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A Stupid Way to Die (a short story)

Updated on May 17, 2013

The day began much like any other. He gently closed the door to the house, intent on not waking any of his family that still slumbered within. He was generally gone before the dawn although with Spring becoming well advanced it was becoming more common to see the dawn attempting to break over the hills surrounding his home before he left. But not this day; the weather had shown that it would be clear today once this fog lifted. "Man, it is really foggy" he thought as he made his way across the deck and to the steps leading down to the driveway.

His first start came when the security light went off as he hit the stairs. "Hm" he thought. "Last night we couldn't get the darn thing to work yet here it is, snapping on when I don't expect it and scaring the crap out of me." Shaking his head he continued down the steps and walked the short distance to his car. He opened the rear door, set his things within, closed it and then got into the car. Cranking the old engine over, he shifted into reverse and backed up. He saw a flash in the tail lights and stomped the brakes. Looking closely, he saw their cat run from behind the car and make its way up the stairs to the safety of the deck. "Stay outta behind me, cat." he mumbled as he continued backing up before turning the wheels and heading off to work.

The morning light failed to make much of an impact through the heavy fog as he drove to work that morning. The river bottom was even darker due to the river's moisture adding to the dense blanket of fog hanging over it. "Man, this stuff is thick as pea soup" he said to himself, slowing down enough to assure himself he was traveling safe. As he came out of the bottom on the other side of the river he breathed a sigh of relief. Then he saw the deer.

Why do they do this? Stand quietly on the side of the road until you get near, then bolt across the highway in front of you? He slammed on his brakes, alternately hoping he would stop in time and that if anyone was approaching from behind him they would stop in time. He saw the deer's hooves slipping as it tried desperately to find purchase on the slick, wet roadway. He got stopped just as the deer's hooves found the traction it needed and the accident was avoided. Muttering to himself he hit the gas again, going just a bit too fast for the conditions.

As he approached the top of the hill, his memory kicked in. There was an intersection just ahead that had had a fatal accident only a couple of days before. It was a blind intersection as the road he was traveling on had a slight rise in the area approaching the crossroad. Someone either stopped and attempting to turn off the highway and onto the crossroad could not be seen by someone approaching on the highway, or someone on the crossroad would be hidden from the person on the highway. A car had pulled out onto the highway and been struck by the person on the highway, killing them instantly. He slowed down yet again and seemingly crawled through the intersection.

Safe and sound on the other side, he sped back up a bit. A mile up ahead was another dangerous intersection much like this past one. There had been a wreck there only yesterday. Two people severely injured and several others less so. He had been caught in the traffic behind that accident on his way home from work for about five minutes before continuing on. That one had come about from some idiot texting and not seeing the car stopped in the highway attempting to turn left onto the crossroad.

He approached this intersection with care and on high alert. The fog made it difficult but after a few anxious seconds he was through. "Alright, nothing else too dangerous between here and work" he said to himself.

Up ahead was one last S curve, across another river, and another mile or so to work. The fog thickened again as he headed into the first part of the curve when it happened. Something caught his left eye's peripheral vision as it approached his side window. He reacted instinctively, yanking his steering wheel to the right and taking his car off the road. Slamming on the brakes, he panicked as he lost control of the vehicle, tires sliding on the wet grass and gravel taking him directly towards the woods on the side of the road. Careening through the trees, he saw a huge tree trunk approaching the car then the impact came. Hard.

His head slammed into the steering wheel. He fought losing consciousness as the blood streamed down his face. His seat belt had held him in position but the impact had been so hard his seat had snapped off its rails and that allowed him to move forward, compressing his chest against the steering wheel. His breath was difficult to draw in and the amount of blood on his face and chest told him he was in trouble. As his breathing became more difficult he knew he was in serious trouble. He struggled to turn his head, wondering what he had seen to make him react like that. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a patch of something white on his driver's side window. Just before the blood eclipsed his vision, he realized what it was.

Bird crap. A bird had crapped while flying over and it had slapped against his window, scaring him into jerking his steering wheel like that thereby causing him to wreck and probably die. He is dying because of bird crap.

