Monday, August 31, 2009

CSI:

No matter who it is, when we get there they are evidence. That's the only way you will keep your sanity.

Cresting the hill, the monstrous dragon of twisted metal lay on its side, smoke of its last breath leaking through the hole left by the absent grill. Snaking through gawkers in stationary cars the cruiser glided close, blue lights casting a pall over the scene. Gravel scritched beneath polished shoes, eyes squinting behind sun glasses, a last breath of hot air and exhaust before the scent of day old flesh assails us.

He is evidence now.

Winding our way through spilled Corn Puffs, seeping out through vicious tears along the seams of the trailer, adding color to the drab landscape under the overpass. Yellow, such a joyful color once, mixed with pools of green and brown fluid leaking rivers across the grey road. A lumpy white sheet, red rorshach blots, and one sneaker laying in the passenger floor board.

It is evidence now.

My pencil drags across my notebook, the sound becomes my meditation of attachment to reality, capturing vital information. Brown worn leather, his wallet lay open exposing what was, in pictures wrapped in old gas receipts and a wrinkled twenty dollar bill, and what will be calls to make, to inform loved ones waiting.

Just evidence now.

Sterile has a smell, in the back of the ambulance, draped across the gurney, probing fingers confirming the cause. Asleep at the wheel...down the exit ramp...into the bridge support...probably never woke up. Will never get where he was going.

Evidence now.

I remind myself to breathe, as we swiftly retreat to the air conditioned confines of our patrol, passed the now moving train of cars, forcing myself not to look in their eyes, to stop wondering who is next.

Evidence.

I don't think any of us set off intending to fall asleep at the wheel, one day we wake up and realise we have. Hopefully it comes before the crash.

37 comments:

Tom said...

yup, ya gotta be wide awake out there...never know who's coming down the road at you. Driving these days is one of the scariest things you can do!

blueviolet said...

We were hit head on a few years ago by someone asleep at the wheel.

Wings said...

Hopefully, indeed.

This happened to me on the way home from Florida about 10 years ago. Zoned out on a stretch in Jersey. Not good.

My brother is a truck driver, and his shift varies, this go round is the night shift. Always a thought in the back of your head. Scary stuff.

Sad, well-written piece, Brian.

otin said...

Haunting! I almost fell asleep at the wheel one time! I very rarely ever drive on trips at night, maybe that is why!

Pastor Sharon said...

Yikes! I never want to be "evidence".

Susan B. at warmchocmilk said...

I'm really enjoying each of your posts. I feel Like I can learn a lot from you. I like how you capture your reader right from the first sentence! You draw me in, and I can't stop reading until the end. Very good!

willow said...

It's so traumatic to see the aftermath of a deadly crash. All these thoughts do race through your head.

Nancy said...

Wow, very sad. We almost had a head-on yesterday with a car - the girl obviously texting. I agree with Tom - driving is scary business. If they're not drunk, stoned, texting, sleeping, talking on their cell phones, eating, working on their laptop, putting on makeup...

BeautifulWreck said...

I actually think about this alot. Another excellent post.

JeffScape said...

Love the metaphor. Love it.

And another kudo for "scritches" again! I don't think anyone uses that word in such heavy pieces except you.

Trademark it!

An Open Heart said...

My sister fell asleep at the wheel once, she rolled her car all the way across the highway....not a scratch on her nor did she hit anything......

Awesome work....

;o)
S

Megan said...

Accidents disrupt my commute. It makes me so wild, and I forget that there are people involved, and not just disruption.

Thanks for the reminder.

Maggie May said...

Driving along a boring route when you are tired, it is so easy to fall asleep even for a second. (I do this while watching TV) without much warning. Can be devastating.
Passing a crash is a stark reminder of our fragility.

Pastor Sharon said...

I left something for you at my place. Please stop by and pick it up when you can.

subtorp77 said...

Brian, remind me to send you a pic of the car I totalled, when I did this...the first time I got lucky and just scraped the shoulder gravel. The second time in volved black ice and over-correcting but I was able to walk away. And If isee a big rig weaving, I stay far, far behind or ahead...

only a movie said...

Nicely done. Lots of different wake up calls out there these days...

Alix said...

Wow.

Daniel said...

Powerful post here with an important message. Nice job today.

tony said...

Will never get where he was going.......
Mighty writing again Brian.
I am now scrolling down & catching up.
Cheers Tony.

Gaston Studio said...

Like Otin said, haunting post. Would that no one ever fall asleep at the wheel and leave a single sneaker in the passenger floorboard.

♥ Braja said...

Yowza.

Candie Bracci said...

Yes sometimes you got to stop to rest.Better arriving late than to never arriving at all!True :)

Lorraine said...

again impressive write...I'm in awe of your talent!

Betsy said...

I did a nod-off once driving home from work. Only for a second and I didn't leave the road. Scared me to death!

Love the CSI shows, btw.

Subby ~ twice? Remind me never to ride with you! LOL!

Meeko Fabulous said...

A very interesting look into the mind of a CSI. I've fallen asleep at the wheel before, but I've been lucky enough to scare myself awake. That's why we shouldn't drive when we're exhausted.

Ashley Kay said...

Have I ever told you how much I enjoy your writing? Well I REALLY DO! (thought you should know...)

Ashley Kay
lillawyer.blogspot.com

Ronda Laveen said...

My nephew is a firefighter and he rolls on all kinds of these fatal accidents. He has seen some gruesome things. Been doing it since he was 18 and he's 25 now. Don't know how he handles it emotionally.

TechnoBabe said...

Sounds so real, this is a good read.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

You really capture what I've heard from the police community about the emotional aftermath of their job. This also hits close to home as D and C were involved in such an accident when they were crunched between an RV and a truck where the truck driver had fallen asleep at the wheel. Thank goodness neither D and C were hurt, although the car was completely totaled. I am still thankful each and every day that things weren't worse.

Goofball said...

I've done so during an insane working project...fortunately while taking off at traffic lights at no speed at all with cars around me using their horn for my intention to cross the lines. Shit man!

I know I need to watch out, I try to avoid driving late at night but sometimes I must. I phone a lot when I believe I'm tired & on th road.

Hit 40 said...

The cops do not call you. You are asked to come all the way down to the hospital most of the time. They tell you there. Then, you have to pull it together to drive your self home. All by yourself.

Baino said...

We have a huge campaign here, "Stop, Revive, Survive" falling asleep at the wheel is a big problem in a huge country where people are tempted to drive for more than 3 hours at a time. Yet still the biggest killer is speed and I don't know how you stop people doing that.

Betsy said...

Hey...Happy Day to whom ever is having the birthday! :)

Cindybrown said...

WOW!! Powerful, you always amaze me:)

otin said...

I keep expecting to hear the Who! LOL!

Alan Burnett said...

Fine piece. Good writing, good reminder.

The Retired One said...

We are all just a breath away from that moment...
either as another car when they come at us...or a nod-off away from trying to do too much.
A good reminder!