Narragansett, RI I

I-95 northbound flows like a pressurized hose delivering water to a fire. Vehicles flood out of Connecticut towards cramped, overpopulated beaches in Rhode Island, disregarding the comedically slow New England speed limits. RVs hurdle forward at eighty, swaying lightly like boxers shifting weight from foot to foot. Cars go faster. Four lanes solid and everybody tailgates and is tailgated. The Highway Patrol pulls over an overambitious BMW in the emergency lane and is promptly rear-ended. The stampede slows, but only for a moment. With one cruiser down and several attending to its rescue, the traffic accelerates as if liberated. Gas pedals thud onto floorboards causing engines to buzz like a flock of airplane-sized hummingbirds. Drivers with angry red faces honk and swerve and swear—furious haste to achieve congested oceanside relaxation.

The metallic flow crests a low hill and courses into a valley, slowing down too late to avoid the notice of the Highway Patrol skulking in the grassy median. Hundreds of pairs of red lights glow, rippling backwards down the freeway. Brakes squeak when, suddenly, the orange and white streak appears. Time decelerates faster than traffic. Hundreds of pairs of panicked eyes shift from the gray cruiser to the streak which is parallel to the car now, bounding frantically across the median. As deer go, it isn't the largest, but it is large enough. Sandwiched between eight lanes of noise and motion and machine-stink, the panicked animal flings itself into the metallic flow without hesitation. Legs extended in both directions, it miraculously gets across the first lane. Then it vanishes in front of a red truck and a motor home. The truck's nose dives and the motorhome kneels like an elephant as hot rubber tires lock and release and lock and release on sizzling asphalt. The thud is audible several cars back, over engines, through ear plugs. Chunks of deer and truck fly into the air, the majority of the animal cartwheeling over the truck and shattering against the blunt face of the RV. The traffic is moving slowly now and the red truck limps off the road. The deer's body lies in the third lane of traffic, its neck twisted around like a corkscrew, vacant eyes staring up at the silhouette of the motorcycle riding around its head. Traffic speeds back up, the motorhome rumbling forward nonplussed.

If, by some freak chance, the deer had survived its sprint, where would it have gone? The beach in Rhode Island? Perhaps a thicket of quiet trees surrounding a parking lot full of clinking, cooling engines.