Present Tense

Present Tense – #12

We were driving back from New Mexico when it all went to hell, very quickly.

I was in the driver’s seat, as it was my “turn”. We had been tag-teaming it every few hours or so since we left Pecos, thousands of miles behind us. This was a relationship-saving plan, as opposed to our journey to Pecos, wherein I had stupidly driven the entire way. I don’t know what I was thinking. Perhaps I was finally atoning for some of my college sins, as opposed to that asshole Kavanaugh who is currently lying his way through those nationally-embarrassing confirmation hearings.

Yes, I just said “asshole” on this otherwise pristine and angelic blog. If the shoe fits…

Anyway, I’m driving, and it’s been a rather stellar day, weather-wise. We’ve had sunshine and chirping birds since we crossed the state line hours ago. (At least I think the birds were chirping, whipping past us as quickly as they did. They might have been screaming. After all, Texas is a red state.) I’m singing along to the radio because my partner and I have been together since Madonna was a child and we are way over the comfort threshold. Right in the midst of an exuberantly-peppy dance tune, circa 1986, I suddenly realize that the sky directly in front of us (you know, the place where we are heading and cannot avoid) is immensely dark and speaks of Satan.

“Is it supposed to rain today?” queries me.

“I don’t think those are the right lyrics for this song,” says Partner, whipping out his cell phone in order to fact-check, because proving each other wrong replaced sex in our relationship around the time Madonna divorced Guy Ritchie. These things happen, but our love is still river deep, mountain high.

“No, really, look at the sky. I smell Toto in the air.”

Then BAM, the heavens opened up and every single angel, even the lazy ones, threw out their bath water with a vindictiveness that would be openly discussed at the next church social. Wait, that doesn’t quite do the scene justice. Let’s just say that a hurricane suddenly appeared, one that hadn’t been named because there had been layoffs at the National Weather Service. (The Trump Administration doesn’t believe in climate change, unlike the rest of the world, so funds had been diverted to Cheeto’s reelection campaign.)

I was not impressed.

Neither was my car. The traction warning light was blinking, letting me know that the tires were essentially no longer touching the pavement, swimming upstream in this twisted tribute to salmon trying to mate in an Alaskan river where kayakers disappear repeatedly. It took every ounce of my (admittedly questionable) driving skills to keep the car on the road and moving forward. The speedometer dropped down to roughly 30 mph and stayed there, bitching the entire time.

Several of the cars in our temporary entourage (you know what I mean, the cluster of unrelated vehicles on road trips who end up travelling together for long stretches because you’re all driving the same speed and headed in the same direction) cried uncle and pulled off to the side of the road. Some of the drivers pulled out rosaries. Others cracked open a can of beer. We all have different ways of dealing with adversity.

I dealt with it by continuing plow forward, determined. We had roughly 150 miles to go at this point, and there was no way in hell that I was pulling over for anything. We had been on the road for months (okay, eight hours) and my soul could not process an intermission at this point.

Thirty minutes later, I didn’t have a soul, reduced to a quivering mass of jelly that only vaguely responded to stimuli, my pale hands in full rigor mortis on the steering wheel.

Thirty-one minutes later, the rain stopped.

I turned off the windshield wipers and said to my partner: “You need to send me that photo.”

Partner: “What the hell are you talking about?”

Me: “The photo I asked you to take of the weird truck we saw with the bears.”

Partner: “Why would I want to do that?”

Me: “Because you love me. And because we should have known, when we saw that mess, that something was not right about this road. People need to know.”

He eventually sent it.

And I eventually wrote this post.

If you see something like this beside you on the nation’s highways, brace yourself. Something wicked this way comes.

Cheers.

 

 

35 replies »

  1. Incredibly disturbing to think of where those bears might be going. With any luck and divine justice, they’re going to pin Brett K. to a bed, cover his mouth, and laugh big prerecorded bear laughs. And then someone will tell him to just deal with it and not ruin the lives of young bears by telling what happened.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Perfect analogy! I just might have to start a GoFundMe account, so I can hire this truck to go perform rambunctious retribution on those who have gotten away with things they shouldn’t have as well as those who blindly support the perpetrator just to get a political win…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The bears are obviously Satan’s workers in disguise, pretending to be Smokey. And the angels dumping out their bathwater, vindictively? Obviously believed you had Kavanaugh in your back seat and were trying to save our world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • See, I knew Kavanaugh was making too much noise in the trunk of the car, even after I smacked him in the head with the tire jack. Next time I try to whisk someone out of the country before he can be confirmed by the Senate, I’ll try to plan a little better with the subterfuge…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Maybe employ some assistance so you can move faster. Of course, had there been a thorough investigation instead of just a pretend investigation, you would have had more time.Bravo for your attempts.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Uh, bears just entered my list of “things that so ain’t right, they might even be evil”…short list includes: Clowns and monkeys, both of which are evil and do not ever need to cross my path. Spiders are on there too. And now bears. Huh. Those wouldn’t be so horrifying IF the one eye that is visible actually had a pupil or some semblence of ‘reality’ instead of that opaque quality that any vigilant movie goer knows signals something evil lurks ‘within’. My gawd. The things you see when you ain’t got your gun. Guns being a bad thing to take if one is on a road trip, even with a deeply loved one. Twelve hours in an enclosed space has resulted in murder in more than rig driving family or couple at least. I think I was lucky hubby and I didn’t end up in prison after we drove to New York (state) in his rig…

    Liked by 1 person

    • So, apparently, your ultimate nightmare would be a monkey-clown dressed up as a bear and riding a giant spider. Got it. I’ll see if I can come up with a story that is chilling but also oddly entrancing, which is how one goes about creating the best horror stories.

      But this gun thing. It sounds as if there may have been an incident with you and Hubby at some point, or am I misreading this? Do tell. Maybe I can work it into the story about the monkey-clown…

      Like

  4. Your storytelling is top-notch and the picture is priceless. I hope you gave it Facebook and Twitter time as well.
    I’m thinking they must be headed to an amusement park or else will be mascots for a new chain of bakeries, Patty Cake Bear Claws (complete with stumpy tails).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I suppose I should give this one some love on Facebook and Twitter, but I’m just not feeling it right now. (I just got an email from Twitter, saying something along the lines of “You have 73 pending notifications!” 71 of them probably say that my account will be terminated if they can’t detect a pulse in the next 48 hours.

      That aside, I simply MUST write a Crusty Pie about Patty Cake Bear Claws. The urge is very compelling…

      Liked by 1 person

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