It was a day like any other in this desert home. Except, today I had more cash than usual…the fruit of a dangerous harvest. Like always however, that cash was burning a hole in my pocket and I had to go spend it. That’s one of my weaknesses…money…I spend it faster than I can get it and it’s not that I don’t know how to budget, it’s that I can’t. When I had it like I did then, I could go thru a grand in toys of all sorts daily. Easy come, much more easily gone!
So, for today’s agenda was the shooting range and then my friend’s ranch, to go and shoot rounds out there. Oh, I forgot, I’m also very irresponsible and so therefore me + gun is never a good idea. So, I wake at the crack of noon…usual for me on weeks off and by the time I start getting ready to leave, Raven, my then teenage daughter bursts thru the front door with a bad attitude. She never liked walking in that desert heat from school but she was old enough to walk home with friends and so she did. Nothing bad ever came of that so…
Today tho my wife was more mad than usual, and a teenage stepdaughter with a bad attitude and a stepmom with a worse attitude is just WWIII waiting to happen. So, since I still wanted to live, I ask Raven:
“Hey, you wanna go to the shooting range?” with a ‘I don’t really want you to go with me’ look.
She answers back:
“Sure Dad!” with a ‘I know you don’t really want me to go but I’m going anyways’ look about her.
We had a language of our own despite the fights we’d get into. She was just being a typical girl teenager and I was being the not so typical Dad. We seem to communicate better this way. I was irresponsible, just like a teenager and careless the same way plus we had our experiences in common with depression and drug use. She was my little badass girl and I was like a really good friend back then, but I still made her respect me when I had to. She started using drugs young like me but was fortunate enough to get off the shit way earlier in life than me. Besides that, she was me in a girl and I was her in a boy. Same shit. She can even write like I do.
Overall, I love her to pieces. She will always be my favorite girl of my two, but I won’t ever admit it to Maddison or her. BTW, Parents ALWAYS have a favorite, but they’ll never admit to it. You’ll always get “I don’t have a favorite. I love them all the same!” I don’t bullshit. All my kids I love the same yes, but there’re always favorites. Parents: DON’T make it obvious. Don’t let them see that.
Well, after her and I talk and argue about her allowance thru telepathy and facial expressions, only like Daughter and Dad can, we come to a compromise and semi run down the stairs into the car. With me was my lil .25 semi auto I had bought with the case and key…the works.
Lancaster is your typical little desert town where once you’re out of the city limits, its desert roads one mile apart and hardly a soul driving thru them. You can drive for miles and run into no one. However, right now we were just heading to the middle of town to the Gun Range.
We get to the gun shop and I buy about 300 rounds and rent the lane. So, I spend the next hour teaching my daughter how to handle this gun and she did good. She got the man on the target twice on the balls and once in the head. Good. I do ok too, but it starts to get boring there and I long for the outside range better. After I felt confident my daughter could handle that weapon, we come out the shooting room and buy another 300 rounds to go. This is where it gets interesting:
I had just bought a little RX-7 Sportscar. I named it Roxanne because everyone should name their car. White, 20’ rims, $1k worth of sounds, and FAST! Raven and I loved that car. So we mount Roxanne and I start driving the backroads of this little town to get to my friend’s ranch. So, these are two lane highways and you can speed up as there’re only stops every 5th mile going west-east. We are about 15 minutes into the drive, everything is good with the world, everything is in harmony and we are on our way for more fun listening to DM. about 70 MPH. I close my eyes for one fucken second…that’s all it took. Our lives changed forever.
As I closed my eyes, I fell asleep. I had been tired from lack of sleep the previous night and I just knocked out. Just to clear this up…NO, I was not drinking or on drugs. Just soo tired…I Had a bad problem with that back then…just to knock out, but this was really bad timing. This surrender suddenly came over. I knew I was driving, I knew I didn’t have a seatbelt on, I knew I was going 70 MPH but most importantly, I knew I had my daughter with me. I remember my daughter’s voice:
“Dad” with a regular tone and pitch. My eyes don’t open. “Dad!” with an upper tone and pitch now. My eyes don’t open, I don’t react. “DDDDAAAAADDDDD!!!!!” I open my eyes. It’s too late.
These two lane highways had dips on either side as a shoulder for emergencies and since it’s all sand and dirt, right after the dip is a low wall of hardened dirt. It’s like that for hundreds of miles in all directions. A small, deadly mud wall.
