Ever dry heave so painfully that you get a headache? I have. I did last night, as a matter of fact. I was driving up Rockville Pike, after running a couple of evening errands. It was after 10 at this point, and I just wanted to be home. Hot shower, jammies, brushed teeth, all that jazz. I live relatively close to the junction of the Pike, 495 and 270, and, right at that point, the Pike is under repair. The right lane vanishes, the inattentive start swerving, and the rest of us have to take evasive action. There's usually a lot of brake-slamming and horn-honking. It's fun. To make things more interesting, the street lights aren't always functioning right there, so the road is dark, save for the blinking construction signs.
I really wish the street lights had been working last night. I might have been able to stop in time. Then again, I probably would have been rear-ended or worse.
Last night's painful lesson was that large raccoons were not designed to fit under the front end of a Ford Escort. Instead, they connect with a powerful BOOM right before they are obliterated by the power, power, power of Deee-troit steel. Then, they scatter behind the vehicle in chunks. Big, nauseating chunks.
At least that's what happened this time.
Yep, kids. I ran over an enormous raccoon. It bolted out in front of me, and I had absolutely no time to avoid it. It was large enough that I felt my entire car shudder as I passed over it, after the initial - fairly shocking - impact. With the construction and fairly heavy traffic, there was no place for me to stop. I would have infuriated the pack of drivers behind me and likely caused a few fender benders.
And, having seen what I saw in my rear view mirror, I knew Ranger Rick was toast. He was an ex-mammal. No longer pinin' for the fjords.
Immediately, the dry heaving began. I've only struck an animal with my car once before, and that was a squirrel back in high school. This was much more intense than hitting a squirrel. I had to call one of my sisters to talk me down from the dry heaving - before it became non-dry heaving.
I was utterly loathe to get out of my car and check for blood or fur or anything else on the front end. Apparently, as my car was clean, most of the damage happened in the undercarriage. The dark part of my brain kept thinking Stephen King-ish thoughts about my car having been exposed to blood - and now, it will be possessed and hungry for more! The rest of my brain was simply hurting from the heaving. Rather tastelessly, I recalled an old bit from David Letterman's pre-heart surgery, pre-daddyhood, meaner, more bitter days. Back when video games were primitive, Letterman would show something called "Patton vs. Ali" with little Atari-like images of a boxer facing off with a tank. The boxer would make some ineffective jabs at the tank, which would, in turn, blow his head off. It was the same routine every time. At the end of each bit, Letterman would say, "Choose Patton. He always wins."
Apparently, I was the Patton of the Pike last night. Go figure.
Sorry, furry scavenger. I hope there are plenty of garbage cans for you to knock over in the afterlife. I think I've bagged my wildlife for this decade...
Sign me, Vishnu the Varmit Destroyer (accidental)