The following is an excerpt from Erica’s novel-in-progress
The day after the accident, the evening news reported about a young college kid found on Savannah Road, the victim of a presumable hit and run.
“It’s a miracle he’s still alive,” said Alicia Summers, the modish reporter, a former patient. She came to me for counseling after discovering her husband was a cross dresser. I remembered Alicia’s husband sitting in a session, wearing one of her sexy black dresses and an Elvira wig, (now that his secret was out he had nothing to hide).
Alicia stood in front of a makeshift shrine on Savannah Road. A wider camera angle showed a smattering of people, and lilies and hydrangeas carefully arranged around an upright wood cross. An impromptu prayer vigil began. The screen flashed a picture of the victim wearing a baseball uniform. From the picture I could tell he used too much mousse in his hair. Otherwise his features were goofy, yet attractive: tussled brown hair, bushy eyebrows, long pointy noise with a pimple on the tip, and a smirk-mouth.
I’d learned quickly he was a starting pitcher for UNC-Chapel Hill, and would’ve been a shoo in as a first round draft pick. He was driving back to school when he ran out of gas and decided to walk to a station, only to become a victim of a vicious hit and run, hit so hard he was knocked out of his shoes. Newscasts urged body shops to be on alert for cars with unexplained front end body damage, and pleaded for witnesses or the perpetrator to come forward. Had I remained at the scene, I imagined what the headlines would’ve been. The Espy name splattered like blood on the page in a heap of disgrace.
Back in the newsroom, the anchor, a brown skinned man with a jazzy smile and demeanor to match, sprightly interviewed an ex-jailbird. The subject of conversation: the Second Chance Act that President Bush, signed into law earlier this year to provide funds to programs aimed at providing rehabilitating services to ex-offenders. ‘We believe that even those who have struggled with a dark past can find brighter days ahead,’ a grinning George W. said in a press conference flashback.
The newly released con aspired to become a productive member of society. Although society may be gracious enough to give him a second chance, I believed he would always be known as the guy who robbed a ninety-year-old woman point blank scaring her so bad she peed in her bloomers, (the old lady’s words). Marion Jones would not be remembered for the Sydney Olympics, but for the steroid scandal that sent her to the slammer. Vanessa Williams’ legacy, Ugly Betty, please, how about a pretty disgraced Miss America instead. As a therapist, I encouraged my clients to face their fears head on. Only cowards run away. Now when I looked in the mirror, a coward looked back.
–Erica L. Williams is a native of Baton Rouge, LA, and resides in Dallas, TX. She holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College. She is currently in the revision stages of her novel-in-progress.
We are excited to feature Erica’s work in the 9th Edition of Kansas City Voices. To get your copy click here.