Today I saw my life flash before my eyes.
I am going to attempt to tell this story as seriously as my twisted, self-righteously humorous mind will allow me to. If I retell today’s events and it comes out even slightly comical or amusing, just know it’s not.
Up until this point, I had never really felt my life threatened. I mean, really experienced a life or death situation. But today, in my strapless purple dress and zebra pumps, I knew I was going to die.
Jill and I simultaneously fulfilled our desires this afternoon: hers, to take photographs and capture the moment; mine, to be photographed and capture attention. So we loaded up Ben’s truck (ex-boyfriends ARE good for something) and ventured out into the quirky landmarks of Wacko (no, that is not a typo). It wasn’t long before Jill spotted the perfect location: an old run-down gas station right in the middle of a vast green field.
Little did we know what (and who) would be waiting for us.
I was doing my thang, lost in the surge of my continuous, flowing poses, and didn’t immediately notice when a dark, shadowy unidentified figure emerged from the depths of the thick brush surrounding the field; I stopped and looked his way mid-pose.
While I may have been slow in noticing this stark-raving mad black man approaching us, it didn’t take me long to notice the RIFLE propped up on his shoulder.
I instantaneously went into heart-attack mode and feared for my life with every step he took closer to me. I now knew how Jayden and Sean Preston Spears felt every time Britney came toward them to pick them up with her Cheeto-stained hands.
Jill calmly asked if we were imposing on his property, to which he simply uttered an inaudible grunt and showcased a wide, toothless crazy-person smile.
“I’s ain’t gonna come ovah dere an’ shoot yah’s!” Crazy Black Man said (and I use the term “said” in the lightest sense, as I’m not sure the activity he was engaging in could be classified as speaking).
He began circling us erratically, all the while stroking his gun and darting his eyes back and forth and all around the field. I, ever the slick and smooth talker, blurted out, “Oh, how ironic! We just finished our photo shoot. We were just on our way out of here!”
This obviously wasn’t what Crazy Black Man wanted to hear.
“Naw, naw, naw! You’s keep on doin’ yo stuff. What you be doin out dere?” he yelled. I, in naive response, then dove into a long elucidation about Jill’s newfound love for cinematography and how I was simply her willing subject (her muse, if you will), and we were just out innocently enjoying the afternoon while garnering some much-needed practice behind and in front of the camera, basically stopping just short of explaining to him our passions, hopes and dreams for the future.
It’s pretty safe to assume he didn’t understand a word of this, as his only response was, “You be Miz Americas or sumfin?”
It was then I realized that the rational and logical explanations that I referred to as Plan A were now null and void. Plan B was now needed—“B” standing for “Better work or else Crazy Black Man is going to pop a cap in our ass. Literally.”
I yelled to Jill, “Okay, partner, last one now!” And I smiled a big, petrified smile as I felt every last drop of blood drain from my face.
“Phew! Glad we’re done with that photo shoot. I’m exhausted! All in a day’s work though, eh?” I screamed. Then I told Crazy Black Man “Thanks!” and we began heading to the truck.
Which was the longest walk of a lifetime.
I’m pretty sure Jill has permanent scar tissue in her right arm, as I clenched the living hell out of it as we traipsed across the field towards safety. I don’t remember much besides feeling my lower lip quiver while I whispered shrilly “We are going to be shot” over and over and over, until Jill told me to shut up. I never thought I would die during the midst of a photo shoot; I tried to think positive and reassure myself at least I would look cute as I uttered my last dying words in my new dress that hugged me in all the right places.
We were almost to the truck, almost home free, when the rest of Crazy Black Man’s insane clan ventured out from their trailer and started hurling ebonic-insults at us from across the field. I wasn’t exactly offended, since I couldn’t understand anything being yelled, but I assumed they were mad at having to share their territory with a couple of “rich white bitches” who “ain’t from their hood” (I know this because I am quite the connoisseur of rap music and have learned a thing or two from Tupac and Biggie).
I’ve never been so happy to get away from somewhere as I was when we burned rubber out of that field. It took me a good ten minutes down the road to start to feel my legs again, as they had gone from a quivering Jello-like state to a trembling, numb mush upon spotting our backwoods predator.
In the end, it was all worth it; the pictures turned out fabulous. And, we got a memorable story out of it all, too. Except in this case, “memorable” will come in the form of horrifying night terrors for ten years to come.