Jack’s legs were still weak when he opened the door, stepped into the safety of his kitchen, and practically melted into a seat at the table.
His wife closed the refrigerator door and sat across from him. “You look like hell. Traffic bad again?”
Jack shook his head. “Accident. I just escaped being killed.”
“Oh my God!” She straightened in her chair and locked eyes with him. “Are you okay? What happened?”
“When I came out of the big curve on Sixth, a pick-up was coming at me head-on. I had trees on one side and on-coming traffic on the other. I thought it was over for me.”
The wife walked around the table and hugged him. “Thank God you’re okay.”
Their son entered the room. “Gross. Save that for later.” He shifted his eyes from them to the stove as he spoke. “How long before dinner?”
The wife went to adjust the heat on the stove. “Dad’s telling me something important. It’ll be about fifteen minutes, so don’t eat anything.”
“How’d you get out?” She sat back down at the table. The son took the seat across from her and reached for a banana from the bowl in the center of the table.
“He went into the trees.” Jack pulled in a deep breath and exhaled between his teeth, regretting the few seconds he had been relieved to see the truck wrap around an Oak.
“Was the driver hurt?” The wife asked, taking the banana away from the son, who left the room in a huff.
“He was talking when they took him in the ambulance. Said a bee stung him on the eye. He apologized to me.”
The back door swung open and slammed against the counter. A daughter and her friend charged in, both speaking at once. “Oh. My. God,” the daughter said. “Some freaking drunk just ran everybody off the road on Sixth.”
“When?” The wife asked. “Just now, or a while ago?”
“I don’t know the exact time.” The daughter’s tone was indignant. “Everybody’s talking about it at Thornton’s.”
“Dad was involved,” the mother explained. “That’s not exactly how it happened.”
“I don’t think everyone would lie about it,” the friend said. “I know some of the guys at Thornton’s and they aren’t liars.”
“He wasn’t drunk,” Jack said. “A bee stung him. And he didn’t run everybody off the road. He ran himself off the road and hit a tree to keep from hitting me.”
“He had to be drunk or on something,” the daughter said.
“Anybody that would run people off the road and hit a tree has to be drunk,” the friend agreed. “I hope he goes to jail.”
While this friend chatted with her parents, the daughter connected with another friend on her cell phone. “Oh. My. God. You won’t believe what happened on Sixth. I knew about it before anybody and already told Megan. Call her. I need to tell Rachel.”
The wife left the table to serve dinner. Both girls made calls on their phones while Jack tried to tell them what had really happened. “He was driving a red pick-up, not a wrecker. No, he did not appear to be drunk.” The girls ignored him and continued to spread the story they had heard in Thornton’s.
Son returned when his mother announced dinner. “Man, you should see what was just on the news. A truck, wrapped all the way around a tree on Sixth.”
“Dork. We’ve been talking about that for the last ten minutes.” The sister tossed her napkin at her brother and laughed.
“Some guy ran across traffic and off the road,” the brother said.
The mother returned the stray napkin to the sister while she explained to the brother. “Dad was there. He was almost hit by that truck.”
“Somebody’s probably dead. The truck is mangled,” the son continued.
“We already know,” his sister yelled. “I knew it before you did, jerk.”
The boy filled his plate and took a bite. “Dad,” he turned to his father. “Did you hear about that truck that hit a tree on Sixth?
Reading Gather yesterday was like sitting in a room with this family. For some reason, people seem to come here to publish, not read, the same as these people want to talk without listening. Those publish-without-reading people have little regard for details or proof. They want to publish first and most often, without bothering to see if twenty others have already published the same topic, and without researching first to get the facts.
One person publishes a blurb, states a rumor without fact, and follows with a question, either asking the reader to do the research or to chat about it with no information. A group of people who have no information come along to express their opinions about the topic that none of them has bothered to investigate. Should someone who has researched the topic come along and try to correct the misguided opinions that others formed on nothing, that person is ignored or insulted.
And pity the poor person who rates the blurb and misguided conversation low.
I am concerned about a community or society where people care more about being first, feeling important, being ‘yes men’ to make friends and points, than they do about using their minds, and being correct. Does anyone benefit by thinking a drunk ran everyone off the road on Sixth and hoping he ends up in jail?