One very early morning, in the fall of 1971, a State Trooper was out patrolling countryside I-89. It was about 3 AM and the interstate lay quietly upon the earth like twin satin grey ribbons put down side by side. Through crystal clear skies, the full moon lit the countryside as brightly as a cloudy day, except all the colors were some shade of black, white, or dark/light grey. The cool night air, forming cold mists in the bottoms of the valleys, blew through the cruiser’s open window, carrying with it the din of crickets and frogs as he sped by.
Beautiful nights like this I can feel… a part of everything.
Since he was the only one out in both directions, he decided to experiment by turning off the headlights… the feeling of traveling in another world was well worth the potential damage.
Just once… Like driving on some other planet or in a different dimension. Spaceship… Yeah right, more like space rookie.
About a mile up ahead he saw a vehicle. Then the flash of two red brakelights. On. Off. Then nothing.
Better turn on the headlights… Now let’s take a look.
VW microbus. Stopped. Both dome lights on. Appear to be some people moving around inside. Out of state plates.
The landscape flared into an eerie grey/red/grey/red as he turned on the flashing light. Since the VW was not in motion, he left the siren off and slowed to a stop behind the vehicle. The occupants did not appear to notice.
Sounds like ‘White Rabbit’.
The Trooper stepped out of his cruiser and slowly walked up to the driver’s side door.
Looks like 5 young adults – 3 males, 2 females. Hippies. Could be refugees from that concert up in Montpelier.
He aimed his flashlight at the male closest to the driver’s seat, “Whoa! Shit man, it’s the man. Hey man! That light is kinda bright man.”
Obviously startled & stoned. Great. And now they’re all tuned in. Best to keep this low-key.
“Evenin’ sir. Are you the driver of this vehicle?”
Head bobs up and down. Sure got quiet in there.
“Is everything OK in there?”
Five heads bob up and down a couple times.
“Uh, yeah man, we were tired so we figured we’d stop for the night.”
They *are* trying to do the right thing.
“Well that *is* a good idea, sir… to not drive… if you’re over tired. But first I’d like you to do something for me.”
“Sure man, what’s that?”
Cooperative so far. A good sign.
“Well… I’d like you to start this vehicle up and proceed down this road about a mile or two (that way) until you come to a rest area. Pull in there and you’ll be able to get a good rest. OK? There’s even a bathroom.”
“Oh, uh, yeah man, sure. OK.”
Not getting it.
“You’re probably wondering why I’m asking you to drive on further when you’re so tired?”
Heads bob up and down.
“Well… you see this highway?”
Bobbing gets more enthusiastic.
“And you see these white lines?”
Still bobbing. Seem eager to go along.
“Well… What do you suppose they mean?”
Five openly confused expressions. Tell us?
“Well… white lines mark out the driving lanes on a highway. Remember?”
A glimmer of light begins to dawn in a couple pairs of eyes.
“And your vehicle is parked between two of these lines…”
Up and down go the heads, all together. Bob, bob. Uh huh. Uh huh. But they still don’t get it.
“Now if you’ll look, you can see that there are lines over here….”
All heads look down. Bob. Uh huh. Good, they got that part OK.
“Annnd… there are more lines over there on the other side of your vehicle.”
The heads turn as one to look.
“So what do you suppose that means?”
All together now… Heads turn back. Five quizzical expressions. Poor messed up souls. Go easy on ’em.
“It means that this vehicle is parked here…”
Mental processes jump spark… Synapses fire…
“…at night… with no lights…”
We have ignition…
“…in the middle lane of an interstate highway.”