Below is a deleted scene from The Journals of Bob Drifter. It deals with an event that’s mentioned later in the book. Ultimately, I left it out because I felt it was a bit redundant and only slowed the book’s pace. But I thought this would serve as a nice excerpt for those coming to the Launch at Twilight Zone Comics or just interested in reading more about Bob. Please enjoy:
A Short Acquaintance
September 19, 2007
I met a nice young man today. His name was Tom. I’m good with names. I’ve recently started to believe that I’m bad at everything else.
I knew Tom for seven minutes. For him, they were seven critical minutes. For me, they were just another seven minutes of my life.
For that, I feel ashamed. I shouldn’t, but I do…
* * *
Bob had his radio on and was enjoying a song he wasn’t familiar with during his drive to work. He wore his favorite dark-blue jacket with a black tie. He’d spent a little more than a week getting a feel for his class, and he intended to begin his instruction in earnest.
The small pickup truck in front of Bob noticed a vacant spot on U.S. Highway 60 and merged right. The semi speeding down that same lane didn’t see the truck merge soon enough. Bob looked away as the semi blasted into the side of the truck. The sheer sound of metal grinding and tires skidding caused Bob to glance at the scene, and he immediately wished he hadn’t. He caught a glimpse of the truck driver flying through the air. The guy must not have been wearing a seat belt.
Bob sighed regretfully. He put the hazard lights of his car on and put it in park. He got out and rushed to the injured driver.
The semi struck the pickup just in front of Bob’s car and blocked most of the road after the accident. The 18-wheeler effectively sealed off the road. Bob worried his car wouldn’t fit around the 18-wheeler once he finished. A trail of metal and glass began just in front of Bob’s vehicle. He followed it, and as he did, blood and clumps of what had to be flesh joined the trail.
Bob grimaced, picking up his pace. There probably wasn’t much time. He noticed the semi’s grill was smashed, but the rest of the truck was undamaged. The pickup truck, however, looked as if it had been folded in half, then rolled down the road like a misshaped bowling ball. It somehow ended right side up. Bob looked on in horror at the driver who lay on the road between the two vehicles.
* * *
Tom Stampson was driving north on Highway 60. He was a little late for work and the traffic on that particular road was never forgiving.
Just to his right, he noticed the traffic was actually moving. He signaled to change lanes. The semi about a mile down the lane didn’t see Tom merging. Tom didn’t remember to buckle his seat belt in his rush to get to work. The thought came to him in a panic as he saw the semi through his passenger-side window get larger and larger at a ridiculous speed.
There was a large flash of light and he wasn’t sure what happened. Everything came to him like pieces to a puzzle. First, he wondered why he was lying down. Next, he saw his driver’s side window. He followed the pattern of shattered glass to a clump of shredded legs. They didn’t seem right to him. The pain set in when he realized the mangled limbs were his own.
“I was in an accident,” he said to himself, or was it to the strange man who knelt over him?
“Yes,” the man answered. He lightly touched Tom on the forehead.
As soon as Tom spoke, the memory of what happened came to him in a flash. Fear gripped his mind. He was bleeding profusely. What happened to all the pain he felt only moments before? The pain was unbearable only a second ago. The next thing he knew, he felt right as rain. If it weren’t for the bits of bone showing through his ruined blue jeans, Tom would have thought he could get up and walk away.
The stranger didn’t look at the other people who approached. There weren’t many. Some stared at the man. Others forced themselves to look at anything but the crushed metal and torn rubber that used to be Tom’s truck. At least one person picked up his cell phone. Tom hoped whoever it was meant to dial 911. The strange man in the blue suite was the only one who approached him. Perhaps he was the only one who could get through the wreckage.
Tom looked at his legs again. They were twisted as if his left and right leg had decided to switch of their own accord. The sun gleamed off the shattered glass on the road and gave the blood-smeared pavement a glowing quality
Tom cried out, afraid he was dying. The man knelt next to him and answered his question as he touched Tom’s forehead a second time. Tom felt a sudden sensation of warmth. Did the stranger put a blanket over him? No. He could still see his intestines. Tom felt a bit of panic. Guts were supposed to stay inside of the body. He realized he was dying, and someone had to save him.
“Please help me,” Tom begged.
“Don’t worry; I’m here to help,” the man said. But he didn’t do anything.
Tom felt funny as his eyes closed. In a fit of panic, he forced his eyes open. His heart raced, but it still managed to find a new gear when he noticed the stranger was smiling over him. Tom tried to cry out, but he felt so tired. He was glad he wasn’t in pain. That made it seem less horrific, but the man didn’t do anything. Perhaps when Tom woke up he could ask the stranger why he didn’t help. In fact, Tom wasn’t quite as afraid as he’d been. It was like someone covered his fear in a thick, warm blanket. A small part of his mind, buried deeply, was in a state of panic. Tom didn’t hear it, and it seemed odd he wasn’t afraid, but maybe he was just too tired. He needed a bit of rest. Tom closed his eyes once more and never opened them again.