At on a Sunday night in the late spring, 37-year-old Becky Buchwald was heading home in her seven-year-old Honda Civic. Finally, she thought. First church, then a baby shower, then two hours arguing with her mother about when she was going to get married and have kids. She wanted to, but the men she dated – ugh. No procreation there. Now she had to go home, walk the dog, and make sure she had everything ready for work in the morning. She sighed. Really. What would it take to make the day a little more hectic?
At least the streets in the small town outside Ozone Park, New York were fairly quiet. Not a soul to be seen except for the occasional dog-walker. Before Becky, the street stretched well-lit and empty, the cars parked alongside the road dark and still. People flipped off porch lights as they settled in for bed, preparing for work the next day. They packed their briefcases and the kids’ lunches, watched some TV or read a book, then called it a night. Becky was looking forward to doing the same thing.
He appeared so suddenly in front of her she had no time to react. One minute the road was entirely empty – she would swear up and down forever that she was paying attention and the road was clear – and then there was a young man standing right in front of her.
Becky didn’t even have time to swerve before her front bumper caught him and flipped him up over her hood and windshield. She might have shrieked; she wasn’t sure. Instead, hands shaking and operating on autopilot, she slammed the car into park and jumped out. Oh god, what had happened? Did she kill him? How badly was he hurt?
The man she’d struck was lying in the road, eyes open, looking confused.
“Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god,” Becky said, running over to him. “Are you all right? Are you hurt? Where did you come from? Oh my god.” Panic flushed through her. He wasn’t bleeding externally, but that didn’t mean – oh dear God, what had she done?
The young man blinked at her a couple of times and then tried to sit up.
“No, no you shouldn’t move,” Becky babbled. “No, stay still, in case you’ve broken something. I didn’t even see you, I’m so sorry, I don’t know what happened, but you must have come from somewhere.” She pulled her cell out of her coat pocket, flipped it open and called 911, almost unable to dial the numbers on the phone, her hands were shaking so much.
The ambulance and the police were on the scene within minutes – after all, what else was there to do on a Sunday night in this quiet suburb?
The young man said nothing as Becky fussed over him, but he did sit up. He seemed unharmed, really, although it was hard to tell for sure, as he wouldn’t say anything, just stared at her uncomprehendingly. Same expression for the police and the paramedics – a vague curiosity, a little concern, but nothing more.
He was probably about 18 or 19, tall, thin, curly blond hair, a classically handsome face. He was wearing jeans and a white t-shirt – no shoes or socks, no watch, no wallet. Nothing to indicate who he was, and he didn’t answer her when she asked, but he didn’t seem to mind when she fussed over him and then the paramedics checked for injury.
Paramedics rushed him to the nearest big hospital and Becky spent hours with the police in the waiting room – she had to know how he was doing – answering their questions, going over the accident, explaining over and over again that she was perfectly sober, that she was not speeding, texting, talking on her cell phone or even listening to the radio, that the road had been clear, that one minute he had not been there, the next he had. The police had at first been skeptical, but after a breathalyzer proved her sobriety and her story didn’t change, they began to soften.
After several hours, a good-looking doctor in his mid-30s came out to meet them. He introduced himself as Dr. Halstead.
“Well, I’ve seen some weird stuff in my day – pencils up the nose into the sinuses, fractures nobody notices for weeks – one guy got a nail gun to the you-know-whats and went on to father three more kids – but this one takes the cake,” he said. “He’s fine. Really. Not a scratch on him. Of course, he won’t tell you if he’s hurt, so I’m thinking some cognitive disability or impairment. Pre-existing, not the result of the accident. The guy just doesn’t talk. But the crash doesn’t seem to have fazed him at all.”
“He can’t talk or he won’t talk?” one of the officers asked to clarify.
“He won’t,” Dr. Halstead shrugged. “Vocal cords are fine. He makes noises, but he doesn’t talk. Hums to himself – I think it’s Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ - looks around a lot, seems a little confused, but otherwise he’s in perfect health. And I made extra sure there wasn’t a head injury. MRI, the whole shebang. He’s absolutely fine.”
Becky breathed a sigh of relief. She’d worry about the dents in her bumper and hood later. That was a small price to pay for the kid being okay.
“You think he may be handicapped?” the other officer said, and got shushed by his younger partner.
“Nobody says that anymore,” she corrected him. He shrugged and turned back to the doctor. “He’s not all there?” He said instead, as though this was a better alternative. The younger cop sighed.
Dr. Halstead’s mouth quirked as though he was trying not to smile.
“I’m not a mental health expert,” he said. “But he appears to be developmentally disabled in some way. I’m having him taken over to the psychiatric hospital for observation. In the meantime, you’ve got yourselves a John Doe – no name, no ID.”
“So in your medical opinion, doctor,” the older cop said, “This guy could have easily walked out in front of a car?”
“Oh sure,” Dr. Halstead said. “Or fell from MountOlympus, who knows. The kid looks like a Michelangelo painting. Half the nurses are cooing over him as I speak. I couldn’t even get in the room the last time I went in there, he’s got so many admirers.” He rolled his eyes and grinned amiably.
“We’ll talk to the psychiatric hospital then, once he’s admitted, and see if we can’t figure out who he is and where he came from,” the younger cop said to Dr. Halstead. “Thanks for your help.” She turned to Becky. “Ms. Buchwald, you may go, and we’ll be in touch.”
As it turned out, Becky was not charged for the accident. Police determined the unknown male had likely walked out in front of her from between cars and she had had no time to see him and react appropriately. Because he wasn’t hurt and no one seemed inclined to press charges, she was off the hook. But she always drove even more carefully after that.
Six months later, Becky met a construction engineer, fell madly in love, got married, and had twins.
Nah, it's fun to learn new things. I'm glad you're having such fun with the iconage. Let me know when you want to move on to banners ;) You can make some for my EvilSammysGirl page and this one ;) I should, but I havent had time. And mood themes. Yeah, I need to get one that.
I would be game to learn about banners but I don't know how to use them! I can probably do rudimentary ones on Publisher; the really fancy stuff requires Photoshop, which I can't afford. *sniffle*
One other thing I need to learn how to do is post my icons like people do on their LJ pages. Mine end up all mashed together, but on the LJ pages they're so neatly spaced, numbered, the whole shebang. Am I missing some easy trick?
Not a clue what mood themes are. Guess I should though!
Mood themes are the pictures that accompany the post "mood" at the bottom of the entry. You can customize them. I have been wanting to do an SN one for awhile, but I just transferred my internet domains over and so now have to set up proper hosting for them. Once I do though, I'll make a mood theme for this and my EvilSammysGirl page. Fun!
I use straight html when I do my pages, so to get the icons to align like that, you can do an html table. There might be a short-cut through LJ's rich text editor and such, but I havent really looked into it to know.
I THINK I understand what you're talking about, only I know nothing about html or tables. I guess I should poke around on LJ to find out more about the rich text editor; I do know that they offer the html option, but I know nothing about how that works.
Oddly enough I'm starting to learn something similar at work through our very weird individualized system, so maybe I'll learn something that will transfer!