Tragedy in a Small Town...
This morning around 7:30 my high school's Agriculture program (Future Farmers of America) lost it's barn and 36 pigs in a massive fire. A maintenance worker (Xpird's uncle) drove past and spotted smoke coming from the roof. My Dad called me while I was picking up a rig and told me of the blaze. I proceeded back to shop, fighting the urge to hit the lights and sirens on the rig just to get there faster. I dropped off the truck and drove Hubby's truck as fast as I dare to get to the scene. After navigating the new traffic patterns of the campus and avoiding police blockades- I finally got up to the parking lot across from the barn that had already collapsed in in itself for the most part.
I scanned worried faces and found my old Agriculture teacher in tears talking to police. When he saw me, he grabbed me in a hug and wept into my shoulder. He said he knew I'd be there. We'd been through this before. And he was right. Twelve years before, my senior year of high school, a chicken jumped up into one of the heating lamps, bringing it down into the bedding and sparked a massive fire that killed all three hundred plus chickens and three cattle. That morning, after spending the entire first period mourning the devastating loss of life and hard work, I went to my second period class, where my teacher made an unforgivable wise crack- "As you all know the FFA barn burned down this morning... I'd question the cafeteria staff if they serve burgers and chicken nuggets at lunch today."
I rose to me feet, gathered my books, told my teacher to F* off and walked out of class. I remember him telling me on my way out the door to expect a detention slip by lunch. I poked my head in the door and told him point blank- "You don't have the F*in balls, Mr. Brokema." Since it was my senior year and I had exhausted all mandatory classes- my first period was art class aide (drink coffee and doodle hour) and my second period, with Mr. Broke-enema, Sociology, was a not needed to graduate class. I soon transferred from his class to Ag aide in Mr. Bollinger's class (drink coffee, write my short stories, and talk about farming). I can't recall exactly if I ever did speak to Mr. Broke-enema again, outside of calling him an asshole within his earshot between classes.
Today brought back the memories. I've not been a great alumni, I'll be honest. So much has changed with my school, the politics of it, and the people- not to mention my shit-tas-tic class of 1998 and their lack of intelligence to plan a reunion that life has gotten in the way of being a proper alumni. That might change now. I at least plan on trying to go to the next FFA meeting.
Today, at that fire scene, it hit me how much had changed. I wasn't the bawling senior that had a crush on her distraught teacher- with the sobbing best friend and little brother at my side as the fire department doused the flames- acrid smoke smelling of burnt hay making my clothes stink. Today I was the support, rubbing the back of that same teacher I had a crush on as he cried into my shoulder- both of us watching my little brother work on dousing the flames, and later today finding out he (and another firefighter) managed to save a mama pig and her litter of piglets, along with 11 other pigs from the blaze. I am now an adult that felt the same way this morning as I did 12 years ago- helpless, saddened, and hurt. Especially when I saw the current Superintendent Ratface Weasel (the same we had my senior year) take the opportunity to summon up fake disappointment in this morning events for the local news media. Noting says support, for a program he never liked to begin with, like a f*ing photo op, right Mr. Ratface?
I think I speak for everyone I know of that went to C'ville when I say- adios Mr. Ratface Weasel... The school, it's staff, and previous alumni will not miss you and hope you get hit by a car while jogging down our road. Sadly- the asshole is my neighbor about half a mile to the West.
In other news- I promised a chunk of the novel for everyone today- and here it is...
"... Mac and Charlie jumped out of the truck, getting the cot out before stacking gear on top of it. They rolled it past a couple police officers lighting road flares. The fog was wet and heavy, making their uniforms damp to the touch almost instantly. It thickened and moved with the almost non-existent breeze. As they got closer, their footfalls echoed off the fog surrounding them and the smells of hot coolant, motor oil, burnt rubber, and hot metal added to the fog’s salty scent.
In the cool gray light coming through the fog, the bright yellow of the Volkswagen Beetle popped under the glow of the blinking yellow traffic signal. From somewhere behind them, the engine roar of Heavy Rescue 4 echoed and banged in their ears as the truck got on scene. The full sized H-1 Hummer looked like a hulking monster that had taken a huge bite from the front end of the smaller yellow Beetle, when in fact; they were fused together from the force of the head-on collision. Both of them looked over towards the Hummer to see the driver, his business suit disheveled and stained with coffee, pacing nervously near the back of his truck.
... Charlie looked at the back end of the yellow Beetle, seeing lots of bumper stickers. Visualize whirled peas, a peace sign, pastel flowers, and the one that hit her heart with a pang- a UNC Wilmington sticker. Through the back window, they could see their patient wasn’t moving, but sitting upright in the driver’s seat. They walked along the driver’s side, glass from the windshield and driver’s side window crunching under their boots. The driver of the bright yellow Beetle was a young woman, looking to be about twenty-two years old. The dash of the car and the seat she was in were only separated by six inches of space. Space her body was occupying. The woman looked like a macabre statue bust- eyes half open, half closed as if she were drowsy. Charlie looked into the window a little further to see that the steering wheel was buried deep within the girl’s chest, but her arms were still up in the positions of ten and two.
“Yeah…” he nodded. The look on his face saying everything his words didn’t.
Charlie looked back up to the young woman’s face where little trickles of crimson coming from both her nose slightly parted lips stained her skin. She didn’t look peaceful- just utterly still..."