I opened my eyes and we were already upon the low wall. There was no avoiding it at full 70 MPH. I hit it without even pressing on the breaks. Head on. As soon as I hit it, I felt Roxanne’s ass go up, as the car’s tail tilts forward and we are looking at dirt, upside down, in the air. Roxanne is completely off the ground. Raven just got stuck at “Ahhh!” for ‘Dad!’ which was louder than the music still playing on the radio.
We make a flip from end to end. Complete flip, but that’s just the start…
It keeps going, now we are on flip #2, I have no seatbelt on and I’m being tossed around like a rag doll, unable to react or scream. I got tossed to the steering wheel and break 3 ribs, I bounce back and get thrown to my left by the window. Everything in the car is now floating and dancing in the air as if we are orbiting earth with no gravity… Pens, bullets, my sun glasses, wires and more. Now the roof of the car hits the ground and it caves in on my side…in the middle of where I would have been if I would have a seatbelt on. Again…seatbelt on = my death! (That’s why I don’t put mine on!)
So, I’m on the side by the door and the roof is now where my head was when I was driving.
Raven is still screaming.
Enough momentum, we head into flip 3. The roof hit the ground and it kept going. In flip 3, I actually see the gun and bullets eject thru the hole in the roof where the sunroof used to be, but now windowless.
Have you ever had a bad experience where you think back and always this image comes up? That was my image:
The roof of Roxanne caved in and a bullet in mid air. That’s the image forever engraved in my mind.
I get tossed again and I don’t have any time to think or look over to see what’s happening with Raven. I’m just a rag doll. Within 4 seconds, a lifetime that moment, I saw the sun with me upside down 3 different times. I get thrown to the steering wheel again, except this time I break both wrists and the screaming and flipping and the nightmare continues. I didn’t know it then but I also had a concussion and neck strains. We do the full flip. We land and finally stop. Battered, but right side up. 3 whole flips. End to end.
There is red stuff coming from my head, I’m in a complete daze and I’m in shock. I can’t move, I don’t panic, I don’t act. Raven is crying loudly and I hear it, but I can’t get to my Baby. I’m useless. I can’t help her. She’s crying. I can’t get to her. She’s crying. My Baby is crying and her stupid ass Dad can’t get to her!
The engine catches fire.
A flame caught on a leaking fuel line and the middle of the engine catches a ‘whoosh’ and ignites.
She cries “Dad.”
At that moment, I remember thinking ‘God, don’t you dare take her. You can have me for the next 100 lifetimes, but don’t you fucken touch her!!’
God answers back! He says “it’s a deal!”
The passenger door swings open! This Angel sent by God comes out of nowhere in the shape of a middle aged man and quicker than light, he unbuckles my Raven and carries her to safety.
I still can’t move, I’m paralyzed. The Angel starts his pace towards me after getting Raven to safety and I see feet and legs coming towards me in the rear view mirror at a semi-running speed % and suddenly the flame in the engine catches a second line and the whoosh begins to howl loudly as the flames “boom!” and triple in size in half a second!
Right as that happened, the running legs stopped and waited either for my demise or for a sign that Roxanne would not explode. As he waited, smoke started coming in thru the vents. I begin to choke. I feel the heat coming in thru the firewall and it’s about 130 degrees in there.
I can’t move.
The Angel waits and as Roxanne didn’t blow up, he finally comes to my side, opens the door, grabs me and breaks another rib, but he got me out. By the time he dragged me and laid me next to Raven, not 2 minutes later, the whole car is in flames. He saved us both.
The ambulance was called and we went to emergency. Raven only suffered a seatbelt mark upon her body, but up to now, she panics if anything happens to her car while driving. I didn’t start crying until the whole event stood over me the next day. I just started balling. I never found out who that Angel was, but I thank you for saving my life. I thank you God as well, and I’m keeping my side of the deal.
I immigrated to the states from Mexico at age 12 and I quickly fell in love with poetry after my grandfather read some of his poems to me. However, at 18, I had a young family and that left very little time for this endevour as I started working to support us. I returned to adult school to finish my diploma. At that time I developed a severe depression that I still struggle with to this day, but I found it to be a great source of inspiration as well. Today I live in Los Angeles and I'm divorced. I have two children I see whenever possible and two adult kids. Both my Grandfather and his brother are award winning poets and journalists, with one, (Bartolome Delgado DeLeon) having a street, library and a prestigious national poet award in his honor.
Most of my pieces come from personal experience and true to me. Sometimes my material is raw, other times murdeous, and yet other times romantic, but always me, 100% authentic guaranteed.