Lisa was a bartender at a local club and always terrified that she’d be hit by a drunk driver on her way home after closing up at 2 am. What she didn’t account for was nodding off at the wheel, blowing through a red light and being broadsided by a produce truck on its way to market.
She opened her eyes to a shattered windshield and blood everywhere. It seemed hours before the fire department arrived and pulled her out with the jaws of life. She felt herself slipping into unconsciousness in the ambulance as the paramedic jabbed a needle into her arm. Then the world went black.
She awoke to beeping machines and feeling like she’d been hit by a truck. She groggily remembered the accident: she had been. A nurse came in to check her vitals and smiled warmly. “You’re awake. Let me get the doctor.”
The elderly man in the white coat and stethoscope around his neck didn’t have a great bedside manner. He frowned at her chart and spoke without looking at her.
“You’re very lucky, young lady. The seatbelt cracked two ribs and you have a slight concussion, but you’ll be fine. The police are waiting to talk to you and then we’ll release you tomorrow.”
Lisa was confused. “The police? Why?”
He raised his eyebrows as he looked down his nose at her. “I think you know why.”
Lisa wracked her befuddled brain, trying to remember the accident more clearly as the door opened to a uniformed policeman.
“Miss Wilson? I’m Officer Jones. I need to inform you of your rights.”
“My rights? What are y’all talking about? I was driving home from work and think I fell asleep and a truck hit me. Is someone hurt? I saw the driver, he tried to pull me from my car … ”
The officer interrupted, “You have the right to remain silent … ”
Lisa interrupted him, “What are the charges?”
“You are charged with driving under the influence. The paramedics say you reeked of alcohol.”
Lisa struggled to sit up in bed, angrily shouting “That just ain’t right! I’m a bartender. I just got off my shift! And I don’t even drink!”
Before the officer could answer, the nurse handed him a sheet of paper. Lisa recognized the woman as one of the bar regulars, having a single glass of Chardonnay with two other women almost every Thursday night. A few weeks ago Lisa had sweetly managed to divert a surly man from rudely inserting himself on their conversation. They were great tippers and she often chatted with them.
“Miss Wilson woke during my rounds and agreed to a blood draw. I sent a sample to the lab for testing. She’s telling the truth. There is not a drop of alcohol in her system.”
The nurse patted Lisa’s arm and gave her a secret wink, “Now you just rest up and let me take care of you.”
Written for To Live & Write in Alameda’s October Flash Fiction Challenge #1, “That Ain’t Right.” We had three days to write a 500 word short story and share with our group.
If you have a writer’s soul and live in Alameda, please join our group! No experience necessary … members range from those who dream of writing the Great American Novel to published authors. No dues, many free daily/weekly meet-ups, reasonably priced workshops and focus groups and retreats, and tons of encouragement and support.
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