debris like some sort of bad ceremony committed by a dark sorcerer who now no doubt smiled upon its success. A side mirror laid lifeless and silent in the middle of it all. It beckoned to be picked up and cradled – to somehow be put back where it thought it rightfully belonged.

I then stole a few steps forward in hopes to gain more sense from a scene that had none to sell. Around and beyond the cold, blue car that had swallowed Kenneth was the truck. It, too, was cold and quiet, perhaps even more quiet and cold than the cold, blue car. I dared not to venture further.

Several people were walking around the area now, having stopped their own cars as well to get out and survey the aftermath of the accident that had just occurred, or to perhaps verify their perception of reality was legitimately aligned with the incredible and disastrous images that we were all witnessing now. We all walked around, wondering how we could possibly help. Everyone but Kenneth, that is – he was the only hero remaining from the lot of us helpless onlookers, who were now coalescing in bewildered amazement, scratching and pawing for any sort of etiquette or perhaps a manual to guide us from here. I could only help myself to feel as lifeless and cold and eerily quiet as all the surrounding environment that reflected around us at that moment, desperate for any sort of sense or order.

As if by spell, I retraced my steps and walked back around and stared at the cold, blue car, with half of Kenneth in despair now wrestling with the life that still remained within there.

Another older gentleman who was wandering about approached within talking distance to me. Or maybe it was I that approached in talking distance to him. He looked like a Robert.

“Should we try to flip the car over?” I asked Robert. My IQ had clearly retreated along with my courage.

“No.” Robert replied. “You risk hurting the individuals inside. It’s best to wait for the professionals to arrive.”

Stunned with stupidity, I then wondered where those professionals were, and immediately felt a swift rebuke for my childish impatience. I had heard of time slowing down when in tragedy or traumatic situations, and I was now part of that sullen, unfortunate collective.

I could now only stare at the driver’s side door of the cold, blue car. I wondered what it would be like if I collected the courage to somehow wander down into that brown, dirty ditch and look inside. What would look back at me? How many others were in that car? Are they all… intact? All I could do was stare and feel like a worthless configuration of reality at that moment in time, one that was no hero or even a human being at this exact moment or even on this day in its entirety, and certainly not one that would be doing any activity that human beings should be doing in such a situation. My stare intensified. The cold, blue door on the cold, blue car then looked barren and rang steeply in hollow, as if encasing me by some sort of transparent yet metallic vibration upon witnessing such a solemn specter.

It was then in that moment that I became that cold, blue car with its cold, blue door: alone, helpless, and afraid. I was a forgotten child now, lost in a mall somewhere, not knowing where my parents were or if they even noticed that I was missing. A chilling shift shuddered throughout me, and I was an adult again, feeling like a certified coward, frozen in fear – as frozen and helpless and upside down as that upside-down cold, blue car with its upside-down cold, blue door.

What seemed to have been an hour had passed, and at last a mighty siren could be heard from afar, breaking me from my morbid staring contest with the cold, blue car and its cold, blue door. I would soon be allowed to leave. A sense of foreign, guilty relief flowed over me after thinking of such a selfish notion.

The patrol car arrived with crisp, commanding authority and parked itself in the middle of the main road. The indisputable sign had been delivered: Order had arrived. And the gallant officer responsible for maintaining Order emerged from Its now-opened, brave, and awesome door.

He hailed from Rome. A centurion from simpler times, when nobles reigned without dispute amongst each other. A time when the regal, cascading, forest-green mountain lands ever so elegantly and perfectly measured between the pure, white-blue, and beige shores all respected and obeyed the republic’s every righteous request and cultivated command, working as one in harmony between nature and mankind.

His armor at once reflected Rome’s magnificence and righteousness, casting veering vectors of powerful prestige to those who would dare behold such overwhelming glory and wondrous majesty. The vision! The stately and sure shine of the golden Sun gazed upon his dedicated service and elucidated his most exceptional esteem, etching his brave, earnest efforts into the ether as well as our collective, eternal essence. The splendor! These radically radiant rays hearkened at last his noble presence to the lost souls who were all scattered about now, deep in a trance now, wandering around in a hopeless daze now, having all their senses and lives stolen swiftly by the thief known as Chaos.

The deliverance!

We were all spellbound and in confusion by this thief known as Chaos now, no doubt a bad yet central actor of this terrible manuscript now unfolding currently before us. At once, the centurion unsheathed Honor, his most majestic blade of legend, with Lady Gravity releasing Her countenance and song, directing Honor’s balanced and scaled weight in full along a most perfect arc of ascension towards the high sky of Freedom in preparation for what was to occur next, prompting the muses to gasp in tragic anticipation.

In Freedom, the northern sky of flight, a metallic storm formed in psalm. Lady Gravity’s chorus then gripped the sure steel of Honor, whose bladed and balanced weight was now the instrument of choice for the brave centurion, the noble soloist chosen for this orchestra of confusion we found ourselves enjoying now. Bringing his full weight to bear upon Its every classical note in unison with the suddenly assembled choir of muses who were now more glory than gasps, the gift of a most epically forged metal crescendo was ceremoniously presented to the thief known as Chaos, steel meeting steal.

Oh, the unstoppable magnificence of Honor! Hail! For the glory of Rome and all things noble, true, and just!

Life is at once struck with remarkable finality and singing clarity out of the once terrifying and menacing but now preposterously-considered and laughably-deployed thief known as Chaos. Much needed and missing senses started to flow again to all the nearby commoners, where they each now found themselves rightfully reunited with their own wits once again. Slowly, they started to soak in their own lives at this time, returning to that which was once familiar.

Startled, I snapped out of my own sordid spell, returning to see the officer fixing and tightening his gloves as he approached closer, confidently and courageously walking towards the cold, blue car and a half-swallowed, gyrating Kenneth who was more cold, blue metal than human now. The straight, scoured line across the officer’s brave face had said it all: he was about to put those heroic hands of his into some incredibly genuine grade A grief.

Still staggering out of my helpless hallucination, I headed back to my car as if in a fog. “It’s best to go now,” I remarked to Robert, who strangely enough had already started to head back to his own vehicle. We knew it was just a matter of minutes before more centurions emerged from the void to arrive upon this once all-too-quiet, all-too-cold encampment that was now home to the upside-down cold, blue car and its upside-down cold, blue door, the very one that took hold of me by some inexplicable, transparent yet metallic force and somehow changed my life forever.

“We’ll just be in the way,” I ejected.

RIP Pastor Timothy Olsen, you have indeed received your Crown of Life.