This is one of several stories I wrote that was inspired by seeing several stuffed animals that had been dumped up next to a highway divider. My curiosity was sparked, and I wrote the stories to provide an explanation for why they were there.
Name’s Lance Rimshot. My friends call me Lance. I work for the Department of Toys and Services. Its friends call it “DoTaS.”
It was Wednesday night. Wednesday’s the night that Mom goes over to Edna’s for cards. Those ladies like to play late, so I stayed up until she came home, watching rented movies. You don’t need to know what kind.
Later I was asleep. The phone rang and I was awake. It was three AM on the clock next to the phone. It was the old kind of clock with the white numbers that click when they flip. But you don’t need to know that.
It was the boss. I did some quick calculations. At this hour, it couldn’t be an intervention with some girl to explain why Barbie looked so much different from mommy. Or some pale little hombre who had been spending so much time killing aliens in a game that he had told his father that he wanted to move to a different “mod” so he could get more “frags.” No, this one was going to be different.
“Lance,” the boss says. “We need you on I-84 West between exits 29 and 30, where it slices through Hartford. Pronto.”
“Right.” I said it slow, rolling the “r” in my mouth, and saying the “ght,” like they did in Olde English. I hung up the phone. I stripped off my pajamas and jumped into yesterday’s work clothes. I thought it would be nice to have a wife to kiss on the head. But after seeing some of the stuff I’ve seen, you get to where it’s best not to talk.
I jump into the Pinto and turn the key. Nothing but a click. The boss keeps saying it’s only got to last one more winter. He’s been saying that for three.
I release the emergency break and shift down to second. I hold the key forward in the ignition and take my foot off the break. I let her get some speed down the hill until about where I swerve around old Wilson’s car. My foot jumps off the clutch and she gives a grunt and a good buck and turns over. I’ll tell you, once she gets going, she doesn’t purr, she growls.
Out at the sight it’s a grisly scene. The boss hands me a cup of coffee and my eyes have to adjust to the night, the whirling red and blue lights, and the intense red burn of the road flares. The few drivers crane their necks to get a good look. One lady turns pale and almost swerves off the road. Trust me, a bunch of bears lying in their own stuffing isn’t any prettier when it’s lit up like Christmas. I step over to block the view. It’s better they don’t see.
Tune in tomorrow for part 2!