Brakes squealed, horns blasted, and angry voices shouted in a variety of languages. I covered my eyes with my hands.
"Cheese and crow-buck! Did you see that?" This is my husband Anthony's Mormon version of foul language. "That guy in the Kia hit the Toyota...direct hit. He just kept going--he could have stopped. Anarchy--that's what it is. We are one wreck away from traffic anarchy!"
Anthony jerked our car into the corner gas station. "Pretend you're getting gas," he said, getting out.
"What are you doing?" In forty-two years of marriage, I had never seen my husband get involved in a traffic accident.
He looked directly at me, but said nothing.
"If you are going, then so am I." I gripped the door handle.
"No way, honey. Look at that traffic--it's insane." And he dashed across the street to the scene of the wreck.
Sometimes this man, my husband, amazes me.
"Pretend I'm getting gas--how ridiculous." I said this aloud, immediately hoping no one had actually caught me talking to myself. Admittedly, I do it quite often.
I checked the gas gauge and decided not to pretend, but to actually fill the tank. After starting the pump, I strained to see Anthony on the other side of the busy thoroughfare. Taking the binoculars from the glove box gave me a perfect view of the goings-on--with the power of those babies, I could see the mole on the back of Anthony's neck.
Both drivers were flailing at each other, and yelling. I watched my husband walk up along-side the driver of the offended vehicle and speak to him. I could not hear what anyone was saying, but clearly whatever the words were, they were being said loudly.
A smallish, old man with a balding head looked up at Anthony with squinty eyes. He was the one who'd driven through the red light in the Kia. His features were Eastern European. His protruding tummy sagged over his belt. Responding to something Anthony said, this guy stretched out his arms, palms to the sky, and exaggeratedly shrugged his shoulders. I wished I could read lips.
"Here it comes," I said aloud to no one. "The no-speaka-da-English excuse." A bit on the self-conscience side, I glanced around, then added, "Here I go talking to myself again." I realized how odd I must look, pumping gas, holding binoculars, and talking aloud to myself.
I shrugged my shoulders. "This is New York City. Nobody notices."
Across the street, the victim--the driver of the Toyota, was getting angrier by the second. His eyes narrowed to small slits, and he seemed to ignore the steady flow of blood coursing down the right half of his face. His right hand gripped his left bicep, and I could see blood oozing between his fingers.
Injuries. This could take awhile.
The gas pump automatically clicked off, and I collected my receipt. Parking our Ford, I watched my husband work his magic. Five years ago, Anthony had retired from the Los Angles Police Department where for fifteen of his forty-year career he had investigated traffic accidents. He knew how to calm people down.
Sirens began screaming toward our location. A minute of two later, the paramedics left with the wounded driver. Anthony gave his statement to the police and as he walked back to our car, I discreetly put away the binoculars.
We had been enroute to the mission office before the accident captured my husband's attention. As we continued on our way, Anthony related the details. He had convinced Adam Cerar, the Toyota driver, and Dimitri Vedoreovitch, the driver of the red Kia SUV, to exchange information.
"Do you feel accomplished now that you've solved some of the traffic anarchy in this huge city and delivered up a culprit to justice?" I smiled teasingly.
"No." Anthony feigned a frown. "It felt too much like being back at work."