There's a wooden shack of a store along California Highway 74 that sells a robin's egg blue T-shirt with the logo: I SURVIVED THE ORTEGA HIGHWAY.
Let me tell you about someone who never earned that shirt.
I didn't murder the person who never earned that T-shirt. It was an accident. A horrible accident. I never knew that man. I never saw his face. Maybe he scrounged for his meals in the dumpster behind the local Mickey D's and sold hype on the side to junkies from Sonora to San Diego. Maybe he ran a family of four as a sitcom-worthy patriarch, a punctual, pleasant human being who'd become the head accountant at Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe.
I'll never know.
Let me tell you what I do know about him. What happened that horrible day.
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