Most people donâ€™t know that the largest traffic jam in the history of Los Angeles was caused because I dumped a plate of eggs on someone.
Something tells me thousands of people wouldnâ€™t care why I did it or that I look back on this experience as being among the scariest and best times of my life.
Nah, they wouldnâ€™t want to hear me tell them about how a flannel clad bald man stuck his leg out at the diner and tripped me. They probably wouldnâ€™t want to hear about how he laughed and offered to send me on another trip.
If he hadnâ€™t laughed so damn hard I might have thought it was a mistake but there was something about the gleeful look on his face that set me off.
When I glared at him he told me to â€œfuck off.â€
I smiled and asked him if he was enjoying his meal.
â€œYeah, it is pretty damn good. Now fuck off.â€
I smiled again and stuck my hand down the front of my pants and made a point to wiggle my fingers around.
When I pulled my hand out I wiped it across his face and asked him if he liked another serving of â€œSweaty balls.â€
And then I hit him in the head with his plate and watched the eggs run down the front of his shirt.
â€œYou ought to take a trip you fat fuck. Get the fuck out now and I wonâ€™t carve my name into the side of your head.â€
If this were a movie he would have meekly nodded his head and run out the door, but it wasnâ€™t and he didnâ€™t.
This is precisely the time that I should have heard warning bells inside my head and gotten out of there. Except I didnâ€™t hear any bells and my ego made me stroll away.
And by stroll I mean strut or maybe sashay, I am not really sure how to describe it as being anything other than the walk of arrogance.
Moments later I would put on my seat belt and pull out onto the street heading towards the freeway.
Somewhere during those moments he left the diner, got into his semi and came after me.
I heard him long before I saw him.
He didnâ€™t bother with signals, stop signs or lane changes. He just drove though the cars towards me.
Hell on Wheels
A thousand years ago when the boys and I were in college we watched Saddam Hussein help himself to Kuwait and listened to our president and other world leaders encourage Saddam to let go of his toy and go home.
He didn’t and so a bunch of the fellas got called up which is the reason we started throwing our Hell On Wheels goodbye parties. Back then the Cold War had barely ended and there wasn’t any question about the U.S. being the big dog.
It was in the days before 9/11 and none of us had a clue that a day would come when we would talk about what we could have or should have done during the first Gulf War.
We just knew that we were going to put a beating on those guys over there and that life would go on. I look back on it and think about how naive we were and how different life had become.
But when you are 21 you are invincible and you don’t wonder or worry about things going wrong. And if truth be told when you weren’t being sent overseas you didn’t worry about your own skin and even though you told your buddies to keep their heads down you both laughed about it.
“Someone better tell the Republican Guard to do the same because we are hell on wheels and we are going to kick them so hard in the nuts they’ll spit those babies out.”
We all laughed, especially those of us who weren’t in the service because the stories we had heard from our buddies in tanks made us believe it.
Besides a few of the guys were jar heads that had been to Panama and seen some action so all we knew were good stories.
But those stories were old and they were laughed at by a guy who wasn’t a father and didn’t have any responsibilities. That guy hadn’t lost any friends to terminal illness or experienced any of the real crap that life can throw at you.
Maybe more importantly that guy drove a ’77 Camaro. If that car would have had wings it would have flown and he wouldn’t have cared about a crazy man driving a big rig over and through cars.
He would have stepped on the gas, gone airborne and then for good measure buzzed the semi just to piss him off more.
That would have been great and it would have been a hell of a lot better than driving a 14 year old Honda that didn’t have any guts in the engine.
He wouldn’t have been worried about being on the wrong side of hell on wheels but he was and if there was one thing he was good at it was dealing with reality.
And the current reality was that if he didn’t find a way to put some distance between him and the truck things were going to get ugly in a hurry.
Maybe A Gun Would Have Helped
He blew through two stop signs and played around with jumping on the freeway but decided against it. If it wasn’t moving there wasn’t any doubt that the mad trucker and his lap full of eggs was going to catch up with him. That guy was plowing through everything in his path.
Three SUVs, two minivans and an assortment of sedans hadn’t slowed him down nor had the shopping carts and pedestrians he flew by in the shopping center he cut through.
The truck hadn’t been bothered by a lack of a driveway. It just went over the curb and kept going.
“Well Jack, I hope you are happy now. He enjoyed your helping of ‘sweaty balls’ so much he is chasing you down for some more.”
Yeah, I know I have a twisted sense of humor. It is part of what makes me beloved by one and all. I suppose that might not have been the best move. I probably should have ignored his trying to trip me or responded by giving him a proper ‘ass kicking’ because that would have worked out so much better.
Instead of being chased by a mad trucker I might have gone home or received a pair of silver bracelets from LA’s finest.
The crackle of the radio interrupted my internal conversation and I heard a teaser for the next segment. Someone was talking about how giving teachers guns might help stop school shootings.
A woman’s voice came across “maybe a gun would have helped make sure those kids survived.”
There wasn’t any time for me to listen and ponder whose side of the gun fight I was on now but truth is if you had asked me then I am sure I would have agreed that given my situation maybe a gun would have helped.
But we won’t ever know the answer to that because I was too busy fish tailing around corners and looking for low hanging overpasses that would prevent him from following me.
I could hear horns and sirens blaring behind me not to mention the kind of noises that were usually movie sound effects coming from all around me but I didn’t stop to look around.
The car was shaking, windows were rattling and I was barely in control of it. Â All I needed was another moment and I would be safe or so I hoped.