The evening before the incident, Angel worked disassembling Rocky’s doghouse. Mrs. Treble was forced to put the animal to sleep the previous day due to cancer and couldn’t bear to look out her kitchen window to see the reminder of her beloved pet. Truth be known, Angel would miss the animal. Rocky had greeted him every week with licks and pounces when he came to complete the elderly woman’s yard work.
Mrs. Treble had asked Angel to do this along with his normal chores. He hated destroying such a beautiful piece of craftsmanship and would have taken it with him if he had anywhere for it. He pried apart each board and loaded them into a bucket in the corner of his truck’s bed. It was his final task of the day. So when he finished, he climbed into his cab and pulled out of Mrs. Treble’s driveway. Angel turned too sharply, and his right rear tire rolled over the corner of the sidewalk. His truck bounced and a single nail-filled board from the remains of Rocky’s house fell into the street.
An hour later, Mark turned onto Web Drive after a grueling day of work. He held a lit cigarette in his left hand and fiddled with the dial of his car’s radio with his right. He eventually found a station playing a song and not running endless advertisements. Mark glanced down to save the station in the five slot of the presets on his radio.
As he looked down, a loud pop sounded as the car began to shake and his car screeched to a halt as Mark pulled over to the curb. He got out to discover he had blown a tire. Thick rubber was scattered about the road and some even up on the sidewalk. A wooden plank with two large nails protruding from one end lay in the middle of the street, and Mark knew it was the culprit behind his misfortune. Thankfully it had occurred close to his house. He turned and began walking home as he dialed a tow truck.
The morning of the incident, the Collins family readied to start their day. Rachel spooned a bowl of oatmeal from the stove.
“Thomas, come eat your breakfast,” she yelled.
“Babe, do you have any quarters for the meter?” asked her husband Robert as he walked into the kitchen putting on his coat.
“Check my purse, should be some in my wallet. It’s beside the couch,” said Rachel.
“And could you get your son to come eat his breakfast before it gets cold?”
Robert walked into the living room and retrieved his wife’s wallet.
“Thomas,” yelled Robert up the stairs as he unzipped the side pouch to find four quarters. When Thomas didn’t appear, Robert lay the wallet on the table beside the stairway and jogged upstairs to his son’s room.
“Hey, buddy whatcha doin’?” He walked into his son’s room and knelt by the boy who sat hunched over a small table with a crayon in hand.
“I’m drawing me, you, and mommy,” said Thomas without looking up at his father.
“That’s nice,” said Robert glancing over the portrait. It was the epitome of childish artistry. There was a triangle atop a square to serve as a house with three stick figures out front. Two were larger and stood on each side of a smaller one. The depiction of his family made Robert smile. “Come on. Your mom has breakfast ready.”
Thomas followed his father into the kitchen, climbed onto the stool in front of his oatmeal, and began eating.
“Gotta go,” said Robert. He kissed Rachel and sauntered out the door.
“Eat all that, and we’ll get you some hot chocolate on our walk to school,” said Rachel.
At that exact instant a half mile up Web Drive, Wendy nursed a hangover. The decision to drink during the middle of the week with some of her colleagues had been a terrible one. She had overslept which forced her to shower and dress in a frenzy. She was ready to go, but she needed her coffee. Wendy stood tapping her foot as she stared at the coffee pot. Every few seconds or so she flipped her wrist over to check the time.
She was going to be late.
A few houses down, Deric zipped up his hoodie, placed his lucky baseball in its pocket, and grabbed his skateboard as he headed out the door to school. He skipped morning workouts with the team and was dreading the call he would get from the coach any minute. As he rode his board down the sidewalk, a single ding sounded, and he took out his phone to see a text from his coach. As Deric read the words of disappointment, he wiped out. He tossed his phone to catch his fall, and his baseball came bouncing out of his pocket. He glanced down to see a large piece of rubber he had run over.
“It’s six forty-two,” said the owner of the small, coffee cart. “Ma’am?”
“Sorry,” said Rachel as she glanced back from the commotion a few yards up the street.
She reached into her shouldered purse with her right hand while clasping Thomas’s small palm with her left but didn’t find her wallet. She released Thomas’s hand to search through her large purse.
The baseball rolled into the street.
Thomas followed after it.
Wendy sped attempting to make it to work on time. The boy appeared around the edge of the car parked at the curb. She tried to brake, but there wasn’t enough time. The impact hollowed out Wendy’s stomach. A pit no words could describe.
The loudest scream Wendy and Deric had ever heard immediately followed.
Later that morning, Angel drove down Web Drive to get his shears from Mrs. Treble’s. He stopped and picked up a piece of Rocky’s house; he was unaware it had fallen out.