I was with Slick, smoking pot. We were hotboxing my car in the Kroger parking lot. It was dark out, around ten o’clock at night, and we were very high. My car was in the far corner of the parking lot, facing the grocery store, hidden in a dark pocket under a few trees. The orange light coming from the tall light poles engulfed the barren concrete lot in front of us. An older man walked out of the store. He was wearing a Kroger uniform and it looked like he was just getting off work. Something about him grabbed our attention. He walked slowly, very slowly, hanging his head and shuffling his feet, as if another hour on the clock would’ve killed him. We watched him make his way towards his car.
“Dude looks pretty bummed.”
“For real, man. We should let him hit this.”
We kept watching him. He got in his car, backed up out of the parking space, and kept backing up until the back of his car hit a light pole. There was an audible thump as his rear bumper crumpled against the base of the pole.
“Damn. That fucking sucks.”
He got out of his car right away. Just as he got back there to assess the damage, he realized his car was rolling forward. He had left it in drive and it was idling with the driver’s door still open. He shook his head, obviously disappointed in himself, and started jogging back towards the driver’s seat to stop the car from rolling and possibly hitting something. Just then he realized his car was rolling straight towards another light pole in front of it. He started sprinting and I could sense a desperation in his body language. He couldn’t let life get the best of him again. Not back to back like this. For reasons more psychological than material, he needed to save his front bumper. The car was picking up speed, closing in on the pole, but he wasn’t giving up.
“Dude! He’s gonna do it!”
I was holding my breath. This was it. Now or never. He made a final lunge, jumping towards the driver’s seat. He was airborne, looking rather heroic, until – SLAM!! The car smashed into the pole.
“Oh fuck! Double Whammy!”
Upon impact the car stopped completely and the door positioned itself perfectly, allowing him to fly full speed into it and spear himself in the chest with the sharp top corner. I thought it had impaled him.
“Oh my fuck! TRIPLE WHAMMY!!!”
He fell to the ground, where he remained motionless in the orange glow, ruined by his traitorous car door. Based on what I had just seen, I figured his rear and front bumpers would need to be replaced, and I feared his body would too. The whole unfortunate incident had occurred in less than ten seconds. Conley and I looked at each other, flabbergasted.
“Should we help him?”
Before we could react, the guy got up and hunched over with his hands on his knees, catching his breath. He looked around, probably checking to see if there were any witnesses he would have to kill. But he couldn’t see us. We always chose our smoking spots very carefully. Then the poor bastard limped over to his newly disgraced automobile, got in, and drove away.
more by S.P. REILLY
photograph by Olaf Hüttemann