On Sunday night, Trina, Peter, and I went to Flagstaff to watch the movie. Good times -- we even remembered a blanket. On our way back to the car, this homeless guy was yelling nonsense at all the people filing past. I'm going to break these few seconds down to give you all the full experience of walking past this guy.
He screamed to no one in particular, "I need 20..."
And I thought, "Is this guy really going to ask for $20? That's balls, even for a schizophrenic."
"I need 20 thousand..."
And then I thought, "$20,000? No kidding -- me too. That's more than I make in a year."
"I need 20,000 wolverines!"
And I thought, "How many Woodland Hills class reunions would that take, factoring in all the shooting deaths?"
Then as we walked by him, he leaned in to the three of us and addressed no one in particular in a sultry almost-whisper, "Baby..."
And I thought of that guy who told me I had "more stories than Storybook Forest," which I think is because that's the only time I've ever heard someone begin a sentence with "Baby."
"Baby," he said, "start the bath water."
The shenanigans don't stop there. Don't you know me by now?
So for several months, I've had this sort of notion in my head that one night on my way home from work, I'd find my friend Dave (a guy I work with who has a particularly amusing blog that, like this one, gets updated a couple times a month) broken down on the side of the road and I'd wind up helping him out in some way.
And since getting this new car, I've had this occasional image of him sitting in my passenger seat when it's dark. I didn't think much of this, as I love taking people for a ride in my new car. However, the feeling that I'd one day see Dave pulled over on the side of the road was incredibly strong, and I developed a habit of looking at every car I'd see on the side of the road to make sure it wasn't him.
I was behind Dave tonight as we were leaving work, and even though I had more than enough gas to get me home (about a quarter of a tank) I had the feeling I should go get gas. I hate getting gas on my way to work because it always makes me run late, no matter how early I go. So, as Dave turned left, I decided to switch my turn signal from left to right and go through Canonsburg, get gas, and be on my merry way. I wondered as I merged onto 79 if I'd wind up passing Dave anyway, which has happened before, oddly enough. I was almost to the 279 ramp when I saw a car on the side of the road. I slowed down, and of course, I saw it was Dave's car. I pulled over and rolled down the window.
What else could he say, really, other than "Holy shit!"
I wasn't expecting him to tell me that he had tripped over what appeared to be a body in a garbage bag on the side of the road at the strategically located emergency pull-off spot where he'd left his car.
"As I was walking down the road there my foot hit what felt like a skull."
I didn't want to ask him why he knew what a skull against his foot would feel like. Instead I told him that I'd help him investigate.
"Ever since all those episodes of Forensic Files," he said, referring to the countless hours we spent at work on Court TV shows, "I've been hoping I'd find a body somewhere. And what better place to dump a body than on a highway emergency pulloff?"
(Dream it, you fucking dreamers. We all need dreams.)
So we took off down to a gas station and did some figure-8s around 79 and we got back to his car. We all know I'm always up for a good adventure, so I did indeed climb out of my car on a highway shoulder and go scrambling over the gravel, grass, and bizarrely huge piece of cardboard that looked like it could conceivably be part of a body-dumping plan.
And then we saw the bag. Black, densely packed, tied several times with expert knots. Dave tried to move it. It just lay there. It seemed smaller than I expected. It couldn't be a kid, could it? My heart pounding, I felt the bag. It seemed oddly familiar. And then I knew.
"I think it's sand to keep this sign from moving." Next to the sign, a few feet away and concealed by the darkness, were several identical bags. I assumed these were bags of sand and not a family of obese midgets murdered by PennDOT.
"Damn," said Dave. And really, he was right.
Still, that would have made a kick-ass half-hour of television. "79 Northbound: Expect Delays."