Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Psychotropic Highwaymen

When you live in a large city, there's a good chance you'll see a few oddities — provided you leave your house on occasion, that is. As for myself, my experiences taking shelter in various metropoli have been anything but commonplace.

I've been flashed (and then some) on the train. I've seen a woman chanting bleary-eyed in the middle of busy traffic. I've had my cell phone stolen. I've seen a 10-year-old kid go up against a white man in a rap "battle." And so on.

And, today, I saw a man stuffed into a trunk alongside a traffic-jam highway.

Yes, that's right. I saw a man stuffed into a trunk alongside a highway.

Now, before you ask me about my "meds" or inquire as to my straight jacket strings, you should know that I, too, started to question myself after I realized what I'd seen. This isn't exactly something you see every day.

The setting: an older, black Ford Probe-type car with a really bad paint job. No license plates (on the back, or the front), with a well-dressed lanky man leaning over a popped trunk lid. The man standing up was wearing a bright button-down shirt, and a tie. I was thinking about how mismatched the man and his car were when I realized there was another man inside the trunk... looked like a pretty tight fit and, from what I could see, he was holding a camera in his hand (I was baffled enough by everything that now, in retrospect, I can't recall if it was a still camera, a video camera, or perhaps something that just happened to resemble a camera). The man inside the trunk was pointing the "camera" in the general direction of the man standing outside of the car.

The experience was bizarre enough that I decided to call a "road condition" line (not 911 — just a number used around here to report stranded motorists, accidents, debris and the like). When I told the operator what I had just seen, he said "OK, thanks!" and hung up. I was so baffled by his brevity, that I too could only offer a quick "thanks" before hanging up.

In the meantime, I noticed a semi-truck pulling over into the shoulder (perhaps to figure out what all the craziness was about?), and shortly beyond that, two guys in a new BMW were also pulled over. The passenger was talking on his cell phone, turned all the way around to try and get a glimpse of the happenings behind him. And still a few car lengths ahead of them, a nice Jeep Wrangler was also pulled over (I point out these cars were "nice" and "new" because they most certainly weren't "stranded motorists").

A few minutes later — and after the roadside operator hung up on me — the Wrangler and Beemer both passed me. The old "Probe" never re-appeared, however.

I'm still trying to digest all of this. Half wondering if I saw a movie being filmed (it does happen around here from time to time), but nevertheless perplexed by the fact that the car in question didn't have license plates. This city does have a problem with organized crime — YIKES!

But anyway... if you happen to watch a flick in a year or two — and you notice some girl in the background peering incredulously into the camera — let me know.


Winter said...

I can't believe you posted this story! You have no idea.. I've seen so many crazy things.. and I never have a camera with me to prove it.. Do you mind if I post your story on my blog? Or link to it? My friends NEVER believe my crazy true stories..

thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

I certainly had second thoughts about posting this one -- I also considered deleting it once I put it up. I'm hyper-aware of how "unbelievable" these things are to some.

Sure, feel free to post or link.

Anonymous said...

From anyone but you, I would be skeptical. Coming from you, I believe it. What a messed up world. Glad I am in Parsippany where it's safe!

michele said...

Oh I believe it too - I agree, if you live in any kind of city for a long enough time (and wander outside the house occasionally) you will see some really wacked out stuff. Another possibility is that it was actually a performance piece - I watched one where the performers' actions were intended to look like a crime in a Dada-esque desire to engage the public. Maybe you were engaging unknowingly in making art!?