VETERANS DAY -
JUST ANOTHER DAY ON THE ROAD OF LIFE
By Sam Sheffler
Copyright © 2001
This past Veterans Day I was driving home from my New York City based bank
that had a branch a few towns over from where I was living now, on the far
end of Long Island. I had been to the branch to deposit my unemployment
check. I also stopped by the post office, to mail back my unemployment
reply form, to my parents, in New Jersey, so that I could get my next weeks
benefits. I sent the reply form home so that when the people in Albany got
it back they wouldn't assume any funny business, due to a post mark other
then the mailing address I had originally given to them. I knew plenty of
people who had strayed from their original mailing routine and got called in
to prove that they were looking for work (no one ever looks for work while
on unemployment). I kept my mailing address at my parents so that I
wouldn't have to pay New York City and State taxes. I should have been
paying New York taxes for the past eight years, it being I've lived and
worked in the state, specifically the city for that long. It was only
recently after being fired, for drunkenness, that I was living out on the
Island. It was rent free at my friend Paul's family summer house. I worked
a little landscaping here and there under the table for cash, and tried to
concoct some scheme to rid myself of all this financial thin-ice skating.
I was driving home in Paul's Saturn (if Isuzu gets the Fischer Price
award for auto design, the Saturn belongs to Kenner) from the bank, along
the wide open farmland that lines route 27, past potato fields that were
quickly seeing their last days due to the high paying thirst of Hampton
wannabes. I went by a vegetable stand. Walking past the stand were two
mustached middle aged men dressed in long coats. They were talking to each
other with great spirit. Talking business, maybe, or about their daughters.
They looked Greek or Slavic. One wore a cap and a comfortable looking
striped scarf. The other, taller gentleman, strode with his hands behind
his back, listening intently to his friend, with a smile upon his face. I
drove into them, at forty five miles an hour (the speed limit, mind you),
The front of the car hit into their knees. Their expressions of
contentment, and interest in one another, quickly faded into fear and pain.
They didn't have a chance to be confused, they didn't know what hit them. I
only wish I could have been more of an observer to their spontaneous
bafflement. They flew up into the air, landing on either side of the car. I
looked back in my mirror and saw them lying on the ground no longer content
and interested. I thought: "My, how I hate self-satisfied middle-aged
immigrant men." Horns started blaring. I continued on.
The next people I saw were a male and a female on expensive touring
bicycles. They both donned the tight black stretch pants, colorful cycle
shirts, helmets, and mirrored wrap around sport sunglasses. I saw them from
about one hundred yards. I crept up in the car. It looked like they were
getting a really good workout. The man had unsheathed his water bottle and
was taking a drink as if he were in a Gatorade commercial. He swung his
head back and forth, shaking off sweat on this chilly, overcast November
afternoon. I struck with a swerve and a hard bump. Forcing them off the
shoulder and their bikes at such a force that they flew off their seats,
bounced into the chain link fence, that lined this section of the road, and
landed back on the hard asphalt shoulder. Their rag doll bodies lay splayed
and motionless on the road. I caught this all in the mirror and smiled.
"Stupid fitness advocates" - I said to myself.
I came upon the Elementary school that was along the stretch of road that
led home. Out front was the same old police officer that stood there every
day, not so much directing traffic as thwarting speeders by his presence.
Everyone usually slowed down to twenty as, I guess, the law dictated in
school zones while class was in session. I too slowed down to twenty as the
cars in front and behind me did. Then, instead of driving straight past the
school, without bother, I rammed that twenty mile an hour driving Saturn
right into the man in blue's legs. That fucking ignorant sloth-filled cop
fell like a post onto the ground, hard and flat.
I had him caught underneath the front spoiler and dragged him for about
fifty feet. I realized I wouldn't be able to drive very fast with a man
stuck between my car and the road. So I stopped and put it into reverse. I
heard the man complain and shout for God. I dislodged him after going
backward a few feet. I drove forward, his voice ended when I crushed him
with my two right side tires, that fat fuck.
A little kid who, I can only assume, was being dropped off from lunch or a
doctors appointment, (I'm not sure of the time and there were no other
children around), was running across the street towards school. I looked to
the left to find his preening mother watch him cross the road without
looking. I smiled at her and hit her child. Her face turned from anger to
fright. I quickly turned back around to face my windshield with just enough
time to see his little body fly above my eyes, tumbling on to, then over, my
roof. I laughed heartily for that one. I figured I did that little snot
nosed brat a favor.
I probably only got another five minutes down the road before I heard the
sirens. Sure enough, I looked in the mirror and saw the lights-a-flashing.
I sped up. I cruised toward the center of town. I could see congestion
from far off. Parked cars and walking families welcomed me to the parade
route. As I got closer I could see people lined up on either side of the
street watching a procession of convertibles carrying town dignitaries and
war veterans along with a marching band or two. I rode up behind it all and
I can't give you an accurate account, because I hit too many people too
quickly, but I ran over baton twirlers - "stick spinning ninnies", drum
majors - "beat keeping lemmings", a unit of infantrymen from the Korean war
- "Less glamorous war fighting pawns", town councilmen and women - "useless
politicos", a judge - "robe wearing faggot", a trombonist - "brass playing
virgin", the home coming queen - "slut", a bombardier from world war two -
"cowardly killer", cub scout pack fifty two - "molestation targeted Hitler
youth", a tank driver from the gulf war - "harbinger of senseless death", a
whole slew of color guard - "buck toothed white trash who couldn't make
cheerleading", and I think I even clipped the mayor - "nice guy actually".
After running the parade route I decided to take to the side walk. I
crashed through the police barricade and ran over young and old alike.
Mothers and daughters - "lesbians", fathers and sons - "jocks", grandparents
- "old farts", uncles and aunts who never had children - "losers", orphans
who were infertile and could never reproduce - "sad sacks", and a dog or two
- "dumb beasts", all fell to the ground injured or dead at the hands of the
I drove on with the police in tow. Now, having no regard for any of the
traffic signals, I blew red light after stop sign, I cruised through yellow
lights, red blinkers and yield signs without even looking. At one curve a
Mexican hitchhiker threw out his thumb as he stood on the side of the road.
I let him go. Unfortunately, one of the cops behind me couldn't hold the
turn and slammed right into him. "That poor gardener" I thought to myself.
I kept going and going down route 27 till I reached Montauk, the end of
Long Island. I raced through town. I came to a church. I parked in the
lot. I could hear the sirens closing in on me. Looking up at the church I
wondered what brought me here - I was more then half Jewish.
The cops got out of their cars and aimed their guns at me. As they
stripped me from the Saturn all I could think was - "Talentless, bored,
sentimental, out of work, sappy, psycho."
Sam Sheffler, of Jersey City, NJ, is an NYU graduate where he attended the
Tisch school of the Arts. He has written and produced for Saturday Night
Live and the History Channel. Mr. Sheffler is currently at work putting
together the production for his feature film script "Surf Jersey."
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