I've seen countless dead bodies, violent car wrecks, used needles, bullet casings, bloody clothing, gun shot victims, stabbing victims, boat accident victims, maimed limbs, teeth on a sidewalk, prostitutes in their "element", public official meltdowns, and I've even been attacked by a dog while shooting a story. (I subsequently had to endure the entire series of rabies vaccines that followed said dog attack, but that's a story for another day.)
Nothing, and I mean NOTHING could have prepared me for the chance encounter I had this past Sunday - one that will forever be burned into my cerebral regions until the day I die. While covering a fatal car accident, the frames of video between flashing lights and caution tape began to blur and I was growing weary.
My reporter and I had wrapped our live shot for 10 and were awaiting the 11 o'clock hit, when I sat down on a piece of curb in a vacant parking lot in one of Charlotte's fancier suburbs. As I waxed poetic about my day on the phone to my smokin' hot wife, I heard a rustle in the leaves about 5 feet from me. The soft glow of my gel covered omni lights caught the object in question just right - it's beady eyes shined like two freshly minted Lincoln head pennies in the beams of my 3 point lighting... It was hairy, it was ugly, and it looked like a 30 pound football with legs... It was a possum, and it hissed at me... loudly.
|(Not the actual possum, but you get the idea)|
What happened next is still a blur, and is quickly becoming the crux of an urban legend that's been retold in my neck of the woods, but all I remember is screaming like a 13 year old girl who'd just been dumped, running back towards my live truck - the longest 30 yards of my life - tripping over an extension cord, & having my reporter & my wife simultaneously request the cause of all my dismay.
Upon gathering my faculties, catching my breath, explaining myself to them both, and then checking my underwear, I paused and had a brief laugh at the whole incident. But rest assured dear reader... This photographer will never, ever, ever ever ever ever ever, turn his back on a dimly lit church parking lot in Charlotte suburbia again. You can bet good money on that.
And thank God I got those rabies vaccines when I did...