Just Beyond the Bend

This is a more contemporary, tongue-in-cheek sort of story than is my usual. There is no splatter. In fact, it’s barely horror. Though I hope you ask yourself by the end, “Where are we going and why are we in this handbasket.”

When you get to the end, the last line is a double entendre — something I’m quite fond of.


December 01, 2010

My first day on the job and I am so excited. After being unemployed for most of this year, a small software company in Boston has hired me. It only took three weeks to relocate to a house south of the city in the community of Pekingnocginot Heights.

My wife, Elizabeth, has never been out of southern Florida and can’t wait to see New England snow for the first time.

December 12, 2010

Snowing! My wife is giddy as a school girl. The snow barely covered the lawn and she went out trying to make snow angels.

I stopped by Home Depot to pick up a snow shovel and noticed they had quite a selection of snow blowers. I can’t imagine being that lazy.

December 13, 2010

Too bad the snow finally stopped. It makes the outdoors so pretty. The blanket of white makes everything so much brighter—happier. The snow plow operator even waved to me.

My commute to work went a little slower. At mid-point, we were forced down to one lane. The only plow I saw was going the other way.

Driving home, I picked up a puppy so Elizabeth has some company while I’m at work. She hasn’t named the little Shih Tzu yet. He is mostly white and fluffy.

December 20, 2010

More snow and everyone’s excited that we’ll have a white Christmas.

Elizabeth decided to name the puppy Snowball.

The commute to Boston was messy this morning and my Toyota Yaris doesn’t do well in the slushy ruts.

You’d think with all the plows on the road it wouldn’t be a problem. But I noticed that most of the trucks with plows don’t even seem to use them. They just hang there, a foot off the pavement.

December 21, 2010

I stopped at the mall on the way back from Boston to do a little Christmas shopping for Elizabeth. The parking lot has huge mounds of snow in the few remaining parking spaces. It took a while to find a place to park.

I slipped and fell crossing to the mall entrance. I was worried that the oncoming plow operator might not see me. Apparently he did. He stopped and waited for me to get up. I think I hurt my tail bone, and I hope the dirty slush doesn’t stain the elbows of my coat.

December 26, 2010

Blizzard! How lucky is it that it’s Sunday. No driving — or so I thought.

Elizabeth sent me out for milk and eggs, so I went over to Cumberland Farms. In the parking lot, a pickup truck with a big yellow plow pulled out while I was pulling in and it scared the bejeezus out of me. I got my supplies and slid down the sloping entry into oncoming traffic. The first four cars honked their horns but none of them hit me. When I got home I quietly changed my drawers.

December 27, 2010

They’re asking everyone to stay home today, so I called-in to work. No one answered the phone.

I shoveled as well as I could, but my back is bothering me and it isn’t helping that my tailbone still hurts. By late afternoon I had the driveway cleared enough to get the car out if I need to; then the plow went by and blocked me in again.

There should be a law against that.


January 01, 2011

They’re calling for more snow and I told Elizabeth I couldn’t shovel any more. She said it was just a little snow. Inside I raged like a madman, outwardly I smiled and left for Home Depot.

When I got there, the thousands of snow blowers were gone; so I went to the front desk and asked a woman behind the counter where they were. She said they were sold out of them and wouldn’t be getting any more till next season.

I managed to hold my composure until I got back in my car.

January 02, 2011

Snow: not much but still. I put out three bags of rock salt and threw two handfuls at the passing plow.

January 08, 2011

Snow, again. It’s, like, every frickin’ weekend. I’m not clearing it because the plow guy will just block me back in again. I swear he waits just out of sight. Bastard.

And it’s gotten really cold. I opened the door to let Slushball, the puppy, out. He gave a shudder, turned back to the kitchen where he squatted and did his business.

January 12, 2011

Have we had a week without snow falling? I traded my Yaris in for a Highlander which rolled three times while getting off the highway here at the exit ramp leading to Pekinocginot Heights.

After I came to a stop, the plow went by—probably just to get a closer look.

I hurt my neck when I released the seatbelt and landed on my head.

January 19, 2011

My insurance policy set me up with a rental car. It’s a new red Yaris. In the middle of my hideous laughing, the rental agent began backing away.

In the short time I was driving the Highlander, I got used to being taller in the saddle, so-to-speak. So when I didn’t see anything coming beyond the snow bank at the first intersection, I made a right turn and was promptly creamed by an oncoming snowplow. The impact twirled my car around, bouncing from one snow bank to the other.

He helped me out of my violent red Yaris, and I chased him down the street swinging the remains of the steering wheel, still in my clutches.

February 04, 2011

White sheets, white robe, white curtains that open to a white world.

The nurse has little dinosaurs on her blue uniform.

She comes by, like clockwork, with a tiny white cup to dispense a tiny white pill.

Outside, I can hear the scraping howl of the plow.

It’s waiting, just beyond the bend.


9 thoughts on “Just Beyond the Bend

  1. Eric J. Krause

    Excellent story! Enjoyed how you presented it. I’ve never really even been in snow, so I can’t relate to this on a personal level, but I can see going nuts because of things like this. I’m really glad I don’t live somewhere where it snows.

  2. laradunning

    I like the diary format with the short snipets. Its just enough to get a feel for the mc’s thoughts and the progression of his escalating drama over the snow.

    1. donaldconrad Post author

      Yeah, I’m happy with the presentation. I live just beyond the bend in my neighborhood.
      Having the plow come to a halt as I was clearing away the driveway opening set off the idea-light above my head.
      I plucked the seatbelt release moment from an auto accident in which my father was the driver and the only seatbelt wearer…

    1. donaldconrad Post author

      Real life inspiration? Sure!

      I live inside the bend of a horse-shoe shaped neighborhood. The last time I was out by the entry with the snow blower, a plow came to a halt in order to avoid hitting me. This was the inspiration for the story: plotting plows and their operators just around the bend.

      Shih Tzus? We have three. Sunny Boy, Teddy Bear, and Six Gun Sam.

      Toyota? You bet. Though I’ve never flipped one. My dad rolled a Ford station wagon from the sixties. I watched him unlatch his seatbelt and hit his head. Comedy and horror — yin and yang.

      We who live with winter snow know the sound of the late night plow; the dragging howling scooping groan which conjurs things which can only be imagined in the snowy veil of shadows and never realized in the light of day.

      Do I draw from life? Don’t we all?

  3. J. M. Strother

    A little tired of snow, Donald? I know I can certainly relate. I love how there is a gradual erosion of sentiment over time here, going from giddy joy to stark raving mad. Nice smooth transitions with a good eye for detail throughout. Good one.

    ps. It’s snowing here again…

  4. Stephen

    I imagine the shrink revenues grow during the winter months as people, already suffering from claustrophobia, try to cope. I like how everything is white, even the pill, which is the last color this guy needs for treatment. I’d rather have something with fauna and bamboo to recover. But hey, that’s just me.


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