I’m somewhere between Virginia and Tennessee when my chest goes tight; my left arm stiffens, and my neck and jaw explode with pain. I jerk my dark blue; four-door used Japanese car to the other side of the two-lane road. A chorus of car horns accompanied by the distressed curses from my passenger clears my head long enough to realize…holy shit, I think I’m experiencing a heart attack! I put my beer in the cup holder and grip the wheel with both hands. With great effort, I white knuckle the mechanical beast back to the legal side of the road, clipping a stop sign in the process, “That’s going to leave a scratch,” I think to myself as I skid to a stop on the shoulder. Grabbing my beer, I scramble over my passenger, my elbow grazing one of her breasts causing my pants to tingle.
I tumble out of her window on the second attempt after greeting the window with my face on the first. The sound I make when I hit the ground is that of a raw steak, a thick porterhouse falling on the kitchen floor. Something cracks when I hit the pavement. Hopefully, it’s not my phone, maybe it just bone, I’ve got two hundred some of them knocking about, but only one phone. Soaked in sweat, swamp ass in my shorts, pit stains on my t-shirt. The heat of the pavement makes me feel like an egg, fried or maybe scrambled. I roll onto the grass to escape the skillet.
It’s the end I thought to myself, I’m going to die. Here on the shoulder of a road between two red states with only half a beer. Not even a good beer, but a cheap beer that’s only fit for NASCAR fans who don’t realize that there are other beers beyond what’s advertised in the commercials that break the monotony of the longest left turn you’ll ever see. I close my eyes and try to remember what I learned during my brief stint as an E-M-T. Somewhere in my heart, the blood flow has stopped due to damaged muscle, or maybe there’s a block. I didn’t pay much attention during the class, for god sakes it was at six-o-clock in the morning! I can’t even have a decent bowl movement that early. My colon doesn’t get up until eight or nine.
After a few minutes of controlled breathing, it occurs to me that I haven’t had a heart attack. My heart’s still beating. It’s fast but regular, at least as normal as possible considering my situation. I should have known; twenty-five is too young to have a heart attack. Those are for fat old bastards who don’t care about themselves. I’m years away from dying on the toilet while surfing the net. All though I hope when I do go that it’s during rush hour, so I snarl traffic. I want to inconvenience as may people as possible.
I stay on my back for awhile and look up at the sky trying to find shapes in the clouds and thinking about how I got to be here on the side of this road holding a cheap beer
– To be continued…