The Death of an Audi

The Death of an Audi

audi_a4I usually reserve the Black Gate blog strictly for topics related to the genre.  I hope you can forgive a brief trespass on that tradition today, as I celebrate being alive.

This morning I was on IL-47, a single-lane country highway, heading south to Champaign, where I work as a software salesman. At approximately 10:32 a.m. I watched as a fully-loaded 18 wheeler in the northbound lane went into a lock-up to prevent a crash with a stopped car. The truck lost control and twisted across the center meridian until it fully occupied both his lane and mine, still coming very fast and leaving me without a lot of options.

I hit him doing slightly over 60 mph. I’d already gone off-road on the right shoulder, but it wasn’t enough to avoid a collision. The impact triggered four of my Audi’s airbags, including three I didn’t even know I had.  Seriously — there were airbags everywhere.

I took the hit on the driver side. It drove the chassis down into my left rear tire, immobilizing it and sending me into a 60-mph uncontrolled spin — past the truck and back onto the road, then deep into the shoulder on the right. Fortunately the road and the shoulder were both clear. I leveled about 120 feet of grass in a dead line.

I got out of the car without a scratch, for which I thank God, and German engineering.

I can’t say the same about my loyal car, which took a critical hit.  It took ten minutes with a chain and a tow truck just to get it back on the road, and I can’t say for sure if it will ever move under its own power again.

But today, I have absolutely no complaints. I’m just glad to be alive.  Alice and our three kids showed up in her van three hours later, and drove me home to St. Charles, where we went out to dinner and celebrated. I consider myself a very lucky man.

But tomorrow, I will miss my car.

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Holy crap, John! Very glad you’re okay!

Jason T

Don’t know what to say. Wow. I am glad to know that you are okay.


Scary, scary, scary.

Glad you’re okay!

John R. Fultz

As they say in SoCal: “Daaaaaammmmnnnn!”

Glad you’re unscathed, John!

James Enge

Wow. Scary stuff. Glad you’re okay, but I’ll turn down an empty hub-cap today for your heroic Audi.

Matthew David Surridge

Frightening. But I’m happy to hear you’re all right!

Jeff Stehman

I’m glad you’re okay. I said “thank God and the engineers” after seeing my unhurt wife’s totaled car, so I know where you’re coming from.


Glad to hear you’ve unscathed John. I’m sorry the car didn’t fare as well.

Scott Taylor

Wow, must be something in the water, my car was hit yesterday as well, although only the back bumper was destroyed. Glad you are ok, John, that one sounds scary!

Jackson Kuhl

Holy frijoles!

That’s the thing about luxury cars: the best luxury you buy is survival. I hope you march the insurance check straight down to your Audi dealer.

C.S.E. Cooney

Will go through the day with slightly sick feeling in stomach. Could be the heat. We’ll call it the heat. Jeez, John. What you gotta be RAMMIN’ into 18-wheelers for? We already KNOW you’re Superman.

Probably we won’t see you tomorrow for the open mic. And you know what? That’s okay! Because at LEAST we won’t think, “Where’s John? I hope he’s not dead!”

“Not dead,” I will tell them, with utmost solemnity. “Only in St. Charles.”

Hope that effin (as Patty would say) truck had insurance.

Bill Ward

Glad you’re OK John. Make your next car a Mad Max special.

Laurie Tom

That’s scary stuff! Glad to hear you’re all right.


And thus began the canonization of St. Audi of Chicago.

Why on earth would you think this story doesn’t fit on a blog about Adventures in Fantasy? I’d say it was right in the wheelhouse.

Chris Willrich

Your car’s earned its place in Valhalla. (But sure glad you didn’t have to go with it!)


At the risk of sounding like I don’t care if you lived or died, I can’t help but wonder what BG would be like without you O’Neill…and the impact that would have on the mini-revival of Sword + Sorcery.

Glad you survived with the ability and willingness to continue BG, I like your sense of direction.

( I hate Vampires more than you ).

The realisation of your mortality ( don’t get that wrong, I just don’t think about you much as a person, not really ‘sorry’, just a cold fact ) makes me want to start writing again ( I did when I was growing up ), and get published in BG, so I can say ‘I’m an O’Neill era alumnus.’

Anyways…I think I’ll have a coffee royale and one more than my usual 3 boxes of black russians to celebrate you and that teamster not getting reaped.

Sue Granquist

SHEESH!! So glad you’re ok Boss! It would have really sucked for me if dead people suddenly became a politically incorrect topic around here.

Next time, take the Zepplin. I’ll make sure the boys get the beer cans and whip cream cleaned up. And a couple of days with the windows open should take care of that smell no problem.

At least you’ll never find it getting clotheslined by an 18-wheeler.

Glad all is well.

Goth Chick

PS: You DID pick up the check at dinner that night didn’t you?

C.S.E. Cooney

Alfred! You needn’t bring a YEAR’S BEST, because at ReaderCon? This guy at the table where they were selling it? GAVE ME MY TWO CONTRIBUTOR COPIES!!! WHUHOOO!!!

Anyway, we’ll all be SO GLAD TO SEE YOU!!!


Not a scratch?! Remarkable. Glad you are ok.

Dave T

Wasn’t it Spielberg’s first little film called WHITE LINE, or something like that, where the truck kept dogging this guy in his car all over the place, ramming him over and over on the highway? Sounds like John was acting out that movie but without the special effects guys. VBG

Seriously, John, VERY glad you’re okay. But no acting out any more Spielberg movies, okay? (At least not in a frickin’ Audi for chrissakes!)

Kerstan Szczepanski

John, happy to hear you’re ok and glad your Audi had all those airbags you didn’t know about!


Glad you’re ok!


Phew! And thank goodness…

Jeff Stehman

> I know what you mean! And wow – what happened to your poor wife?

Rear-ended in a hit-n-run. She saw him coming just before he hit and started evasive maneuvers. When the tow-truck driver showed up he said, “Cool! How’d you get it there?”

“That’s where it came to a stop.”



Do you remember that Amazing Stories mini-movie about the B-17 bomber crew during WWII who couldn’t get the landing gear down or the ball turret gunner out and how were going to have to crush him just to crash land, but fortunately he was a cartoonist?

I picture the Audi performing such a Spielbergian miracle with the airbags and such.

Obviously, I’ve been thinking about you since yesterday. Good news is worth revisiting.

Cynthia Ward

Glad you came through that unscathed, John.

I thought my SO had a close shave when a semi cab flew through the air and landed right in front of his pickup. But he wasn’t actually hit (or vice-versa).

Take care.

Ah, good to see you saw my calls John. I’d hate to think of your poor phone totaled by the insurance company. That’s nigh irreplaceable. 😉 Well wishes my friend!

Ryan Harvey

Great to hear you’re all right. The Germans sure know how to design safety features.

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