Friday, August 31, 2001

I'm not certain, but I think I may have killed somebody last night. I hope not, and I feel terrible about it; in fact I didn't get much sleep at all last night after it happened. I'll let you decide whether or not I'm responsible.

Our apartment faces out over a quiet street, across which is a large regional park. The block we're on begins a long, continuous strip of road, without interruption, which would be ideal for drag racing, if it weren't a residential street with families coming and going from the park.

Yesterday, I was working at home during the day, writing. Some asshole in an orange hot rod kept coming by, racing his engine by the side of the road while waiting for traffic to go by, then peeling out taking off down the road, making a tremendous racket, not to mention leaving skid marks and creating a dangerous situation for any kids who might be walking by.

This was no ordinary street-legal vehicle. This thing was tripped up for going on the race circuit. When he took off, it was like watching NASCAR. For disturbing me, and for creating a public nuisance, I admit that I wished him ill will. I thought that it was only a matter of time before he killed himself in that car, and that I might be glad when he did.

We woke up at about 1:45 AM last night to the sound of an explosion. Shortly after there were sirens, and we could see the reflection of flames through our window shades. We went downstairs and out onto the porch to see what was going on.

What we saw was a huge fire in the center of the street and going into the park, with at least one tree on fire. There continued to be smaller, secondary explosions as we watched. The smoke was horrific and toxic, filling our lungs with soot. Several police cars had already arrived, and the fire trucks were just pulling up. No ambulances were in sight, and none came. It was obviously too late for ambulances.

When the flames were nearly put out, about fifteen minutes later, we saw that there were two cars involved, one of them in the center of the road, the other with its rear end to the first car and its front end against the park fence, beneath the tree that had burned. From the charred remains it was impossible to tell what color these cars once were, but the silhouette of the second car matched that of the orange hot rod I'd cursed not twelve hours before.

I was not glad, as I had earlier, in anger, thought I might be. Today I kept looking from the window, hoping to see an orange hot rod go by, but it never came.

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