The Dangers of Crossing the Street

Sometimes it doesn’t pay to haul my lazy carcass out of bed in the morning. I don’t drive.  (Judge if you will, but keep it to yourself.)  I live close to work and either take the bus or walk the mile-plus there and back.  It keeps my butt high and I could kill a man with my legs…or so I assume from my days as a ninja.  *shrug*

Roughly six months ago I got off the bus in the morning, unaware that I was about to have my life threatened by the Son-of-a-Bitch Van, sent shooting straight from Satan’s bowels to destroy me.  I have to cross the street to get to work and do so only with the light and when the sign says I can—not through any upstanding boy scout crap, just because I’m crossing a major, busy street and the opposing light is too short if you try to cross without the walk signal to indicate that it is safe to do so.

Well, safe-ish, anyway.

I work at about a thousand o’clock in the morning, so it was dusky, but I happened to be wearing white at the time.  I mashed the button to cross, waited for the walk signal to indicate that it was my turn to walk, and checked to my left to be sure there were no cars ready to make a right and send me whirling through the air like a damaged pinwheel.  I saw the ass-face across the street in the van pull out into the intersection and then slow.  I assume he saw me, as I had the goddamned right of way, and so I began crossing.

Luckily, I am light on my feet (thanks to all the aforementioned walking), and aware of my surroundings.  The Doom Van began making his left turn.  I thought he was just being an ass and trying to rush me, to which I was ready to respond with middle fingers.  I walk pretty damn fast as it is and I was almost at the middle island anyway.

Then I realized that he wasn’t slowing.  He was headed toward me and he had somehow picked up enough speed to do damage (I imagine that being vomited from Satan’s ass to do His bidding allows you to collect a great deal of speed in a short time).  It was surreal for a fraction of a second before my survival instinct said, quite calmly, “This man is going to mow you down.  Run.”

Calm or not, you don’t ignore that voice.

I ran.  Sprinted, in fact.  And it was still close.

The man snapped out of his Whore-for-the-Devil’s-Havoc possessed state for a moment and swerved.  It was, of course, too late.  He was in the crosswalk by the time he realized that he had almost struck a human being and, had I not sprinted forward, he would have hit me dead on.  I don’t think I cussed at him; I was too much in shock.  I did register that he was a man in his mid-to-late thirties, not unattractive, and bald as a baby’s ass (I would have said “bald as Beelzebub’s taint,” but I assume that is quite hairy and smells of brimstone).  He had the decency to look shocked and apologetic.

That time, anyway.

Several days later I saw the same van with the same Bald Minion driving it, and I knew terror.  There were other oncoming cars traveling with me, so he would have had to plow through several vehicles while the Wormy Pedestrian had time to scrunch and wiggle out of his path again.  Not worth it, apparently.

A few days after that, it was the same set up as the first.  No cars, no traffic, just me and him.  The light turned and I cautiously stepped out.  He pulled into the intersection and slowed again.  In retrospect I suspect that it was a ruse to lure me away from the safety of the curb.  I walked slowly at first, because the previous time he had made a left turn into the left lane, so I figured I’d have time to jump back if he decided I was too slow.  He stayed there.  So, I went for it.  I walked—very fast—across the street.

He waited, Dear Readers.  He f-ing waited.  I was nearing the left lane again and he went for it.  Again: that burst of speed, the realization that life and limb were in peril, the pulse of adrenaline, the sprint to safety, his ineffectual and tardy swerve.  This time I screamed the first thing that popped into my mouth.  “What the fuck is your fucking problem?!”  Eloquent, I know.  That’s called grace under pressure.  Take notes if you must.

He looked at me again, and then the worst part…he glared at me and shrugged.  He glared at me as if to say, “Well, fucker, you shouldn’t have been in my crosswalk.”  He shrugged as if to say, “Well, you shouldn’t have crossed when it was my turn.”

