Road Kill…

I didn’t write about this when it first happened because quite honestly it really bothered me. But Friday before last (December 10 to be exact), when I was coming home from the office around 11:15PM, I hit something on the freeway. Jesus please us, it sounded like I ran over a cinderblock. I thought sure my car was jacked up from whatever it was. Just minutes before that, on the freeway interchange heading onto the Gulf Freeway from Jefferson Street (it’s a bit of a leg of freeway that goes up and around the freeway, then dips back down to a Y intersection and you can bear left to head toward the Univ. of Houston or bear right to enter the Gulf Freeway), I saw the signs ahead illuminated. I looked in my rear view mirror to see a truck behind me in traffic with his bright lights on. I briefly thought, “What’s he doing that for?” when BAM! I hit this cinderblock. As soon as I got onto the freeway (which was the only thing I could do at that point), I took the first exit. The car seemed fine, so I made a U-turn and got back around and up onto the freeway so I could see what the hell it was that I hit.

What went under the car?

Parts of the freeway were under construction (as they always are in Houston) and we’ve always got big rigs (18-wheelers) going up and down the freeways. They’re always losing tires and you see those tire remnants all along the highways. Depending on how they come off the truck, how big they are and what kind of car you have, they can be very dangerous — even deadly. I figured that had to be what I hit.

Dangerous tire tread, road hazard.

It was dark and I don’t have the best eyesight, especially at night, and I couldn’t really see what it was. It looked like a duffel bag or a medium size dog. (Thankfully it wasn’t a human — we have a lot of idiots who attempt to cross our freeways here, always without success.) It made me sad to think that I’d hit an animal. And I chided myself for not paying better attention, for looking back instead of ahead. That must have been why the truck behind me put his high beams on.

When I got home, I got out of the car and walked all the way around it, certain there would be SOME telltale sign of damage, a dent, hair, blood, something. Nope. Clean as a whistle. When Monday night rolled around and I was again on the way home, as I drove by, I noticed the damn thing was still on the side of the road. That’s really odd, because the City usually cleans up roadkill pretty quickly. And every day that week, as a testament to my carelessness, I drove past that spot, and there it still lay.

I told Robert about it and also told my co-worker. I thought it was weird that it was still there after so many days. I kept telling myself to go back there during the day to see what it was. By this time I was thinking maybe it wasn’t a dog. Maybe my eyes were playing tricks on me. After all, I didn’t hear anything when it hit. No yelp, no nothing. It literally felt like I’d hit a cinderblock.

So every night that I worked (up to and including last night), the thing was still there on the side of the road. This is a busy section of freeway. Why hasn’t the City been out? So on the way home from the doctor’s office yesterday, I had Robert in the car with me. I deliberately took a path that would lead me down that stretch of road to get home. I asked him to check as I drove by. This was killing me and I had to be sure what it was that I had hit. With him riding shotgun, he had a better vantage point — and much better eyesight. And it was daylight.

So we drove by and sure enough, it was a dog. A dog about the size of that bull terrier we fostered a few months ago. But then Robert mentioned something else to me. He speculated it was already dead when I hit it. That would explain the way it felt when it went under the car, that there was no screaming or yelping, no blood, no fur. So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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