Old County Road: A True Story

An woman died on this road last month. She skidded on the ice in a snowstorm and unluckily went off of the road into an old quarry. Her car plunged thirty feet, crashed through the ice and sank twenty feet more to the bottom of the quarry. It was a week before the town could bring in divers to pull her out, and that whole week I drove past the quarry on the way to work and on the way home, every day, trying not to think about what I was driving by.

My cat died on this road, too, coincidentally. She’d been run over and was dying, so we brought her to the vet on Old County Road to have her put to sleep. She sank her teeth slowly into my hand and died while the vet was preparing the injection. I drive past the vet’s every day, too.

I try not to think about these things, much less write about them. But as if the black and blue sign for the vet’s and the flowers left on the twisted guardrail weren’t enough, this morning a tow truck was perched on the side of the road like a vulture; haunting the road like an ice cream truck haunts playgrounds, confident that it would soon find customers.

Suddenly as I drove by I couldn’t stand it anymore, and I pulled over to the side of the road. Leaping out of the car I began to run at the tow truck, waving my arms wildly in the air and shouting an exorcism:

“Avaunt, thou vulture,

Thou raven!

Thou albatross!

Begone!”

The driver of the tow truck sipped his coffee and looked at me impassively. I dropped my arms resignedly to my sides and began to turn back to my car. But just then I saw a hazy black shape flap up from the truck and ascend into the sky.

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