THE NIGHT I PLAYED DEAD

MAY, 1976. AS I LAY IN THE BACK OF THE 1975 PONTIAC STATION WAGON, COVERED WITH A SHEET ON A GURNEY, ONE COULD ONLY GUESS AT WHAT WAS ABOUT TO UNFOLD. HARVEY, WAS A STUDENT OF MORTUARY SCIENCES AT A LOCAL COLLEGE. I WORKED IN A SERVICE STATION ALONG SIDE A CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY. MY BROTHER, WHOM JUST HAPPENED TO BE AT WORK AT THE SAME STATION THIS PARTICULAR DAY, HAD A THING ABOUT DEAD BODIES. ALTHOUGH HE KNEW THAT THERE WAS NO WAY HE COULD BE INJURED BY ONE, HE JUST DIDN’T WANT ANYTHING TO DO WITH BEING EVEN CLOSE TO ONE. SO, HERE WE COME. HARVEY DRIVING, ME IN THE BACK COVERED UP WITH MY WORK CLOTHES AND BOOTS ON, UNDER THE SHEET. WHEN HARVEY PULLED UP TO THE GAS PUMP, HE TOLD MY BROTHER TO FILL UP THE TANK. MY BROTHER, KNOWING THERE WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A REAL DEAD BODY IN THE BACK TOLD HARVEY, “YOU WORK HERE, FILL IT UP YOURSELF”. SO HARVEY FILLED THE TANK AND PROCEEDED TO PARK THE STATION WAGON, WITH ME IN THE BACK, IN FRONT OF THE LUBE BAYS. I TOLD HARVEY TO PUT DOWN THE BACK WINDOW. HE WOULDN’T DO IT. DARN! IN THE MEAN TIME, TWO LOCAL POLICEMEN JUST HAPPENED TO BE IN THE GAS STATION ALSO. AS HARVEY, MY BROTHER AND THE TWO POLICEMEN WERE TALKING; HARVEY TOLD THEM THAT HE HAD A STIFF WITH NO EYES IN THE BACK OF HIS STATION WAGON. MEL, ONE OF THE POLICEMEN, SAID,“YOU’RE SHITTING ME”. HARVEY SAID, “NO GO LOOK FOR YOUR SELF”. SO, THE TWO POLICEMEN, HARVEY AND MY BROTHER ALL MOZIED OVER TO THE BACK OF THE STATION WAGON, WHERE YOU KNOW WHO WAS LAYING UNDER THE SHEET ON THE GURNEY. AS THEY APPROACHED THE BACK OF THE WAGON, MEL SHINED A FLASHLIGHT IN MY FACE AND I ALMOST BLEW IT WHEN I JUMPED, A LITTLE. AS THEY WERE TALKING, I DID MY BEST TO PLAY DEAD, CONVENCINGLY THAT IS. MEL MADE A COMMENT AS TO MY SIZE. SOMETHING TO THE EFFECT OF, AND I QUOTE, “JESUS CHRIST, HE’S A BIG FU**ER, ISN’T HE!”. AT THAT TIME, I TOOK MY HANDS, WHICH UP UNTILL THAT TIME WERE CROSSED OVER MY CHEST, RIGHT HAND LOWER ON MY STOMACH AND LEFT HAND ABOVE IT AND I RAISED THEM FROM THE ELBOWS UP SO THAT THEY STOOD UP UNDER THE SHEET. MEL, STARTED POINTING ONE FINGER AT ME JUST AS FAST AS HE COULD AND MAKING SOME KIND OF SOUND I DON’T THINK I EVER HEARD BEFORE, WHILE HIS OTHER HAND WAS IN HIS POCKET. MY BROTHER HAD BOTH HANDS IN HIS POCKETS, HIS BODY WAS TURNED ABOUT 90 DEGREES TO THE RIGHT, BOTH FEET WERE GLUED TO THE GROUND AND HE WAS READY TO HALL BUTT OUT OF THERE, BUT HE COULDN’T MOVE. ALL HE KNEW WAS THAT HE WANTED TO GET THE HELL AWAY FROM THERE AND COULDN’T. THE THIRD OFFICER, BUD, WAS RUNNING BACKWARDS OUT ACROSS THE LOT, TRYING TO GET THE HAMMER STRAP OFF OF HIS PISTOL HAMMER; AND COULDN’T. GOOD THING FOR ME TOO, OR HE MIGHT HAVE SHOT ME. I TURNED OVER AND RAISED UP TO LOOK OUT THE BACK WINDOW AND WAVE AT EVERYBODY, JUST AS OFFICER BUD FINALLY GOT HIS REVOLVER OUT OF THE HOLSTER AND POINTED IT AT ME. WHEN HE SAW ME, HE SLAMMED HIS REVOLVER BACK INTO HIS HOLSTER, FAST WALKED OVER TO HIS PATROL CAR, STARTED IT UP, PUT IT IN GEAR AND DROVE OUT TO THE STREET, WHERE HE STOOD ON THE GAS PEDAL SO HARD, HE BURNED RUBBER FOR OVER 500 FEET GOING UP AN OVERPASS. MEL AND MY BROTHER JUST STOOD THERE AND LAUGHED, ONCE THEY REALIZED WHAT JUST TOOK PLACE AND SEEING BUD REACT LIKE HE DID. AFTER I GOT OUT OF THE STATION WAGON, WE TALKED ABOUT THE EVENT FOR ABOUT 30 MINUTES AND THEN MY BROTHER WENT HOME AND I WENT ON DUTY FOR THE NIGHT SHIFT. IT ALWAYS BRINGS BACK A FUNNY MEMORY FOR ME WHEN I THINK ABOUT: THE NIGHT I WAS DEAD
!

THE NIGHT I PLAYED DEAD

SMOKEYDOGSOCKS

VACAVILLE, CALIFORNIA, United States

  • Artist
    Notes
  • Artwork Comments 8

Artist's Description

TRUE STORY, I will never forget the night this took place. I just wish I had been able to see their faces when I moved my arms. I could hear the ruckus and the vocalizations, but seeing as how I was still under the sheet, I couldn’t see their faces. It wasn’t until about 30 seconds later, I lifted the sheet off and looked out the back window. By then, all three were away from the station wagon.

Artwork Comments

  • Helen Phillips
  • SMOKEYDOGSOCKS
  • Bobby Deal
  • SMOKEYDOGSOCKS
  • Andrea Searle
  • SMOKEYDOGSOCKS
  • Mike Dineen
  • SMOKEYDOGSOCKS
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