By JANET MARIE GOOD
"Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown" blasted out of my radio as I headed home from taking my boy to his place in Stoystown.
"He had a custom Continental and a El Dorado, too…"
It was cold, getting colder but the road was dry for the most part.
"He had a 32 gun in his pocket, poor boy, and a razor in his shoe…"
I turned off Route 219 and headed down the exit ramp by Walmart.
Up ahead, the other exit road from the Friedens way was looking to join up with mine so I pushed down on my brake, meaning to slow down and make sure no one was coming on that other road.
"Badder than Ole King Kong, meaner than a junkyard dawg…"
As soon as I pushed down on the brake, I felt the car lurch forward and go at a crazy angle without any help from me.
I had hit a patch of black ice.
"Yeah, he's bad, bad Leroy Brown…"
The car was sliding along the road, going toward the side of the road, at a sickening speed.
I couldn't turn the steering wheel.
The tires were non-compliant, refusing to do anything remotely nice and to make matters worse, I had to trust their judgment.
"…sat a girl named Doris and, oh, that girl looked fine."
The bank on the side of the road started to come closer but right before I crashed in to the bank head-on, the tires decided to go in a half-circle, narrowly missing the bank but falling in the ditch instead, skittering to a stop as the car flipped over on its side.
I was dangling about four inches away from the driver's window held firmly by my seat belt. The window was even with the ground, the passenger seat stuck up in the air.
Apparently Jim Croce wasn't aware that I was dangling from my seat belt because he kept on going with Leroy Brown's predicament.
"Now the two men fell to fighting…"
I didn't know what to do. I was stuck right where I was, behind the steering wheel, dangling, waiting for someone to come and help me out of my poor car. All I could do, all I had power over, all I had the energy to do, was to finish up with Jim Croce. "Looked like a jig-saw puzzle with a couple of pieces gone…"
At that moment I realized that the car might burst into flames if it kept on running, so I reluctantly turned off the key. I dangled behind the steering wheel, trying not to think about how I could possibly get out if the car did burst into flames and sang the chorus without any help from Jim Croce or his band.
"Bad, bad Leroy Brown. Baddest man in the whole damn town, badder than old King Kong, meaner than a junkyard dawg."
The night closed in, cold and mean-spirited, and quiet as all get out, now that I had finished my impromptu concert. I had time to think about what would happen if the car caught on fire. I watched the hood of the car, trying desperately not to smell smoke. I thought about how lucky I was that I hadn't hit the bank head on or that I wasn't going fast or how I was I ever going to climb out of the car if help did come.
A car passed me, slowed down. I prayed they saw me turned over in the ditch.
It seemed like hours later when I heard someone come up to the car and call out, "Is anyone in there?"
To be continued…
(You can reach Janet Good, Somerset, at any old time at firstname.lastname@example.org.)