Within the last week, I was riveted by a television show’s story line. I love those cop-murder-mystery kinds of series and this week, there was an especially gruesome one. It seems a woman got into her car late one night and there was someone in the back seat who promptly slipped a plastic bag over her head and suffocated her.
I tell you this before I tell you my most recent event because it will tell you what my frame of mind was. I have always feared the “killer in the backseat with the knife” scenario and this week, I faced my own nightmare…but don’t worry; as you should already have guessed, I survived!
I was on the road late at night. I had been driving for about 20 miles on some very slippery roads after running some errands in a nearby city. It was icy, I was tense and my hands actually ached from clutching the wheel so tightly. There was no one else to drive, though, so it was up to me to be a big girl and get through.
Just as I was congratulating myself for being so courageous, a light from a car coming up behind me shone in the back of my car and outlined the head of a person, sitting behind me in the back seat. I now know the meaning of the phrase, “heart jumped into my throat,” because mine did.
Almost gagging from fear, I tried to appear cool as I slowly skidded the car over to the side of the road. I thought frantically about what there was in the front seat that I could use as a weapon, but I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to stab anybody to death with the straw in my drink.
My second thought was to slow down enough to throw myself out of the car. I was trying to remember the stories people told about jumping from a moving car and surviving. Was the car going 30 miles an hour? 20? Would I be able to do it without splatting myself on the highway and breaking bones? Even if I could get out, what would I do then? The person in the back seat could just run after me. What to do? What to do?
I was just at the point of emitting a hair-raising shriek (this is not strategy, it was just panic setting in), when another car came up from behind and I could once again observe the person in the back seat. Except that the person in the back seat was not a person.
My last errand had been at a costume shop where I had secured a large horse costume which was presently residing in the back seat…right behind my seat…sticking up far enough to catch the light of the cars behind me.
My five seconds of terror were over, but now chagrin set in. After turning around and swinging my very heavy purse into every corner of the back seat to make sure the bogus horse was my only passenger, I put the car in gear and continued the nerve-wracking ride home. I did make it home, by the way and without being knifed or suffocated by any backseat murderers.
The thing causing me the chagrin, however, remains. I keep asking myself, what if I had gotten the car slowed down enough and had the nerve to pitch myself out? Even if a passing car didn’t turn me into pavement wax, I was bound to break something. So how would I explain to the emergency personnel assigned to scrape me off the highway that I broke my hip, leg, shoulder,head, etc., jumping out of my car to escape a homicidal horse costume???