“Excuse me Mr. Possum, I didn’t see you there.”

A good friend of mine recently called me, as night approached, in a sad state. Apparently a possum was in the road at the exact moment her car was, and as nature has proved a million times over, the car won the fight. I told her that it was okay, these things happen all the time. I was then reminded of the first time I ever hit a possum (and to be clear, it has been the only time thus far).

It was 1997 and I just finished a closing shift at Hardees. Yes, it was the job of real men, slaving over fried chicken parts and greasy meat patties. The job of champions. Anyway, it was about 9:30pm and I just turned into my neighborhood. My hood never had street lights. We were too bad ass for that. So there I was, zooming down the street in my 1984 Dodge Charger (it was gold in color) that my Grandpa sold me, when it happened.

A possum (or is it actually ‘opossum’?) walked out into the road like it owned the joint. But I didn’t see him. I continued traveling down the road at 32 MPH. The road ahead of me was darkness, all but the two circles of light created by my headlights. He wasn’t anywhere to be seen until the very last second. He popped into the two circles, for only a brief second, before disappearing once again. I didn’t even have time to hit the breaks.

I turned around to check the damage. I shouldn’t have done that. But at least I knew that he spent no time suffering.

Hope You’re Not a Mother (4/2008)