Thursday, February 7th

I had trouble staying asleep last night and woke up tired. So tired that I thought I could sneak a quick five or ten minute snooze back into my morning routine.

Bad idea. And one unsatisfying blink later, almost twenty minutes had flown by, and I was pushing late. Too late for the bus, so I'd have to make it on foot, and hurry.

I'm battered by a blast of cold wind as I stick my head out the door. Dark outside, but I can see overhead that the clouds are angry; time for another storm soon. I can tell, the air has that certain feel. It's dry out now, but the air has a certain stillness and quiet to it that always precedes a steady downpour.

As I powerwalk up the street, I hear a car behind me begin to slow. I look over my shoulder, expecting someone to shout or throw something at me.

"You want a ride?" Craig calls out the window. The faces in the dark car become more visible. It's the Overbay clan, Craig and Becky.

"That'd be great." I flag them to stop and toss my backpack into the rear seat, welcoming the dry, hot air of the car's heater as I duck in behind the door to seal it in. "Now we're even."

"Now we're even?" Becky repeats. "How about 'Thanks'?"

"I was talking to Craig, I drove him home from work. I didn't know you drove to school, I've never seen you drive by. Pick me up more often."

"I'm only driving this way because the bypass is shut down," Becky remarks.

"What happened? Rock slide?"

"No, there's a wreck, someone's car rolled over."

"What?" I chuckle. "How does somebody roll their car on the bypass?"

The bypass is new, wide, very straight road that is almost literally overtop of the narrower section of town. Built and blasted right into the side of the steep hill that cuts off town from forest, from below it looks like a line carved right over the rooftops. And in parts of it, you're higher than rooftops on the street below. You can look over the railing and down onto houses straight beneath the giant retaining wall holding it into place.

We're already pulling into the student parking lot.

"I don't know, but yeah, we could see it. Red car, up against the railing. It almost went out of the park."

:::

As it turned out, it couldn't have happened to a nicer person. Word got around fast that the driver in the crash was actually the milk-thief and candy-dish-metaphor-king Dyson, one of my sworn enemies.

And was confirmed when he staggered into the cafeteria during our lunch period like some pariah or martyr, massive bandage covering the left side of his head, walking with a quad cane. Clearly looking for sympathy.

"Fat fuck, bet he was eating a burger," C.J. mutters.

"I got a ride with Becky and Craig Overbay, they said it was flipped up against the railing, the whole bypass was closed."

"Jesus, how'd he manage that? Barrel rolled it across traffic?"

"That's impossible," Joe states matter-of-factly. "My Gramma hasn't wrecked there yet.

"Yet."

"Yeah, I think I saw her drawing up plans for a ramp. She's gonna die going through the roof of your house."

:::

"Dyson?" my Dad asks me, after I tell the story before bed. "The shop teacher?"

"Yeah, you know who he is?"

My stoic father, rigid in his easy chair in front of the TV, gives a slight smirk. "Sure I do. He's a drunk."

"Really?"

"Sure. I've been there when he's been rolled out the door at closing time."

"Oh. Maybe that's why he hates me."

"What does he say?"

"I dunno, I've never had him, he's just been a dick to me a couple of times."

"Oh, well tell Ol' High Roller I said hi."

"I think I'll do that."