[Ed. note: I couldn’t write it at the time, but this was my experience just after an interview at the Detroit News. Not an experience you want to haunt an interview.]
“You see that?” The Detroit cabbie said as I got back into the car.
I had asked him to go to an ATM after getting into the cab. He had hand-drawn cartoons posted on the dividing window that indicated credit was extended only to passengers older than age 65 traveling with grandparents. He later admitted that he’d drawn them.
We pulled into a Bank One parking lot a few bumpy blocks away, and I pushed the door open and walked up to the ATM booth. Because the door to the booth was locked, I went inside the bank.
“Is there another ATM? This one’s locked,” I said to the tellers inside.
“It’s a security door,” one replied. “Just slide your card.”
Back outside, I slid the card through the slot, and the door buzzed like the entrance to an apartment building. I pulled and felt the sun-warmed air rush at me from inside.
I slid my card again, punched my code and withdrew $60 – cursing under my breath at the $2 service fee.
Back in the leatherette seat, I craned my neck to the left and right to see what held his attention. From where I sat in the rear passenger side of the car, I saw nothing.
He eased the cab back about 10 feet, pulling out from the parking stall in an arc, and looked behind his left shoulder. I followed his glance.
Laid out across the parking lot, chin down, sat the head of a deer. But wait, it gets more gruesome. The length of the unfortunate doe’s sun-baked spine trailed from the head.
“What the HELL?” tumbled from my mouth. “How on earth does that happen? I mean, hunting season is in, like, October or November, isn’t it?” I groped for sane justifications as we struck toward the DTW airport, and failed to reach any.
Poachers? Belle Isle, not three or four miles away, has a deer herd. (Other than that deer are rare in the downtown, I suspect.) But, why would a poacher dump only part of a carcass? And why in a bank parking lot? Did a strange cult butcher it in a bizarre ritual? Where’s the rest of her?
No explanation could quite get at the obtuseness of the scene. The cabbie shrugged it off, but listened patiently as it sank in for me. I changed the subject, but couldn’t – and still can’t – subdue it in the back of my head.
At the departure terminal curb, he handed my bag to me from the trunk. I paid him, and turned to walk into the building. Remembering the receipt, I dashed back. “Jerry” he signed the ticket, along with the date and amount, and handed it to me.
I dragged the suitcase inside, wondering if the sight Jerry and I shared showed a twisted bit of bad mojo.
Then again, it might just be Detroit.