Fayetteville is a two-hour drive from Wilmington and on some of the roads the speeds drop to 35. At the moment of impact, however, I was topped out at 65.
There I am, about 6 p.m., an hour into my journey. I’m listening RISK!, a storytelling podcast. Some dude it talking about growing up in the city and how the kids in his neighborhood used to play in medical waste tossed into a dumpster behind the clinic.
The story teller was reminiscing about climbing in the trash to retrieve what they called “needle darts,” when
Something bigger than a pebble, but smaller than a breadbox, hit the partially open window and window frame, then slammed into the left side of my head just above my ear.
“What the fuck!”
Instinctively, I shot forward in my seat. I was practically hugging the steering wheel as I slowed down and pulled the car onto the shoulder.
Tiny feathers were floating around inside the car.
I sat frozen for a moment and took inventory. There was blood on my shoulder and blood on my upper left chest. There were feathers and blood stuck to the window frame. With every movement I made, little tufts of feathers wafted about. Fortunately, the window was intact.
I hopped out and sheepishly looked into the car. There on the driver’s seat was a dead headless bird. After thudding me good, the bird’s head popped off and its body fell between my back and the seat back, I surmised. Sick!
If I didn’t have a long shirt on it would have fallen into the back of my pants.
I muttered WTF a few dozen more times as I contemplated my options.
How the hell am I going to get this bird out? I sure as hell ain’t touching it. Should I just keep this shirt on and finish the drive? What’s in my overnight bag? I don’t want to put on my work shirt for Tuesday morning because I don’t want bird guts on that.
Oh right! I have pajamas.
Now, whenever I’m not at work or out socializing, I’m in “pajamas.” But my pajamas generally consist of super-sized sweatpants and sweatshirts. That ensemble is easily worn in public in case I need to make a quick trip to the store. Recently, however, I’d decided to treat myself to actual pajamas. So I had a real honest-to-goodness pajama shirt.
Fuck it, I’ll just put that on, I thought to myself. I popped the trunk, and after three cars passed and no more were coming, I whipped off my blouse and put on my pajama shirt.
Now to deal with the bird…
Look, I’m not the least bit squeamish EXCEPT when it comes to animals. I’d already glanced at the headless bird carcass so I was not looking forward to examining it up-close-and-personal. But I had to get it out of the car! If the bird had ended up anywhere else, I probably would have left it and finished the drive. Tim would have had to remove the body. But in this case that wasn’t an option. The bird was in my seat. Son of a bitch!
I considered using my tripod to flick it out, but quickly dismissed that idea because it would take too much maneuvering. It would have been like moving a soft ball with a pencil. I would have had to keep readjusting the tripod to effectively get the bird out. That would entail needing to actually look at it to get the job done.
Then I spotted a dust broom I kept in the trunk. Perfect! It was wide enough.
I climbed in the backseat, and with my view hidden by the seat back, I reach around and took some blind swats at the driver’s seat. The bird corpse unceremoniously plopped out of the seat and landed on the motherflipping goddamned door frame.
You’ve got be kidding me! The bird had already defied odds by flying into a 4-inch-wide window opening at 65+ miles an hour, now the effing thing lands perfectly on a 2-inch-wide ledge? I’m going to have to actually walk up and look at this thing. And to top it off, even when I finally get the body out, its fucking head will still be somewhere in this car! I had another hour’s drive to my destination, so the thought of a bird head as a passenger was mighty creepy. Ater a half-hearted glance in the back seat, I drew the line at scouring the car to find its fucking head.
I mustered up my courage and skulked up to the casualty. As I groan the international word for GROSS, “Eeeeeeeee,” I give the body another swat. It flies (pun intended) into the road.
Upon landing, the head appears. It was only tucked underneath.
For the remainder of my ride I did not touch the door because I was unsure if it had gore on it. I also didn’t touch the side of my head which I imagined was covered in bird brains (Spoiler alert: It was not). And anytime I had my window cracked I could see in my peripheral vision the bird feathers stuck to the frame flapping in the breeze.
How was your Monday night?