Dream of: 23 May 1995 "Fried Chicken"
Although I was serving time in a prison, I was still free to drive around the town where I was living. I had a pickup truck which stood high off the ground – so high I sometimes couldn't see well what was right in front of me. I had one area I liked to drive around. It was just a single block with a stop sign at every corner. With two fellows sitting as passengers with me in the truck, I slowly drove around the block again and again.
As I slowly pulled up to one stop sign and was just about to stop, out of the corner of my eye I saw something dash in front of the left side of the truck. Too late to stop, I heard the left front of the truck hit something, and then heard a crush, as if I had run over whatever it was. I quickly stopped and saw a man run to the front of my truck and pick up something. When he held it up, I saw it was a small, blonde-haired girl probably three or four years old. As he brought her around to my window of the truck, I saw that she was conscious and that she appeared unharmed. Obviously I had just barely tapped her, and I hadn't run over her with the wheel after all. However, I knew she might still be injured in some way, and thought she must immediately be taken to the hospital.
I was in a room with perhaps ten other people who were discussing driving habits, and what were the safest ways to drive. Several of the people were old women probably in their 60s. I only listened to what was said and I didn't say anything myself. I was afraid if I said something, it might be used against me concerning the accident I had had with the little girl.
I felt the accident had been completely the fault of the little girl. I had been traveling under the speed limit and she had run out in front of me before I had been able to stop. The only thing I could see that I could be accused of was driving left of center. The street hadn't had a marked center line, and therefore it was customary when there were no oncoming cars to simply drive in the middle of the narrow street. However, technically, I knew this might be used against me.
The topic of discussion turned to the best way to approach a stop sign. The question was whether it was better to rush up to the sign and hurry through it, or whether it was better to approach it as slowly as possible. For the first time I decided to speak up since I was sure I knew the answer to this question. I asserted it was better to rush up to the sign as quickly as possible and hurry through it; that way a pedestrian would have less time to step in front of the car and be hit. I immediately wondered whether I should have spoken or whether I should have just kept my mouth shut.
A question concerning insurance then came up. I knew a state law mandated that a person who drove a car must be able to prove financial responsibility. Most people thought that meant a person must have liability insurance. I however knew it wasn't necessary to have liability insurance if a person could prove he or she had the financial resources to pay for an accident.
A woman (about 30 years old) came into the room and walked over to me. I immediately realized that she was an attorney representing the little girl and that she had come to discuss the case with me. I also quickly realized the woman was inexperienced in the field of auto accidents, and I thought I might be able to use that to my advantage.
As we talked, the subject of insurance arose, and I admitted I didn't have liability insurance. However, without saying as much, I led her to believe I had filled out the proper papers to prove I was financially responsible, even though I hadn't actually done so.
Although I hadn't filled out the papers, I knew that I was financially responsible, and that my main problem was that I actually did have considerable assets which were vulnerable in case of a lawsuit against me. I needed to divert attention from those assets. Finally I pulled out a black, metal plaque about the size of a license plate which I had taken off my truck. I handed it to the woman, implying this would somehow solve the problem. She smiled and accepted the plaque, obviously unsure of what it meant. However, I knew nothing had been resolved, and as she left I knew the problem still remained.
I didn't have to wait long for the next step.
Another man dressed in suit and tie walked into the room. I quickly recognized the man as Ramey, my high school friend whom I hadn't seen in many years. I saw that he was now a lawyer and that he was representing the little girl. As we greeted each other and sat down to talk, I could tell he was considerably more experienced than the woman had been. I wouldn't be able pull the wool over his eyes as I had done with the woman.
I thought instead I might simply make him an offer to settle the case. I thought that $20,000 would be a reasonable offer and that we might be able to quickly wrap the matter up. I quickly discarded the idea of making the offer. Instead I decided not to show my hand, and wait to see what kind of offer he would make. I might be able to get off for even less than $20,000.
Meanwhile we turned our attention to the table in front of us. Sitting in the middle of the table was a dish stacked up with fried chicken. We decided to play a game with the chicken. We would take one piece of chicken and move it around the other pieces, jumping over the pieces like on a checker board. As I looked over the dish, I saw a move where I could jump over five pieces of chicken, going in a circle and coming back to the place where I had originally started. It looked like a good move.
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