Carrie is waking up in a ditch... cold and wet... naked?
Good God, woman! Cover yourself up!
She squints at the silver sky glaring down on her and tries to roll over. She expects to be sore, given the situation, but she's not. Then again she can't really remember what the hell the situation is, until she sees her rusty pickup at the top of the ditch.
...The rusted junker with the busted grill parked right behind her truck... Headlights on... Idling... Empty.
She crawls up the hill towards the truck and her self-consciousness recedes as the slow warmth of anger begins to flow back into her. It begins to comfort her not just as a feeling but as a reminder. The 2-lane split highway is deserted as far as the eye can see in either direction, as usual. She opens the passenger door, pulls her heavy D.O.C. coat off the seat and puts it on. It's long enough to preserve her modesty, but allows an unpleasantly brisk draft. She had taken it off so it wouldn't constrict her movement... just in case.
Well it'll save me from an indecency rap if any poor sonuvabitch catches a glimpse of my flabby ass... need some goddamn pants, though.
She grabs her uniform boots off the floorboards and closes the door. She drops them to the ground and looks back at the junker. Sliding in one foot and then the other she reviews the damage to the front of the car.
Huh... they didn't hit me that hard. Just wanted to get me pulled over. Those Cooters were drunk and crazy enough to think they wanted a piece of this.
Sick shits... Cruising an empty highway looking for anything they could damage... anyone. Who knows where the hell these psychos came from?
According to the license plate... still attached to the bumper... no longer attached to the car. It's lying in the ditch, next to a boot... a bloody boot. The junker's engine gives a sputtering death rattle and finally dies. Out of gas. Now Carrie has just the freezing Wyoming wind as a soundtrack to the reassembly of her memories. She walks towards the car... legs together... arms clenching the coat tight around her.
As she steps onto the pavement between the two vehicles she can see the tatters of her uniform shirt under the rear of the truck. The remains of brown straight slacks are strewn across the road. Returning her gaze to the junker she sees that the driver's side door is gone. As she moves in closer her posture changes... more like a lioness circling round on a gutted gazelle.
They got out when I got out. I had my baton. They just had meth-stained shit-eating grins... well the one had a shank. They tried some sweet talk bullshit... Tried to grab me. I smashed the cracker with the blade right upside his lumpy head. The other guy tackled me...
She's standing just in the traffic lane, next to the gaping hole that should be a car door. Looking into the wound she sees a snub-nose special sitting on the green vinyl passenger seat... which is smeared with dark red. Raising her eye-line leads it out the window to the grass on the other side of the ditch. Dangling out of the tall grass is a pair of feet... one in a boot... one bare.
The moon. In the headlights... in the moonlight... I could see the bastard smiling the whole time. He managed to tear my shirt open before I knocked his teeth out and rolled him off of me. I was looking up at just the moon. Half-on... half-off. I wasn't scared. I knew what to do.
She looks across the highway... sees the car door lying on the far shoulder. Still no other cars, as usual. The good citizens of the State of Wyoming like their prisons remote, and that's easy to accommodate out in all this barren terrain.
She walks around the car and back down into the ditch.
Well he won't need those Levi's. This bastard tried to run while the other ran back to the car... tried to get away... I chased him. He was wrong. I stopped him. I was right.
She buttons up the pants and puts her boots back on. She's not tired. She slept like a baby in that ditch, apparently, but she wants to go home. She's not sure if she'll want to go back to work.
As she starts up her truck and pulls out onto the road, Carrie Utley feels, for the first time in her life quite content just the way she is.