Hit and Run
by Richard H. Williams
We left Miller’s Hall about midnight
and were feeling no pain because we had been drinking since early afternoon. But through the flush, the feeling of freedom,
and the cockiness crept a frustration. Although we were oblivious to many things, we were quite aware of our own recent failure.
We had been unable to sell our “charming personalities,” unequaled prowess, and fabricated untold wealth to any
of the women at the dance.
Vaulting into the antique convertible without
bothering to open the doors, we were off in a flash of flame and a cloud of smoke. We left a litter of empty beer cans and
the strains of a bold sea ditty in our wake.
The town of Manchester was composed of compact
waves of matching housing projects. The streets at that hour were void of life and as we moved rapidly down the dimly lit
main street nothing could be heard except our own coarse voices and the roar of our vehicle’s engine.
A small shape suddenly darted from one of
the matchbox houses to the center of the road and before we had been able to react the figure had been dashed to the ground.
We continued on, knowing full well the implications of the act but, although not a word had been uttered by any of us, there
was a mutually feeling extant which assured us at the time that the brutal incident had not been observed by mortal vision
other than our own.
We had covered scarcely four of the city
blocks, however, wheen the shrill scream of a siren pierced our aural senses. A rapid succession of fragments of action hammered
against our brains. First a sharp acceleration, next a violent mashing down on the brake pedal, almost sending us through
the windshield, then an abrupt veering to the left onto a narrow, rutted road, and finally a full stop abandoning the car
on a dead end street. The wail of the siren was dying but distant footsteps could be heard. Then came the metallic shriek
of whistles, and at last a sweet silence pervaded the bat black night. We had evaded our pursuers, at least temporarily.
The activity of our flight had had a sobering
effect upon our minds. They fucctioned now like cracks of lightening, and our senses were painfully acute and alert for further
signs of anything that might be a threat to our freedom.
It was a 40 mile trek through the woods
to Dan’s Farm, which was located on the outskirts of our home town, Natchaug. Natchaug is just a homely, countrified
little town, but American History books tell us that it is not only the leading thread producing city in New England, but
leads the country in venereal disease rate.
We had nothing to eat and it took up almost
48 hours to make the trip on foot. Yet we made it to his farm in good spirits. Upon arrival we told Dan what had happened
and, as we had anticipated, he was more than willing to help us get away. He gave us his bus, the one they talk about at the
Traverer’s Inn in Natchaug. Unlike most vehicles of its type, it only had seats in the front. The others had been torn
out and replaced by bunks and low circular tables. Many a greenback had been passed across those tables and many a physical
pairing of the opposite sexes had occurred on those bunks.
We tried to tell Dan how much we appreciated
his assistance, but he interrupted our thanks giving us meat, bread, and wine. We found it unusual that although two full
days had elapsed since the hit-and-run accident involving what we presumed to be a small child, Dan had first heard the news
from us. We were also surprised to here that there had been no talk of it around town and that it didn’t appear in the
newspapers, on TV, or on the radio, especially since we had left our car on the dead end street.
We drove the bus across the Connecticut
state line, entering Massachusetts, without being stopped. By then we had decided where we were going. Rusty’s uncle
owned a cabin in a wooded mountainous section of Vermont, and we had agreed upon that as our destination.
It was an uneventful trip. Our common mood
was saturated with a feeling of gloom and an anticipation of impending disaster, but we made it to the security of the cabin.
It was mid-October and the beautiful coloration of the leaves peculiar to Vermont were made manifest. The dirt road leading
from the main road to the cabin was three miles in length. Its monotony was broken by small, lively mountain brooks traversing
it at various angles. It was necessary to stop and take down the bars to three gateways in order to get to the cabin from
the main road. Upon passing through each---stopping, removing the bar, and replacing the bar---our hopes for security and
immunity became elevated. Drawing up to the cabin we felt safer.
The cool sharpness of the mountain air in
early autumn and the gold, brown, orange, russet and green leaves, delighted the senses. Yet the first week in the wilderness
heightened our senses rather than relaxing us.
The cabin came equipped with two-decker
beds, a pot bellied stove, a sink containing one large faucet which emitted sporatic bursts of ice cold water, and a small
refrigerator. There were also utensils aand many cases of canned goods, so we only made occasional trips to the nearby village
to precure such stables as eggs, bread, milk, meal, and the various and sundry whiskies, wines, and beers.
We took to drinking heavily and constantly
and becoming philosophical in our discussions, which invariably ended in fiery arguments, Rusty and Reggie sometimes verging
on physical blows.
I suppose the entire sequence of events
had driven me to distraction because I wanted to stir up another batch of trouble. “Let’s rob the yokel’s
grocery story and bring his teen- age daughter back to our lair. When we leave I’m going to set all these dry leaves
afire. Let’s run over some more brats. The justice system will hang you for killing one kid just as it would if you
killed a dozen of them. And how do you two guys like the idea of dealing with lawyers? It makes my skin crawl to think of
it. Something needs to be done about the legal profession.”
“Jesus, Richie,” they would
say. “Shut up! We never should have let you get behind the wheel in the first place. From now on we decide what the
three of us should do. You just follow our orders.”
Then we would commence another argument
among ourselves. Rusty would begin. “I think we should give ourselves up to the authorities. That’s our only chance.
