Ten Yards from Termination – By Michael Olney

As my friend and I began to walk from the parked car I noticed his abandoned

wallet just sitting there on the passenger side. How had I not felt this turgid leather

pouch as I so absolutely sat upon it? What had made me look back through the

window in the first place? These are questions for which I neither have the energy to

answer nor the fortitude to face, considering that, in less than forty seconds, I would

witness a young woman getting run over in breath taking high definition. What if we

had been five seconds earlier? And don’t start me on that idiot who whipped her

ignorant little tin-can door open without a care or consideration in the world, thus

causing this weird accident.


I remember my hands shaking and being overcome by a primal and fundamental

dread for what I would see if I braved the other side of the crashed car. A mounted

footpath was never a good thing and Douglas Street was never really a good place.

The car wasn’t even going that fast, yet still the shock of machine verses soft meat

rendered my companion and me totally tranquilised – specifically speechless – but

alive none the less. I didn’t know whether to cry or to laugh, to leave or to stay.

Morals and manners abandoned me at the first sign of trouble in my young life and

all I could do was stand, stare and swear. Such a tsunami of unchecked adrenaline

charged through my quivering body, that I feel, looking back, I could have left Usain

Bolt in a trail of billowing dust, even though I was still in my work shoes. That morbid

curiosity, something that I had carried with me for my whole life, perished in one

split second and was replaced by a new respect for all that is soft and muscular. The

poor girl never stood a chance.


I had never been in shock before, and I don’t care to be in it again. A nasty old thing

it is, stronger than any drug but with zero addiction, simultaneously paralyzing

and invigorating. And I don’t mean to steal attention from the poor, soft girl who

ended up beneath the metal and rubber beast, (who happily walked away from the

accident, by the way) but I can only recount my own sentiments and they feel worth

recounting for one reason or another. Such blatant mortality should surely not go

unreported right? A morbid obligation of the highest order, dealt to me by pure

chance and the disputable presence or lack of luck. So there we stood, dumb, empty,

worn out from shaking, yet still somewhere, somehow ourselves. Somehow, even

with death laughing in our stoney faces, we both remembered our reason for being

there in the first place. “Come on man, the offie’s about to close.”