That Night

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I heard the shriek of tires and then the resounding crash. It sounded more like a propane bottle exploding than two vehicles trying to occupy the same space at the same time. What’s the odds? If only one car had arrived sooner, or maybe stopped in town for fuel. Anything. This might not have happened.

I called the sheriff. One of his deputies was first to arrive, then came the ambulance. It was already dusk, so I didn’t venture onto the highway, knowing the passing motorists would be watching the flashing lights, not for some old bastard on foot. Then they’d have two accidents to investigate.

I’m not sure how long the activity continued, an hour, maybe two, while the sheriff and his deputies dropped a few cones, cordoned off the area with yellow do-not-cross tape, took measurements, and snapped pictures.

Eventually someone closed the ambulance doors and they headed for town without flashing lights and at a normal rate of speed. The wall clock indicated 10 o’clock when everyone finally left. Everything was quiet except for the bugs and tree frogs. Flashing my light around I spotted the skid marks, then a wheel cover and broken glass. If it weren’t for that one wouldn’t even know anything had happened.

I was heading back to the house when I came across the heavy rubber work glove in the ditch.

I stooped over to pick it up. It was heavy. There was something in it. Having spent time in the desert coexisting with rattle snakes and other unfriendly creatures, I learned not put my s in places I can’t see. So I took it by the finger and turned it upside down. A hand fell out. I was stunned. For a minute I couldn’t get my breath. There was a man’s wedding band on one finger. I looked down the road toward town hoping against hope, but no one was in sight. Everybody with any authority was already back in town. Dropping the glove back in the ditch beside the hand, I headed for the house to call the sheriff’s office.

It shouldn’t be hard to match that up.

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