The time has come (the statue of limitations has probably run out)
In (about) 1988, I had a pickup truck with a wood side above the bed on one side and tool boxes across the other. It made it so it held lots of stuff and I was always willing to help people move or just move stuff or whatever-
When Karen (not her real name) asked me to help move her mattress and box spring, of course it was no prob-
The setting: january or february and about 19 degrees outside- no wind and about 9 inches of snow on the ground which had been there about a week. Everyone was shoveled out and functioning around the snow and ice. it’s about 730pm and very dark, but quiet on the roads.
It was such a simple plan- pick up the mattress and box spring and follow her to her parents house to get the rest of her stuff and then off to her new place (all pretty close) (too close, really- that’s why nothing was tied down)(!)
Box springs are light and mattresses are really heavy, especially queen size- and we we trying not to drag it in the snow and so I got the box spring on top of the truck bed and then we put the mattress on top (best part:) ‘to hold everything down’
Karen left and we followed- I had my wife and our nephew who was about 3 with me. We got to RT28 (not real name) by the High School (not real place) and a car came by me the other way- as he passed …. someone flashed their lights behind me… but no one was following me..?
It got my attention and I was trying to see the mattress in the rear view but it seemed odd so I stopped. and it was GONE. ‘that’s odd’ I thought- so I turned around and went back.
I had been driving for about 3 minutes and the mattress was gone -there was no noise or anything- but it was GONE
We immediately came across a white Reliant K-Car on the side of the road, stuck in the snowbank and I pulled up in front of him. We got out to help him and realized he was ON TOP OF THE MATTRESS-! The mattress was FOLDED in half and his car was on top of it. I had been really worried about getting snow on the mattress as we carried it out of the house, but now it had been dragged down the road and jammed under the car and the tire is rubbing against it while the kid tries to get un-stuck.
The poor kid- he’s 16 and just got his license and was on his way to the mall in his Mom’s car-and this mattress floats down from the sky onto the road in front of him and he can’t avoid it so: rolls onto it and it folds in half an it takes his front wheels off the ground and his car starts spinning around an then goes into the snowbank-
Now he’s revving the engine and the tires are rubbing the sides of the mattress and I am wondering if Karen would notice the black marks…
I am just about to get some rope- I am moving like the Flash at this point- thinking that there might be a chance of getting this mattress out- and a Cop shows up, see’s the situation and asks the kid for his license and it’s almost like it’s the kids fault that he ran over someones mattress (!)(of course I said nothing) Then the Officer gives him some direction on how to get un-stuck… turn the wheel, now try reverse- cut the wheel back the other way…. and then I saw the SMOKE. (not steam, not exhaust but thick white smoke)(yikes)
The kid shut off the car and we opened the hood and realized that the muffler was up against the mattress and there was much more smoke- so, the officer called the Fire Dept.
‘Rescue 6’ was the brand new, high tech, Fire Truck that showed up along with a pumper truck and 4 burly Firemen- and another Police car. It was a quiet night and not much else was happening so, I stopped trying to help and just stood quietly watching all the lights from the trucks bounce off the snow and nearby houses with my wife and our 3 year old nephew who thought the lights were cool- and none of us seemed to notice the cold- except maybe the 16 year old kid who was really worried about his Mom’s car- we stood a little ways away from him.
The Firemen had a great plan and lots of new equipment to try out. They were thrilled- They would raise the car with the new air jacks (like flat squares that inflate and can move or lift lots of weight with ease) -then another Fireman would pull the mattress out with a giant hook while the third Fireman would saturate it with the hose –
It was amazing- the jacks worked very fast with no noise and then it took a couple of Firemen with hooks to pull the mattress out. Those sharp hooks torn deep holes into it and as they pulled it out into the snow- it burst into flames. The other Fireman blasted it to kingdom come with water and the other Firemen tore it to shreds as more flames kept showing up- they tore, it flared and they soaked and tore some more and more flames showed up and then more water etc. Until it was just wet little fist size, clumps of scorched fluff.
They Officer got the kids name and then let him go and he drove off. As the Firemen were packing up the gear one of them came over to me and my wife and small nephew and asked, with tons of care and compassion…. ‘Do you folks have a place to sleep tonight?’ and I paused and said…’yes, thank you, we will be ok’
That was about it, and no one ever asked my name or took down any numbers and off we went to Karen’s parents house an hour and a half late.
We showed up and Karen thought it was odd that we were not right behind her but was chatting with her folks and just waited. (things were different before cell phones) We tried to explain what had happened and she was not mad- if you know Karen (again, not her real name) she laughs at everything- its a beautiful gift. She sort of did not believe us so we drove back to the scene of the crime- and found the whole area lit with yellow flashing lights from 3 sanding trucks that had been called because of all the water the Fire Dept had used was icing up like crazy.
We had employed lots of town workers that evening. The cold weather continued for 2 more weeks and finally the snow melted and I would drive by and look for any pieces of the mattress but because it had been so completely obliterated there was nothing but a couple of Kleenex size clumps.
It was almost like it melted away with the snow……
or it could be that none of this ever really happened and I made it all up- (it’s a good story)