We’ve got to pay society for what we did---square ourselves with the outside world. But if it hadn’t been for
Richie, we’d be back in Natchaug, and able to look the rest of the world in the face.”
“It’s not all Richie’s
fault,” Reggie would say. “Sometimes it’s fun to raise a little hell, and a gamble is always an exciting
challenge. It is true that we shouldn’t have let him drive, but we should never, never consider turning ourselves over
to John Law.”
“Of course, we shouldn’t consider
turning ourselves in,” I would add. “They’ll never catch up with us if we stay here. Let’s raise some
more hell. Live it up,” I say. “Never put off a pleasure until tomorrow when it can be enjoyed today.”
And so it went. We bickered and harassed
each other, and yet I was having my way a little, because we were drinking like Irish playwrights and eating like Bavarian
One day we heard a noise that changed everything.
A quick glimpse from the window facing the road revealed a pickup truck bouncing along the dirt road en route to our cabin.
A half-dozen men, armed with shotguns, were riding in the truck. Now I wanted to stay and fight them, and Rusty wished to
surrender, but Reggie, under tremendous pressure, was ready to take flight, and take flight we did.
Although our individual desires had previously
led to conflict, our retreat brought about a oneness of intent, minimizing our differences in order to affect a common goal.
Once flight had been agreed upon, the decision had been irrevocable.
There was a brisk wind whipping across the
mountainess countryside and it began to rain. The thud of feet and the hoarse cry of voices broke loudly above the other sounds.
Our pursuers had evidently abandoned their truck and continued on foot.
Reggie’s troubles were ended when
he inadvertantly ran into the arms of a North American Black Bear. Rusty and I continued on, our ears filled with the inhuman
shrieks which were an unbelievable distortion of Reggie’s voice.
Our retreat was thoroughly disorganized.
Reggie had been our unspoken leader dis- pite the fact that we both, although in radically different ways, sometimes disagreed
with him. Without his steadying influence we were lost.
The land became less hilly and the forest
turned into a marsh. The rain fell freely from the sky making it difficult to discern what was ahead of us. I was exhausted
to the point of collapse, but Rusty appeared to be tireless. Finally I sank to the ground, gasping for breath, my heart beating
louder than the sounds made by our ubiquitous pursuers, and despite my pleas for assistance, Rusty continued to hasten to
After a brief rest, I forced myself to rise
and move onward. Before I had time to regain my pace, a sight confronted me which sickened my heart and halted my move- ment.
It was the whites of Rusty’s eyes which were responsible for bringing to my attention that portion of him which still
remained visible to mankind. I stood, frozen with fear, as I saw Rusty being swallowed up by the quivering, gray, jelly-like
There is an institution called Pleasant
Valley Training School which is located just outside of Natchaug. I am kept there and I never know from one day to the next
what will become of me. I think that the personnel working there are neither the policemen nor the men armed with shotguns,
but I know one thing for sure. Rusty and Reggie should be made to hear this because they placed all the blame on me. Sometimes
I hear one of the men who guards me say to the other, “Yeh, dey bumped off uh dog. We’ve told ‘im again
and again but he still tinks dey bumbed off uh kid.”
Sometimes in my dreams I see Dan smiling.
But he has never come to visit me.
Copyright William H. Williams 2005
Richard H. Williams has published
in Indite Circle, Demensions, Blue Rose Bouquet, Psychometrika, Above Ground Testing, Dream Forge, Methodika, Naked Poetry,
Sticky Keys, Drinking Stories, Drunkmen, The Harrow, Human Nature Review, Revista de Metologia y Psicologia Experimental,
Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, Journal of Experimental Education, Another Night and Day Alliance, Journal of Mathematical
Psychology, PoetryMagazine.com, Indian Journal of Psychometry and Education, Measurement and Evaluation in Guidance, Starry
Night Review, Psychological Reports, Educational and Psychological Measurement, Test Critiques, Contemporary Education, Muse
Apprentice Guild, Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers, British Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology,
Journal of Educational Measurement, Storymania, Lost Souls, Teaching of Psychology, Journal of Medical Education, Aha! Haiku,
The American Statistician, Canadian Journal of Psychology, Sauce*Box, Journal of the Indian Society of Agricultural Statistics,
Perceptual and Motor Skills, Journal of General Psychology, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Newsletter of the
International Aroid Society, Mathematics Teacher, Psychological Bulletin, Applied Psychological Measurement, Journal of Orthopedic
and Sports Physical Therapy, Scrawlings, Poetic Voices, Communications in Statistics: Simulation and Computation, Improving
College and University Teaching, Florida Journal of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, The Ripe Harvest: Educating
Migrant Children, Project Head Start, The Dream People, the Journal of Modern Literature, Demon Minds, Lil’s Experimental
Ezine, Prose Toad, Poetic Nest, Poetry Life & Times, WriteGallery, Dreamers Reality, Hentracks (in press), and International
Journal of Testing (in press),
Bewildering Stories (in press),
Apollo’s Lyre (in press) and has coauthored the book Modern Elementary Statistics. He has matriculated at the University
of Connecticut, Appalachian State University, East Carolina University, Indiana University, and Rutgers. He is currently studying
Oil Painting, Acrylics, Art History,
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