Night of the Voice
I'm not crazy; I just write/act like it sometimes.
Granted, my friends and coworkers beg to differ; but just because I've been hit in the head with a bird house, and fell out of a tree getting firewood, that doesn't prove the prima facie case. At least, not to me.
Nor do the true-life episodes of the Poseidumb Adventure, or my efforts to defy Nature and get to work in two of the worst blizzards of my life (1982, 2003), nor my storm chasing for photos, prove that I'm certifiable. At least, not to me.
Then came the other night, and I was almost convinced the others were right.
In my current job as a landless serf, I work a mild variety of shift variations (aka, the hours suck). I can have start times that vary up to four-six hours, and end times that vary about the same. Right now, it's a mixed bag of late swing/early-mid graveyard hours. By the end of a 'normal' (snort) week, I'm a bit...off my game. Some folks refer to it as 'tired'.
Earlier this week, I was finishing up another stretch that amounted to 52 hours over 5 nights. It was about 3:30am, and I was driving along in mental autopilot along I-70, eastbound for home. It was quiet; I didn't even have the radio on. No music. No whistling or humming. I was just enjoying the sound of the wind against the car, the rubber against the pavement, and the occasional epithets from an elk who I'd barely missed near the Chief Hosa exit.
I guess he/she thought it was their road at that hour of the morning, but I digress.
At any rate, a couple of times during the descent into Lakewood, I ever so briefly thought I heard something. A voice.
Couldn't be: I was alone. My radio was off. I was miles beyond hearing range of cursing elk, and I wasn't even muttering suggestions about their dubious antecedence to myself.
Later, as I was exiting I-70 for US 6 east, I thought I heard it again. A voice. I glanced ahead, and was assured that I had avoided the cursing elk: no front end damage or gesturing antlers were gracing my grille.
When I exited US 6 for the frontage road and the backway home and had to stop for cross traffic -- of which there was none -- I was now certain.
I was hearing a voice.
I checked the radio. It was off. I turned it on. The voice sounded like the one on the radio. I turned it off. The voice persisted.
Danged fool piece of apparatus, I thought.
I turned it back on...I turned the volume all the way down, and then off. The voice persisted.
I looked around for someone's planted remote-controlled speaker; any day of April is fair game with the April Fools' crowd at work. But there was none. No hidden cameras. No Allen Funt, which is good -- really good -- since he's dead.
Still, the voice persisted.
As I drove the last couple of miles home, I pondered the options: (a) I had a short in the car's sound system, which would require $$$ worth of annoying repairs I could barely afford, (b) that it might persist after I shut the car off, draining the battery and furthering my annoyance, or (c)...I had finally achieved the official level of lost it.
At last I arrived home and parked. I shut the car off. Removed the key from the ignition, which usually kills the lights, radio, etc. Still the voice persisted.
As I wearily dragged myself out and began tallying the time and costs associated with some annoying repair bill, something went *TOING* in my head. Which made sense: pondering my fiscal fate, I stood up too quickly, clipping the edge of the car roof (I get a bit clumsy when tired).
Still the voice persisted.
Then a second *TOING*: I popped open the trunk and was confronted by IT. The Voice.
During my abrupt evasive action with the cursing elk, the contents of my car's trunk had shifted in flight: the handle of my emergency snow shovel had clipped the back edge of my emergency light. Where the on-off switch is for the AM emergency radio.
I turned it off; the voice silenced.
All was right with the world again...until I hit my head on the inside of the trunk lid.
At least the voice I was hearing was now my own... *#@*%@!
Somewhere, the elk laughs.