(From the unpublished novel, Copyright: 2010 Donald Riggio.)
...The road opened up onto a long straightaway. The two vehicles were neck and neck, when both drivers made the same tragic mistake. Danny yanked his steering wheel to the left while the driver of the pick up turned his hard to the right.
The vehicles collided with a loud crash, both of them careened out of control. The convertible spun around once. In a flash, a last glance of terror passed between Joseph and Danny as the car went off the road, lurched into a culvert and began to roll.
Joseph was thrown clear of the car, hurtling through the air like a rag doll. He came to earth with a bone-crunching thud and tumbled over rocks and grass. Dirt got into his eyes, his nose and his mouth until he finally stopped rolling. Unbearable sounds followed, horrible crashing noises very close by. An explosion, perhaps the gas tank rupturing, then nothing.
He felt dazed and in great pain, his movements were severely hampered. He lay flat on his back, fighting to raise his head but to no avail. He Managed to turn his head to the right. Through badly blurred vision, he caught sight of the smashed, overturned Ford. Its wheels, pointed skyward, were still turning, but it wasn’t on fire. The explosion must have come from the pick up truck.
“Danny?” Joseph called out weakly. No answer. Blood flowed into his eyes from somewhere on his head. The pain grew worse. For a moment silence folded in around him. Then, there was music, a piano at first, distant and soft, Chanticleer’s guitar followed, slow and bluesy. Was it real or imagined? He looked to find the source but couldn’t. He felt his consciousness slip away. Joseph decided to just listen to the music and close his eyes.
When Joseph woke again, he was moving. He lay flat on something with wheels being hurried along a corridor. He could make out the large figure of a man walking alongside him. Not a doctor, but a sheriff or deputy of some kind. The man peered down at him with a look of great concern. Joseph felt the need to make some sort of report.
“The pick up…” he struggled with his words.
“Take it easy boy. You’re banged up pretty bad,” the lawman said.
“Black pick up truck ran us off the road.”
“We know all that, son. Family owns a spread out that way saw the whole thing. After the crash the pick up slammed into a tree and blew sky high. Both occupants were killed instantly.”
“Danny?” Joseph asked.
“You’re friend? I’m afraid he didn’t make it either. You lay quiet now, the doctors are gonna’ do all they can for you.”
Joseph became frightened. Danny and those other boys were dead. What possible chance did he have? The parts of his body that didn’t hurt, he couldn’t feel. Maybe he’d be paralyzed, lose limbs. But before any real panic could set in, the music returned; soothing and calming like a lullaby that ushered him off to sleep.
Lester the mechanic finished talking with the owner of a Blue Buick, a regular customer who stopped in for gas. After the Buick drove off, he walked to the office and stood in the doorway. Chanticleer sat behind a desk going over his invoices. He looked up. Lester had news.
“That wreck we heard about yesterday over near the Collins place?” Lester said.
“It was the McVie brothers.”
Lester nodded, “Both of em…they was up to their usual shenanigans on the highway.” Lester paused before relaying more bad news. “That Ford convertible from the army base was involved.”
The old man winced before asking, “They killed too?”
“One of em’, can’t say which.”
Chanticleer was determined to find out which.
Rock and Roll quote of the day: "That little chip of diamond on your hand ain't a fortune baby but you know it stands for our love." From- "Lets Hang on" By: The Four Seasons.