Okay, understand it wasn’t my fault.
That’s first and foremost, all right?
Secondly, you have to remember that even with headlights…and high beams…it’s impossible to see everything.
So after tracking down a possible drunk recently, I headed back to the jail. (I’d spent quite a bit of time with this guy and realized, eventually, that he wasn’t, in fact, drunk…just feloniously stupid.)
It’s already winter time and night comes very quickly in this part of Illinois. In fact, night fall happens in about 3.7 seconds. From the moment you realize the sun is setting, it’s a heartbeat, maybe two, before you’re plunged into darkness.
So I’m driving along and there he is.
First thing I realize is this son of a bitch is HUGE.
I’m not a deer hunter, not by any stretch. I do not define ‘fun’ as sitting in an outhouse-y sort of structure teetering precariously in a tree at oh-dark-thirty in the morning, freezing my huevos off, waiting for an animal who’s senses are so attuned to danger he smelled and saw me in my little outhouse 30 minutes before he woke up from seventeen miles away.
Plus, it doesn’t seem sporting to me to shoot an animal from a mile away with a scope that could pick out the sex of an astronaut on the moon while covered in deer piss scent to hide your own smell. You want to impress me with your hunting?
Which isn’t to say I won’t eat deer meat. Especially when it’s made into sausage with jalapenos and cheese. Mmm mmm mmm, lip-smacking good!
Anyway, I’m driving along and there he is. He’s huge. He’s in front of me and my car. And he’s staring at me.
Daring me to hit him.
Damn thing crosses the road two seconds earlier or later and we’re both good. We both go home that night, he to his mommy, me without having to call my Lieutenant and explain why my squad car has $3,000 worth of damage.
I hit the brakes and hold the wheel straight (I’ve seen too many accidents made worse, if not fatal, when the driver yanked the wheel to try and avoid the hit.)
Then I realize that this thing has a rack of antlers taller than Dikembe Mutombo.
Now I’m thinking: just for karma, this honker’s gonna come tearing through my windshield, which I’ve seen happen, and gore me with that rack. I’ll be punctured 40 or 50 times and I’ll bleed out before I can stop the car.
I actually heard the conversation of my co-workers: “Damn, lookit all them holes in his face!”
“Must’a shot himself with that shotgun. You know he wasn’t any too bright.”
But it doesn’t come through the windshield. Instead, it manages to land dead center on my hood. Thus none of my headlights or turn signals are damaged. But one point of the rack blasts right through the right quarter panel on the squad.
Three inches down from the windshield!
So either this thing bounced around like a freakin’ pinball or I actually hit an antlered giraffe with a loooong neck and simply didn’t realize it.
After stopping, I made sure I wasn’t dead, made sure the animal was, then checked the car. It was drivable and so I continued on to the jail.
My stomach was in knots.
‘Cause I had to make a call.
Our fleet has taken a beating lately. Lots of deer strikes, a raccoon or two, various other things. And most cars have lots and lots of miles. The last thing I wanted to tell my Lieutenant was that my car was down and out.
But I make the call and he is supremely unconcerned. Actually, he sort of laughed. I was sort of freaked out and he had to remind me a couple of times that I had never hit a deer before. In fact, he said, other than the raccoon, I’d had exactly zero problems with my squad.
“Yeah, but here’s my problem,” I said. “See, I’ve handled a thousand car versus deer calls. And every time, those people say, ‘I wasn’t going very fast…and, gosh, it came out of nowhere.'”
“Yeah?” he said.
“And I always thought, ‘bullcrap. You were going 90 and you weren’t paying attention.'”
“Well…damn, LT, I wasn’t going very fast. And it did come out of nowhere.”
He laughed. “Guess you gotta apologize to all those people.”
Damn. OK, here goes:
Little Joe Haggard…apologies.
Dude, this might take awhile….