Sunday, April 23, 2006

Carrie was here (gore warning: do not read if you've trouble with the gore)

I've twice been witness to an accident involving semis carrying pigs. I can tell you that semis and pigs are a disastrous combo when things go wrong.

I saw the first accident when I was 16 or 17 and driving down to Florida for spring break. We made great time during the day, but some time after traveling through the night and into the next day traffic slowed to a start/stop situation in the darkened a.m. hours.

After a long crawl, we could finally see part of the problem ahead -- there was an overturned semi in one of the lanes, I don't know if there were even emergency workers there yet. I don't remember any emergency lights -- only the eerie pink glow of flares -- lots of flares.

The flares surrounded the truck in a large radius, as we approached there appeared to be some movement on the ground, but we were only within squinting distance at this point, so we couldn't quite make out what was happening.

Once we got close enough to see -- blood and gore. There were pigs everywhere -- the living were walking among the dead. The dead ranged from -- blood and guts spread everywhere, super dead, to those taking their last breaths and about to die. There was a man walking around too, all of them were bathed in the pink light. It was very slow motion, very sad and very creepy.

The second incident took place in broad daylight just outside of Milwaukee.

I lived in Milwaukee at the time and worked a half hour north of the city. This one particular day I was about ten minutes into the drive home when, once again, traffic got real slow -- sometimes completely stalling for several minutes at a time. Keeping things interesting was how thin the traffic was getting on the other side of the road.

The opposite side of the highway first thinned to the occasional car, then to nothing at all. It was the kind of thing that trips off thoughts of what it would be like at the end of the world. I was thinking specifically in Stephen King's The Stand type scenarios. I think the actual end of the world would have lots of abandoned cars on the highways instead of completely empty highways -- but where else can your mind go with empty highways in broad daylight? Closed highway due to accident just doesn't cut it until you are much closer to the actual scene.

By the time I was approaching the scene, I partly knew what I was in for as I had been listening to the breaking news on the radio. Since I knew it was not human wreckage that awaited, or newly dead and dying animals -- you bet I positioned myself right next to the meridian for the best possible gape I could get (although, I don't think there was a bad seat in the house -- this was one bloody mess, complete with death stench).

This was educational in that I never really thought about what happens to the parts that don't turn into ham, chops or bacon. That day I learned that the leftover parts are transported away from the slaughterhouse -- to where? I don't know, but I can tell you that it's not all dealt with at the slaughterhouse -- there are waste products and they are transported elsewhere and trailers full of waste soup travel on the roads among you.

You know how some semi trailers are covered by a tarp? Know this; some of those may be transporting waste product from a slaughterhouse -- lots of waste product -- slushy, bloody, gutsy waste product. The second lesson of the day was on momentum.

If you fill a semi trailer full of blood, guts and pig's heads -- cover it with a flimsy tarp, then drive that truck real fast, then slam the brakes of that truck -- we are talking blood bath of highway closing proportions.

The first thing I was able to see was the semi itself, it was covered in blood and draped with intestines. Closer proximity revealed blood and gut covered cars and all three lanes of highway bathed in red. Clean up crews and police officers pushed janitorial brooms and shovels for the detail work -- the bulk of the mess was being scoop after scooped up by a front end loader -- a front end loader.

Loader buckets full of blood and guts, the image of the blood and gut strewn semi and cars, a cop walking on a blood covered street carrying a blood covered pig head on the end of his shovel -- these things are burned into my memory cells. If I'm ever senile, I'm sure these images will remain for me to babble about.

"...and there was blood everywhere and the man was laughing and showing his pig head shovel to everyone..."


Blogger kim said...

Okay, and can you imgine having been in one of the surrounding cars when it happened?

You're just driving along when some semi hits it too hard and next thing you know, the sky has dumped a giant bucket of blood and guts all over your car and as far as you eyes can see.

It'd take a minute to get oriented to that one for sure.

3:22 PM  

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