There are vast stretches of West Virginia that are uninhabited with lonely country roads that wind lazily through the hills with no particular place to go and no hurry to get there. You can drive miles before encountering another vehicle, especially at night.
Cell phone service is spotty at best. The signal fades in and out with the rise and fall of the blacktop leaving the driver as isolated as the countryside.
Scattered throughout the vast loneliness like oases are small towns with wonderfully intriguing names like “Big Ugly”, “Left Hand”, and “Copperville Corners”.
It was on one of these lonely country roads that Rich Rodriguez, the former head football coach of the West Virginia Mountaineers, drove on his way to his parent’s home in Grant Town.
Picture this scene: Rich Rodriguez speeding along in his midlife crisis car, a blue Porsche Boxster, with his Mother’s beloved beagle Petunia snoozing in his lap after gorging herself on Slim Jim’s.
Rich had feed Petunia Slim Jim after Slim Jim until she had been lulled to sleep by the comfortable fullness of her belly.
Now the beagle, who was small for her breed, was curled happily on his lap and snoring softly.
He had his share of Slim Jims too. He loved their spicy chewiness and how his teeth felt tearing through the tough outer skin he never bothered to peel off.
He loved Slim Jims so much he kept his glove box stuffed to capacity with them. His wife believed he picked up the Slim Jim habit when he gave up smoking as a substitute for cigarettes. The truth was he had always had a Slim Jim addiction. He missed smoking for sure, but what he really missed was smoking a cigarette and having a Slim Jim.
Another Slim Jim down the hatch, another wrapper out the window.
His midlife-crisis car was as neat as his office, as clean as a whistle on New Year’s Day, as he liked to tell his team and there was no way he would clutter his car with Slim Jim wrappers.
Rich used to feel guilty about littering, but once he decided there wasn’t anything so damn special about West Virginia he felt no compunction at all about using the countryside as his wastebasket.
He was late and needed to make up some time. Rich deftly reached over to the GPS device mounted on his console and instructed it to find the shortest route available from his current location to Grant Town.
The GPS whirled and churned, seemed to pause and hesitate before telling him, in a proper British accent, to make left turn onto Old Coondog Road in 2.5 miles.
Rich obeyed the instructions coming from the device and turned onto the road. Immediately the it narrowed down to one lane and began to climb. His speed dropped steadily as the navigated the twisting road until it just as suddenly dropped him into a valley.
Coondog Road merged into Whitaker’s Road and widened to accommodate two vehicles. Rich gunned the car and gained speed.
A quick check of his GPS device told him Grant Town was only 40 miles away.
Worried about time, Rich accelerated and drove like a mad man trying to outrun his sanity. He began to enjoy himself as he piloted his car through the steep “kiss your ass” curves – it was fun.
The Porsche, tires squealing, slewed through a hard right-hand turn, crossed the centerline and speed into the next curve.
Just as he passed a sign that said “Copperville Corners 1 Mile” Petunia let out a loud, wet-sounding fart.
The fart wafted up from the sleeping beagle and broke upon Rich’s nose like a wave breaking against rocks. He recoiled from the smell, rolled down the window and frantically waved the feted air out the window.
A deep rumbling came from Petunia’s belly. The chubby little beagle struggled to her feet and lifted her tail.
“Oh no, no, no girl don’t!” Rich pleaded.
Petunia raised her head and looked Rich in the eyes, her big brown orbs saying what she could not: “I’m very sorry for what I’m about to do.” She let out a little moan and her bowels ejected a liquid stream of diarrhea that filled the car's cockpit with excrement.
The coach let out a high-pitched scream more benefiting a pre-pubescent girl than a hardened college football coach and, overcome with the smell of Petunia’s exhaust, vomited his half-digested Slim Jims straight onto the console of his car.
Rodriquez fought to keep the Boxster on the road and wrestled the steering wheel as his eyes clouded with tears and hit the brakes. The little car did its best to stay on the road but it was too light and skidded sideways before finally coming to a stop in a ditch.
Rich wasted no time getting out of the car.
Petunia waddled to open door and barked but the man, as she thought of him, was busy vomiting and would be no help to her. The little beagle summoned up her courage and leaped from the car’s seat to the ground. She wagged her tail in pride. The man was to busy being sick to notice.
After a few minutes the dry heaves subsided and Rich composed himself. He spent a few more minutes standing in the road trying to use his cell phone and looking confused before he reached a decision.
Rich picked Petunia up and headed off towards Copperville Corners.