The Redhead and I met Alan halfway on a highway that is the quickest route to a wet county. I was collecting my rebarreled Garand. There's a gift from your higher power. New barrel, installed, then test-fired and set on Mechanical Zero by a gun guru. You can't pay for something like that, you just thank God for the blessings.
We were just a few miles from the county line when I noticed a pickup drifting across the double stripe. Clear day. 2:30pm. Very little traffic. I hardly needed to swerve and I checked him in the rear-view mirror. He never corrected, drifting all the way across the highway and disapearing over the shoulder with a little puff of dust.
"Want to see a dead person?" I asked the Redhead as I braked and turned the 4-Runner around. She didn't, but we needed to go look anyway.
The shoulder dropped steeply, too steeply to be seen from the highway above. The pickup was wedged in the bottom of a shaded creekbed among some hardwoods. The truck was smoking and honking faintly. He was already out staggering around and (surprise) talking on his cell phone. A big healthy looking drunk youngster. 20 maybe.
I looked him over for blood and bones sticking out and had him turn around. He seemed to be fine just drunk and in shock. Young guy with a polo shirt, jeans and good teeth. You probably couldn't hurt him with a baseball bat and three tries. Idiot. Airbags saved him from anything but a soft beating. Sore tomorrow. Plus his truck, or somebody's, was fubared.
I folded the plastic cover of the steering wheel back to cut off the horn. The airbags were all smoldering and smoking up the interior. Half a case of cold Budweisers were loose on the floorboards. I guess he missed the TV ads they put out about drinking responsibly. Might have been coming back from a long night in the TOTALLY NUDE! GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS! joints on the highway.
He was calling his dad on the phone. I looked up at the highway and noticed how concealed the crash site was.
"You aren't going to pass a blood test," I advised him, "So if you call 911 you are going to be arrested, jailed for a few days and it's going to cost 20.000.00 and plus all the court and parole time. You need to clean the beer out of the truck and get someone to come get you. You don't look hurt to me. I'm leaving now. Good luck."
When I looked back from the shoulder above he was tossing beer down the creek about 30 yards from the crash. Not far enough for even the most inexperienced LEO to miss.
Probably, he's going to lose his citizenship, end the afternoon handcuffed in a jail cell that smells like sweat, piss and vomit while a weekend judge sets his bail at 50,000.00 and a few of his fellow incarceratos pick him over. It's a slam dunk with the no-refusal blood draws they are doing, so he would be done. No voting, no guns. Lifetime police suspicion from now on anytime he crosses their path. It can be argued that he deserves all that, and more.
It might be true, but it wasn't going to be true with my assistance.
He could have killed someone. He could have killed himself. He might already have killed someone. He might in the future. Drunks deserve death or anything that happens to them. All true. And unknown.
Wonder how it went? Every day could have a complete novel written about it.
We got home safely. Had a glass of wine with dinner and silently toasted the mingled destinies of men.
Update: Folks disagree, some with good grace and some so threatened that they seem a little snarky. That's the way it goes on the internet. Check the comments.
Using my normal powers I found out who the kid was and called his cell phone to see if I could get more story. No return call yet but I'll keep working it.