Looked at me like it was my fault, ladies and gentlemen.  As the crosswalk on the far side—the safe side—glowed with the green of my walk signal, this ass-bag looked at me as if it was my fault he was doing his damnedest to run my little (high) ass down.  The crosswalk, which was almost splattered with the darkness of my blood and chips from my bones, was a place of evil and deception.  It was not safe.  It was the River Styx, fraught with peril and potential pain, leading only to further torture…work.

A few days later I saw him in the parking lot of work—MY work—dropping off his wife, a woman I recognize but do not know.  Our eyes met and he smiled at me.  Perhaps he meant it to be an apologetic smile, but his devil-fangs and the red glow to his eyes made it seem insincere.  Imagine that.

Later that week he was waiting for me…in the parking lot of my work.  It was winter, so the mornings were getting darker and darker, and I didn’t recognize him at first.  There was no telltale puff of red smoke and sulfur, he was just there…apologizing.  It took me a second to realize that I was in the presence of evil, and during that time he had verbally shat out some spiel about running in the mornings and how he had almost been hit several times (and wanted to bestow the favor on an innocent?  Who can say?), and so he knew how it felt, and that he was sorry.  I wasn’t but fifteen feet from the front door to work, and he was approaching me, smiling, this time remembering to retract his extendable teeth, claws, horns, and forked tail.

I mumbled something, I don’t remember what, and walked swiftly for the door.

About a month later I had sudden, unexpected, horrific abdominal surgery.  I was out of work for six weeks and was ferried to and from work for over a month after that, as walking was both exhausting and painful.  A month or two passed and I was getting up my strength, but still had to take the bus to work…which put me in his path.

t week, it happened again.  Apparently, with several months passing since the last failed attack, and with me weaker and less spry, Satan thought He might attack again.  It was a struggle to cross the street at all, and so my mind was on just shuffling zombie-like across.  I checked to my left as I always do, and failed to see Thanatos’ Van hurling toward me from the other side of the street.

It’s amazing what adrenaline will do.  My incision, still red and painful, became less like a grip of thorns and fire, and more like…well, like it was on someone else’s body.  I sprint-shuffled.  Lucky for me, the Bald Death-Bringer saw me earlier than he had before, and so he swerved earlier.  I still would have been down and out, and with the area below my bellybutton so recently opened, I might have…spilled.  His speed, even for being launched from Satan’s Chute, was abnormal.  He hadn’t stopped this time.  He hadn’t slowed.  He was speeding to make the light.

And he shrugged at me again.  Again!

I thought about this all day, as well I might have, considering that I felt like I was being stabbed and stretched from the inside because I shouldn’t have been so active.  (I think I twisted oddly because I expected him to almost clip my shoulder as he had the last time).  Still furious, I got home and looked up the local police station’s number.  I called them and told them the story.  The guy at the police department said, “Soooo, you think he’s waiting for you?  You know how that sounds, right?”

I am proud to say that I did not snap at this troglodyte on the other end of the phone.  Instead, I said, “It sounds absolutely absurd!  But that doesn’t change the fact that I have had to literally run for my life on three separate occasions.  What, if anything, can I do about it?  Or do I have to wait until he actually manages to hit me?”

The man told me to make a log of the unsuccessful attempts at manslaughter and to call them if he does it again.  *nose in the air, dramatic*  He said that they would go get him and, I assume, I could press charges, or run over his smoked gonads, or sprinkle holy water on him, or whatever one does to a presumably possessed, failed assassin.  A friend at work knows his wife and agreed to carry my message: “I would really appreciate being allowed to live and to do so un-crippled, so please, PLEASE pay attention.”

Since then I have seen him a few times, but he now seems more aware.  He stays behind the line and doesn’t pull into the intersection.  He flashes his lights at me as if magnanimously allowing me to go first.  In the history of grandiose gestures of grace and charity, this may top the list.

But who can say when he will change his mind?  Who knows if he is just luring me into a false sense of security?  Who knows when he will be jettisoned forth from Satan’s Sphincter in a foul, apocalyptic birth, covered in brimstone and shame, ready to finally take out the One That Got Away?

If I suddenly stop writing, you can send flowers and gallons of holy water to the nearest hospital.