After a blissful and inspiring weekend at the Surrey International Writing Conference, I was driving home, listening to Davina Porter narrating the audio book of A Breath of Snow and Ashes, breaking into giggles every once in a while recalling conversations or events at the conference, pondering a workshop I thought I should propose for next year’s conference, and generally minding my own business on the highway, when out of the blue a suicidal raccoon strolled onto Highway #1 directly in front of Sheila the Bug.
I hit the brakes. He hit his brakes. He stared me down. Sheila the Bug had been coasting along at 90 km/hr. If Ranger Rick had decided to keep moving, either forward or back, he would have been fine, but his death wish was strong.
If I’d swirved at that speed and distance I would have rolled Sheila, and I was on a mountain with a long cliff to the lake below me.
Ranger Rick was going to die.
He hit Sheila the Bug. There was a loud thump of collision, and several smaller thunks and bumps as he travelled beneath the car. I sighed regretfully. I have never hit a creature before, beyond birds which flew into me. I was imagining the carnage beneath my vehicle: blood, guts, fur.
Suddenly my temperature gauge light came on, then it started flashing madly. I was entering a small town 30 mins from home. I pulled into the empty mall, parked beneath a light and looked beneath.
There was no raccoon carnage whatsoever.
Instead, there was automotive carnage. The bumper was smashed in half, something black and important looking was missing on one side, the radiator had a dint in it. Pale, glistening autoblood was streaming from radiator.
I phoned my knight in shining armour, and he rode up on his trusty Honda steed and rescued me, tow truck following behind. When I called ICBC to report the damage, the operator said, “Wow. That must have been a huge raccoon!”
I have to say, I was stunned at the revenge extracted by that striped bandit. Not content to kill himself, he had to take out poor Sheila!
Sheila the Bug will be in the car hospital for quite some time. No doubt Ranger Rick is lying in wait for the next unsuspecting VW Beetle!
Plainly, I should just have stayed in Surrey with all those wonderful writerly people.