What a stupid way to die.

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    • Mr Archer profile image
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      Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

      Glad that's all you had! My son went off the road the November before last in an ice storm. Truck ended up on its side, but no major damage to it or him. Lucky that time. Thanks for the read and comment. You have a great Memorial Day weekend.

    • profile image

      Copper Man 4 years ago

      Good story. Eased right into the surprise ending. The ending reminded me of my own adventure, plunging off the road when my pickup spun out on ice. Into the ditch, tipping over, skidding driver side to dirt, toward this huge tree. Finally slid to a stop. I suffered a sprained thumb, the pickup needed some serious work.

    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

      Thanks Randy. I think this bird may have had relations that I partook of at a holiday dinner or maybe on a hunt, so felt it had to exact revenge. You know, kind of like a Mafiaso Hit Bird. They're not well known but extremely deadly. Have a great Memorial Day!

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 4 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Well told, Mr Archer! I think this may be first time I've read of avian excretion causing someone to die in a car accident. lol!

      --RG

    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

      Thank you Marie. A lot of vehicles now have their lights on any time the keys are on, like our Trailblazer.

      Gypsy Rose Lee, I am so glad you understood this to be a tongue in cheek story meant to leave you chuckling. Maybe that darn bird did indeed have something against me (or that driver)! Thanks for your comment. Take care.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Great story. I was left wondering to laugh or cry. Bird crap indeed. Maybe there was a bird which wanted to get even with him... Passing this on.

    • Marie Flint profile image

      Marie Flint 4 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida USA

      I detect a lot of "you" in this story, which is good. I'm thinking this piece could be crafted into an "O. Henry" type. If I have time, I'll send some suggestions. It's interesting that I should read this theme because I just enrolled in AARP's Safe Driving Program online. One thing I learned is that everyone should turn on their headlights when entering a work zone.

    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

      Shanmarie you are fortunate to not have had that ice come right through your windshield! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      Sally, I told my wife about this a little while ago, how this hit my window and scared me like that. She laughed and said the same thing you did "Glad your window wasn't down!" You have a great weekend as well, young lady.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      You too, Mr. Archer! I'm the same way - I have to be in control when driving. I'm a horrible passenger!

      Shanmarie, I've done that, too! Guess we'd better just stay home.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 4 years ago from Norfolk

      At least it is better than going blind from a bit of bird crap! Great story. Definitely better to keep your eyes closed but definitely not when you are driving! Have a great week-end Mr Archer.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon 4 years ago from Texas

      Interesting, but after seeing the comments, glad it is not an entirely true story!

      Bravewarrior, I don't close my eyes for water (usually-haha), but I did completely duck one time while driving. A solid block of ice about the size of my head broke off from the front bumper and flew back at the windshield. I instinctively ducked before it hit the window. Thankfully, it did not shatter the window and I kept the car in my own lane.

    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

      Either that or have someone else drive, I guess. But I always feel more comfortable when I am in control of the vehicle. Thanks for the stop and comment Cheyenne. Have a great weekend, ok?

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Mr. Archer, the bird crap would probably have scared me, too. Shoot, when water splashes up on my windshield from a passing driver, I close my eyes! Now that's stupid, but it's an involuntary reaction on my part. My brain doesn't register the fact that my eyes are protected by the windshield.

      Guess I'd better stay away from 2-lane roads on rainy days, huh?

    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

      Thanks Bill. Most of this actually happened this week. The two accidents, the fog this morning and that darn bird scaring the bejeezus out of me this morning. Thank goodness the end didn't happen to me! When it hit the window (rather than the fan this time) it startled me so and the rest of the way in to work I was thinking "What a stupid way to die if that had happened". Thus was a story born.

      Have a great weekend Bill. Take care.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      That would indeed be a stupid way to die. Unfortunately, none of us get to choose....well, unless we opt for suicide, and that's not on my calendar anytime soon. :) Interesting short story, Mike, and well told.

      Have a great weekend, buddy.