William Quincy Belle is just a guy. Nobody famous; nobody rich; just some guy who likes to periodically add his two cents worth with the hope, accounting for inflation, that $0.02 is not over-evaluating his contribution. He claims that at the heart of the writing process is some sort of (psychotic) urge to put it down on paper and likes to recite the following which so far he hasn't been able to attribute to anyone: "A writer is an egomaniac with low self-esteem."
You will find Mr. Belle's unbridled stream of consciousness here (http://wqebelle.blogspot.ca) or @here (https://twitter.com/wqbelle).
OFFICER CARL'S LIFE GOES ON
The Sunday morning shift was a blessing for Officer Carl. Considering the occasional Saturday night hell one assigned him during the usual shift rotation; he welcomed the contrasting peace and quiet. As he drove along the side road, he enjoyed the wind going by the open window of the squad car. The warmth of the sun on his arm perched on the car door felt good.
It was a beautiful day. Tony would play softball this afternoon and Carl looked forward to being in the stands with Patty to cheer for their son. He figured his daughter Molly wouldn’t come certain she would rather spend time with her friends. Guy stuff didn’t appeal to her.
Carl held the wheel with his left hand and reached out on the seat for his lunchbox. It was still early, but he felt a few pangs of hunger. His wife had packed two sandwiches so half now would calm the grumblings in his stomach.
He couldn't get a hold of it and glanced over at the seat. There it was, his Hannah Montana lunchbox. The boys at the precinct laughed when he showed up with it. Molly had been overjoyed when she got the lunchbox for her birthday. She watched the television show and was a fan of the Disney character. A nearly life-size poster of Hannah hung on one wall of her bedroom.
However, things changed. One day, Molly announced she could no longer go to school with something embossed with the image of Hannah Montana. It was no longer cool. Carl remembered sitting at the dinner table when Molly made this announcement not sure of how to proceed. Mom stepped in with the offer to trade lunchboxes with Dad, his being a neutral blue with no design. Molly seemed relieved. Being uncool was a burden.
That duty now fell upon dear old Dad, six feet, two hundred and twenty pounds of the meanest, toughest cop on the Hanover police force. Harry on dispatch was the first one to chuckle at the sight of Carl coming into work holding the lunchbox. "I knew it. Montana is out. All the girls at school have called it quits."
At some point, he would stop at the store and pick up a less distinguished container. Then again, if he took Molly along, he could get her the next cool thing.
The radio crackled. He leaned away from the window so he could hear the voice. "Car four, car four, come in please."
He shut the window and picked up the mike. "Car four here."
"Carl, we had a report of an accident out on Route 6 about five kilometres out of town."
"I'm on side road 54B just coming up to Route 6. That’s about a half a click away. I'll be there in under five."
As the radio went silent, Carl hit both the siren and the light and sped down the side road toward Route 6. With the flat prairie farmland, he could see a distance in both directions and at the moment, the road was deserted. He slowed, but did not stop as he turned onto the highway.
He cracked the window again as he accelerated. The wind whipped by and the noise was loud in his ear. As he got closer, he could make out two cars. One was off to the left, upside down in the grass beside the shoulder. The other was sitting in the middle of the right hand lane, turned one hundred and eighty degrees and pointing backward. Part of its front looked smashed. What could have happened? It was sunny out. It was a peaceful Sunday morning. How could anybody have an accident in perfect conditions? Who knows? Strange things happen.
As Carl roared up, he radioed in to dispatch. An ambulance would be needed, no doubt about it. He pulled over to the left and turned off the siren. He jogged over to the car beside the road. The motor was still running. He knelt to look in the driver's window that was wide open. A man hung upside down still strapped into the seat, his arms dangling toward the roof. He wasn't moving. Carl felt the man’s wrist for a pulse. He was still alive. Carl reached in and shut off the key cutting the motor then looked at both ends of the car. He didn't see any danger, so he left the man for the paramedics to get out. Unstrapping him meant he'd fall on his head. It was best to wait for help.
Carl stood up and backed away. The other car must have swerved on the road and slammed into the rear door. The speed limit along this stretch of road was eighty kilometres an hour, so if both cars were doing the speed limit, they connected at a hundred and sixty. This car must have spun around and turned over when it hit the shoulder.
He walked to the other car sitting in the middle of the right hand lane. It too had spun around but remained upright. As he approached the front, he saw it was badly smashed on the driver's side. The windshield was cracked so much; he couldn't see the interior. He noticed the driver's door was partially open and walked around to that side of the car. When Carl reached for the handle, he heard a moan and turned to see a body on the shoulder.
Carl took three steps and stood over the man. He was lying on his back. The side of his head was badly cut and bleeding. Carl guessed the man had not been wearing his safety belt. He must have slammed forward and his head smashed into the windshield. During the spin, the door must have popped open, and he was flung out of the car.
Carl knelt and said, "Are you all right?" That was silly. This guy was in bad shape. Would he live? What the heck had he been doing? Carl looked around. The day was sunny. It was calm, perfect weather, and there wasn't another car in either direction. There was no reason this should have happened.
The man coughed. Carl looked back down. Blood trickled out of the side of the man's mouth. "Are you all right?" Carl stared waiting for a response. The man's lips quivered. Was he going to say something? Carl leaned closer and watched the lips for a few seconds. No response. "Sir?" He waited. The lips quivered again then the man let out a sigh and stopped moving. Carl continued to stare at him for a few seconds. He felt man's wrist for a pulse. The man had died, right in front of him.
Carl remained kneeling looking at him. Who was he? Why was he here? What happened? Was he married? Carl would have to write this up. He would have to find answers to these questions. Somebody would have to break the news to his family, maybe to his wife if he wasn't single.
A bird chirped overhead. He looked up. There were a three of them perched on the wires running beside the road. He realised how quiet it was. The sun felt good on his skin. He stood up and looked in both directions. There wasn't a car in sight.
He checked his watch. It was eleven-ten a.m. He calculated his schedule. Deal with the ambulance. Survey the accident scene. Take notes and photographs. Have the wrecks removed and ensure the area was cleaned up. Back to the station and write the accident report. Would he still be able to get home and change so he and Patty could make the game by four p.m.? He was looking forward to seeing his son play baseball.
The sound of a siren grew in the distance. Carl glanced down at the body. A bird chirped overhead as he walked back to the police car to radio into the station. Life goes on.