This Morning’s Narrow Escape from a Serial Killer
8:00 AM: I leave the house.
My aim is 10,000 steps. A morning stroll, if you will.
Its purpose is stamina building for my London vacation in September.
My earbuds blare Elliot Goldenthal: TITUS.
I change my route each morning, ever increasing the distance.
I bore easily, so I take a completely different route on a whim.
MY FIRST MISTAKE!
The access on-ramp to the Freeway on my left signals the end of a paved surface for my walk. For about 500 paces a crude asphalt surface replaces the concrete.
What follows is now a dirt path and a rural countrified slog through a wooded path.
I’m isolated as I trudge, engrossed in the music's crescendo after crescendo of stentorian brass. (Stentorian? Define: loud and powerful.)
I can see there is a slope downward surrounded by grassy snake country and a nasty drainpipe spilling rainwater runoff plus creepy ooze is just ahead. At about that point, the hackles on my neck rise!
(Hackles? Definition: erectile hairs along the back of a dog or other animal that rise when it is angry or alarmed.)
Why am I alarmed?
Instinctively, I pivot front to back and---FREEZE!
Not 12 paces behind me--out of nowhere--is a dirty white van. The motor is running.
It has clearly been stalking me!
This is inhospitably rough road no “sane” person would elect to drive upon for ANY reason.
I’m facing East and the sun stabs blinding shafts through the trees surrounding the scene.
I squinted hard.
The driver is staring at me!
He is wearing absurd, round-rimmed “Mr. Moto” black-rimmed spectacles.
His shoulders are hunched as though he were a race driver about to swerve into a hairpin turn. His skin is eerily pale and the expression on his unearthly face is baleful. (Baleful? Definition: threatening harm; menacing).
I yanked the earbuds out and took a sharp breath.
Clearly, my nemesis HATES me!
My brain races.
“Data please,” I scream internally at my Fight or Flight Instinct Department.
My right-hand makes a swift gesture and I remove my pocket knife, flicking it open like a scene from BLACKBOARD JUNGLE.
I’ll not go without a fight!
My best threatening stance instantly spooks the serial killer and he begins slowly backing the van without haste--deliberate, taunting, cat and mousing me as he continues to stare directly into my wide eyes.
As he reaches the asphalt, I hear the stick shift catch and the ugly van does a stuntman on steroid whirl-about in a 180 maneuver.
Here one minute--gone the next!
I say to myself out loud:
“That could have been my epitaph: Here one minute--gone the next.”
I become more self-aware at this moment... feel my heart pounding and fast panting breath--as though I’d been sprinting uphill all this time.
I calm myself and the rational side of Terry’s brain kicks in.
I take a deep breath and head back the way I’d come.
MY SECOND MISTAKE!
Internal dialogue: I begin joking with my girly-man side.
That’s my rational side. I was in no danger at all and had over-reacted.
I had just about convinced myself I had a silly and melodramatic imagination when
straightaway ---HERE HE COMES!
The van had circled back on surface roads and was thundering down the access road on the right-hand side WHERE I WAS WALKING!
The painfully bright sunshine was blinding me--but--I readied myself to pull off a sideways leap into a neighbor’s driveway like Burt Reynolds in NAVAJO JOE.
If I leaped too soon, the fierce predator could swerve and catch me! He’d fall upon me and pierce my neck with his hypodermic filled with animal trank and stuff me in the van heading for the murky ooze of that drainpipe (where he probably stuffs all his victims after torture and taunt has slaked his bestial urges!)
Now, at the climax of this heinous encounter--
I MADE MY THIRD MISTAKE!
The van suddenly slowed as the window rolled down.
The little white-haired, albino Floral Delivery guy with thick Mr. Moto glasses shouted at me:
“I can’t find Scruggs Park Drive--where the F**K is it? I’ve got two dozen Marigolds to deliver before Nine.”
Gosh. Do I feel stupid--or what?
I gulped and replaced my stabbing knife in my pocket, fake-grinned sheepishly as I directed him to his delivery spot.
“Thanks.” He roared off and left me in a smothering cloud of carbon monoxide.
Well--what can I say?
Carbon monoxide is deadly; so--technically he DID sorta try to kill me.
(A true story: according to me)