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The Sunday Squirrel: crash

Joe Peter (aka J.P.) knocked the books out of Betsy's hand. “What a clumsy, ugly girl you are. Is that why your parents left?”

She flinched, but kept her eyes on the ground. Bringing her abandonment into it was a low blow, but one he was particularly fond of. Betsy had learned years ago not to engage him in any way. If she ignored him, he'd get bored and go bother some other poor kid.

He flicked her on the forehead. “Later, Buttface.” His two buddies snickered and hurried after him as he strode toward the parking lot.

She picked up her books and straightened. Tom, the black-clad, tough-looking new kid stood before her holding out her Calculus book.

“Don't worry, Betsy,” he said with a surprisingly low voice for his thin frame. “Karma has a way of taking care of things.” He gave her an odd smile and walked away.

If karma were real, J.P. wouldn't make it through high school. Betsy wasn't a malicious person, but that boy had made it his personal mission to grind her into the dirt, and she wished someone would do the same thing to him for a change. She marched out to her car, eager to get home to the sanctuary of her grandmother's rose garden. She put him out of her mind and set her thoughts to college as she drove toward home. Only six more months until she was free.

She idled at the traffic light, surprised to see Joe Peter's tricked out hot rod to her left in the double left turn lane, a girl in the seat next to him, his friend, Roger, in the car behind him. When the light turned green, J.P. and Roger gunned it. Roger swerved in front of her car before she'd even completed her turn, and tried to pass J.P. on the right.

“Jerks,” she muttered, watching in disbelief as J.P. weaved slowly from side to side across all three lanes, blocking Roger's passage. Betsy hung well back, not wanting to get mixed up in their dangerous antics. Where were the cops when you needed them?

Eyes riveted to J.P.'s bright red car, her mouth opened in horror as his car swung sharply back toward the center island. As if in slow motion, it hit the curb, the rear end flying up almost perpendicular to the ground. The car jumped onto the island, it's tail slamming back to earth as it crashed nose-first into the wheel of a semi-truck heading the other way.

Time sped up again, and it seemed as if whole minutes had passed rather than mere seconds. Numb with shock, she passed the wreckage. The girl who'd been in J.P.'s car was sprawled on the pavement trying to push to her knees. J.P. was still behind the wheel, holding his head. Roger had sped away from the scene.

The truck driver leaped out of his cab, a cell phone pressed to his ear. All around her cars came back into focus as they stopped along the roadside.

She glanced at J.P. again. Maybe there was such a thing as karma after all. With that thought, Betsy pulled to the side of the road and dialed 911. Then she got out of her car and headed for the wreck.

There were two people who needed her help.


NOTE: The accident portion of this story is based on an incident I witnessed during my senior year of high school on my way home. I was right behind two boys who played this game on the road. The only thing that happened differently is that they hit a woman in a car (not a semi), injuring her too. The boys and girl were students at my school, but I didn't know them.

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  1. Reply

    Wow! What a scene. Great piece of writing. Had me riveted to my seat.

    Good to see you bring this story to light. Too many people dying on roads needlessly.

    Thank you.

    • Reply

      Thanks, Daryl. Luckily nobody was seriously injured, but it really ticked me off to watch them being so stupid. After the shock wore off anyway…

  2. KM Fawcett


    Nice scene, Gwen. My only suggestion is to add some sounds (screeching tires, the crunch of the metal) to make the readers feel they are there experiencing the crash. Roger’s a jerk for speeding away. I’m sure Karma will find him too.

    • Reply

      Thanks. Sounds are a good idea. I probably should have added more visuals of flying glass and such too. This is the problem with impromptu writing. I only give myself a limited time and then I don’t touch it again. I guess that’s part of the fun.

      What’s odd is that I have no recollection of sounds from this crash at all, except that I can still remember the song I was listening to in the car: CLEAN by Depeche Mode.

      • KM Fawcett


        These are great writing exercises. How long to do allow for time and how do you pick your topic?

        • Reply

          Kathy: I’m a bit loose with the guidelines, but basically I pick a word from a word generator (or think of one). Then I write the scene (no real time limit except the need to get to bed) and allow myself a quick pass before I publish. I also try to limit the size. No more than 500 words, which sometimes makes it hard to get a whole scene in without confusing the reader.

          When I started these, they were daily and just a quick paragraph where I tried to “show not tell”. They began morphing into full scenes with a beginning, middle, and end, so I moved them to once a week. Here’s how it all started:

          Thanks for your interest!

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