I wrote this up in October 2009, but did not have a blog at the time. I think you will agree with me that it needed to be excavated from the mine of my mind and posted for all to read.

Yesterday, as I drove to Walmart to shop for groceries and supplies, I saw something in the road but could not tell what it was until it was too late. It was gloomy and slightly sprinkling, so my visual field was already awash in watery illusions.

My Dodge Stratus was on a collision course with a medium-sized can of red paint.
 
One does not come across paint cans in the road often, so I suppose my brain simply did not know how to process what my eyes were seeing. Anthropologists indicate that, when tribal people encounter things like airships or planes, they do not “see” the foreign objects floating in front of them. These objects do not exist in their cultures, after all, so they are somehow blind to them. In a similar way, I suppose I did not see the can of red paint in the road because it was an anomaly, appearing in a place where paint cans do not normally appear. It was not there. But it was there. At least this is how I think my brain processed it. Because I know I saw it, but I also did not see it.

Before I could say “paradox,” the paint can collided with the front tire on the driver’s side of my car.  Red paint exploded all over the road and across the side of my car, making it look as though I had pulverized a pedestrian or ten. 

It was a hit and run operation. I hit the can of paint, and it ran down the side of my car. Dazed, I continued driving to Walmart and parked in the store’s lot, my car dripping with red paint.

“Nevermind my car,” I wanted to say to the people pushing shopping carts past me in the parking lot. “I just ran over a class of elementary-school kids on a field trip. No biggie.”

When I emerged from the store, having shopped in a stupor, I was actually a little surprised my car was not surrounded by police officers.

“What did you do with the body?” They would say to me. “You mean bodies, plural,” I would reply.

I drove home with a guilty grimace on my face, and quickly found a hose, a sponge, and a rag. There in my driveway, in plain sight, I scrubbed the paint off of my car in gloomy, rainy October weather, looking like a crazy car-obsessive. I worried the neighbors would think they had an O. J. Simpson on their hands, sans bloody gloves. There I was, cleaning up my crime in my driveway without even trying to cover it up. 

After 30 minutes or so, the black plastic housing of my driver’s-side mirror was stained red but no longer a bright, bloody red. The front driver’s-side tire was the same – stained on the side, and probably permanently so. 
 
It was like my own private horror film at Halloween, and with plenty of artificial blood to go around. I wanted a white Bronco so I could leave Lawrence properly. I knew the coppers would never believe I had only hit a can of red paint.

I went upstairs to shave for my mug shot.