April Fool’s Day has returned and, as usual, the joke’s on me. I had planned to upload an audio file of my reading of the Prologue to The Canterbury Tales, little suspecting that my hopes would be dashed when the genies running the wordpress machine would not accept my wma file. I tried it about 37 times before scrunching in a heap on the metaphoric floor. And then settled for a half-baked written version with a half-assed translation and a snippet of memories from grad school. I spent the rest of my day running to town (not literally–I ran my car, actually) to pay my property taxes. Not difficult, except that I had to parallel park and I despise that parking with all my heart. I could do it when I was a teenager and for many decades after. But, I’ve got out of the habit and so I end up either scrunching my wheels on the concrete curb or parking two inches beyond the white line. I don’t like scratching my stuff, but I really don’t like people who glare at my parking as if I had slammed on my brakes in the middle of the damned roadway.
It went well, though, as I had two spots and this allowed me to pull forward, back up, pull forward, etc. until I got close but not too close. Then, I had to hide my smart phone in the console thingee between the front seats because
- I didn’t want anyone to steal it, breaking my car in the process, and
- I couldn’t take it with me into City Hall because I have to go through security screening, and my stuff is put through the X-ray thingumee, all of which is fine by me–keep us all safe!–except that the gizmo always drains my battery, even when the phone is turned off.
Luckily, today was bright and sunny, although rather nippy (57 degrees F) so I didn’t have to fear slipping on ice or getting spattered by someone’s big boots splashing through puddles. I greeted the police officer and he greeted me as well, exchanging pleasantries and agreeing that the sun was better than our late-lamented winter. I had only one person ahead of me at the clerk’s desk, and so was able to whip out my tax ticket, my receipt for last year’s payment, and my pre-written check and the clerk zipped all those papers through various machines, stapled my receipt to the ticket, and I was out of there!
Feeling accomplished, I headed back to my car, retrieved my phone and cranked it on, checking for missed calls or messages. Nothing noteworthy, so I popped the phone into my purse and headed to the bank. In WV, it’s illegal to use your phone while you’re driving and enough people have wrecked their vehicles and others’ to convince anyone with a brain that distractions are just bad news. As the cop had warned me earlier, though, I took my life in my hands by getting into traffic. These days, you have no idea what the other drivers are up to–talking on phones, eating, smoking, applying make-up, reaching into back seats to swat a child or reaching under the seat for a dropped CD, all are real threats to the rest of us. But, we have other concerns–is the driver legally licensed to drive, insured, sober, not a criminal on the run?
Only a month ago, two local police officers stopped a car for speeding. As they processed the driver’s papers, another driver, in a red pickup, pulled up, identifying himself as the young man’s father. In split seconds, he pulled a gun and shot both officers, one of whom fought with him for the gun. He was wounded and arrested while his son took off in what turned out to be a stolen car. In his haste and fear, he ran into a fence as back-up officers surrounded and arrested him. Thank God, the two officers had only minor injuries, but I suspect the department will undergo more rigorous training in the near future. The tale got even stranger over ensuing days. Police discovered that the red pickup had two dead bodies in its bed. Contacting police in the Carolinas, our officers learned that the two men had been on the run from Texas to the Carolinas and had murdered an elderly couple and their dog and stolen their car.
As awful as all of that was, it got worse. No one can determine a motive behind the crimes. The men both had lengthy police records and the old couple might have been victims of bad luck. What was bizarre wasn’t the murder, necessarily, or even the theft of money and the car. It was the vicious killing of the couple’s dog on top of a horrendous murder of this innocent couple. Not content with that, though, these idiots had absconded with the couple’s car and the couple. We were to learn that they had poured quick lime over the deceased, wrapped them in plastic tarps and then carried them in the bed of the truck all the way up to our small town! The south is filled with places to dump or bury a body; driving south, these villains could have dumped the bodies in a swamp and the alligators would have devoured all evidence. Instead, they drove north, yet the roads running north and south are surrounded by forests and gullies and mountains and rivers, any of which would have prevented discovery.
We’ll probably never know why these morons brought the bodies with them, got themselves stopped for breaking traffic laws, and then got arrested for assault and attempted murder on two police officers, not to mention setting themselves up for extradition down south for double homicide with special circumstances, desecrating corpses, and God knows what else. As they awaited trial in the Carolina jail, the father hanged himself in his cell. Jailers found him hanging, cut him down and got him medical attention, but he died anyway. Something tells me this bozo has been taking the easy way out his entire life. Now, his son must face the music by himself, but he’ll no doubt get a sleazy lawyer to claim that he was “only following orders,” that the father was responsible for all of it (just like the Boston Marathon bomber).
Luckily, my day out on the highway was uneventful. That’s just the way I like it.
©2015 Linda L Labin, PhD