FEELING GUILTY, SUICIDE, RACISM, and FALLING IN LOVE (lifted pages and quotes from Broken People, by Scott Hildreth)
This book is filled with satire, seriousness, and always has a story to tell.
Please take time to read it, you’ll be changed forever.
From a FAT KID Chapter…
And, as the mother completes one more scheduled late night careful administration of anesthesia, their daughter swallows in a Seven Eleven parking lot. The preteen cries for help went unanswered. Teenagers, eventually, turn into adults. Adults get married, have children, and expose their children to the abusive behaviors of a codependent relationship. And the cycle continues. Shellie would be no exception. But, it was the suicide threat that concerned me. As I drove, I wondered what was behind the suicide. There is always a reason, something, an event that takes them over the edge, making the pain unbearable. Sometimes it may be a combination of items that the person just can’t comprehend living with, but it’s always one thing that takes them over the edge. It’s not that they actually want to die. Generally, they just want the pain to stop.
Grant me the serenity,
To accept the things I cannot change;
The courage to change the things I can;
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Why could people not just apply this prayer to everyday living? Maybe, to all things that life offered them? I often wondered. For me, it was second nature. Still thinking about what may have taken Shellie over the edge, I drummed my fingers on the gear shift to the music. It seemed as though my hands were always busy doing something, and I rarely sat still. Just as I was finishing the current song on the play list, I looked up at the road. When I did, I noticed the brake lights of the car in front of me, but I forgot to react. I watched, in horrific slow motion, as the front of my BMW hit the rear of the twenty five year old Ford Taurus.
As I impacted the car, and pushed it about five feet forward, I did not think about damaging the Taurus. I didn’t wonder if anyone was hurt, or what may or may not have happened. I wondered what my current wreck count was. Fifteen? Thirty? Seventy? I had, over the course of the last year or so, rear ended at least five people. Each time, I needed a new hood, the front bumper repainted, and new grilles. In past years, I typically had a wreck about twice a year. Each time, I would rear end someone.
Disappointed, I got out of the car, not even paying attention to the car in front of me. I turned and looked at the front of the BMW, and as I suspected, it needed the standard repair. Hood, grilles, and bumper repaint. This was my third e46 platform BMW M3. I had driven this particular series of car for ten years, and it had become a trademark of mine. All I did was change colors. I vowed to never have anything else.
As I turned to the car that I had hit, and then focused my eyes on the fifty something year old woman that had exited from the Taurus. She got out, turned to me, and said, “What in the world were you doing? I can tell you what you weren’t doing, and that’s paying attention to driving. I watched you for the last three miles. Are you just drunk?” Her voice sounded like it was created by a rubber band that was stretched too tight, and left in the California sun for a summer.
She was dressed like a bum, and it appeared that her last few dollars were spent on her cigarettes, one of which hung from her right hand. She stunk like a tobacco bonfire, and I was ready for her to vanish. Her hair didn’t look like it had been washed for quite some time. Nice look, lady. Dreadlocks on a fifty year old white woman. Well, if she fell asleep smoking, at least her hair wouldn’t immediately go up in flames. Or would it? I stood and wondered if the grease in the dreadlocks would be an accelerant or a deterrent.
“Ma’am, I am sorry for the damage to your car. Maybe we should pull over and discuss matters,” I looked at her hair with disgust, but offered a smile. I suspect I looked like a liar.
“I have called the police,” she said. “That’s what I was doing while you were looking at your car.” She blew smoke from her grotesquely tan nose as she spoke. Her lips were wrinkled and covered in lines.
“Police?” I uttered. “Why did you call the fucking police? This is something we can settle right here and now. I do not want to wait for the police.”
“Well, when you are involved in a wreck, you call the police. It is required” she said, taking another unnecessary pull from what appeared to be a cigarette butt.
Standing in front of her, I made eye contact. With my hands in my pockets, I tried to convince her, “It is not required, it is recommended,” I lied. “We can settle this right here and now, without the police, and go about our way, and everyone’s happy.” She started to interrupt, but I continued, and added a little embellishment, “You decide what the damage repairs to your car are worth, and I hand you cash. It’s that simple. You decide, plain and simple. I haven’t had my insulin shot this morning, and I need to get home as soon as possible. Truth be known, I am sure that’s why I was daydreaming. What do you think?”
Puzzled, she looked at me and spoke, “Let me get this straight, I give you an amount, and you pay me caaaaaaaash?” The word ‘cash’ lasted a lifetime. I waited, as she attempted to finish her sentence, for the rubber band in her throat to snap.
“Yes ma’am, cash,” Pointing to the side of the road, I continued. “But we either need to settle this, or move to the side of the road. We are going to get hit. Again.” I was trying to encourage her to make a decision so I could leave before the police arrived.
People had gathered, and were watching the show, asking to make sure we were not injured. She looked at the rear of her car, looked at the sides, and placed her hand on her chin. Turning to face me, she made her offer.
“Two hundred dollars.” She raised one eyebrow, and tossed the butt in the street, stepping on it with her toe.