Lesson 12 Like a Bat out of Hell
Officer: So, I see we’ve got a little fender bender here.
Mr. Randall: You can say that again.
Officer: Can you tellme what happened?
Mr. Randall: Well,we were coming out of the tollbooths, and this guy comes barreling out behind Mrs. Jessup here. I noticed he had been riding her tail for miles.
Mrs. Jessup: Yeah, I have to admit I was rubbernecking a little at the other accident, the one that happened right in front of the tollbooths.
Mr. Randall: And the other guy wasn’t expecting it, or he didn’t like it. He sped up to go around Mrs. Jessup, and then he tried to pull in front of her to cut her off. He ended up sideswiping Mrs. Jessup. And I guess he didn’t see me coming up from behind because he swerved back into my lane. I must have been in his blind spot. I slammed on the brakes, but I ended up nailing him from behind anyway.Mrs. Jessup and I pulled over and so did he at first. Then we got out of our cars to swap information, but the other guy was gone like a bat out of hell.
Officer: What about you,ma’am? Can you tellme what happened?
Mrs. Jessup: That seems to cover it.What he said is about right.
Officer: So, you’re both telling me this was a hit and run. Did either of you manage to get his license plate number?
Mrs. Jessup: I did. Here you go.
Officer: Well, lucky for you Mr. Randall, because you might have been charged for damages to this guy’s car . . . but because he took off from the scene of the accident, you won’t be held responsible.
Mr. Randall: That’s a relief. I thought I was looking at a lawsuit.
Officer: If you give me a minute, I’ll just radio this in so we can track him down.
Mr. Randall: When you get him, I won’t have any problems giving him a piece of my mind.
Mrs. Jessup: And I won’t lose any sleep over taking him to the cleaners for my car. It was brand new.
Officer: Well, I wouldn’t count my chickens before they hatch,
Mrs. Jessup. If you expect compensation, you might be barking up the wrong tree. In many of these cases, the perpetrators run because they are usually caught up in other illegal dealings or because they don’t have insurance.
Mrs. Jessup: Fantastic.He could have totaled my car!
Officer: Well, at least no one is hurt. It could have been a lot worse. You two sit tight for amoment, and I’ll have you right out of here and back on the road in no time.
1. Fender bender. A car accident that causes minimal damage, usually only to the front or back bumpers.
2. To barrel out of somewhere. To leave somewhere very quickly, usually with little attention to your surroundings.Notice that you may also hear barrel up, barrel down, barrel along, barrel in, etc.
3. To ride someone’s tail. To follow someone at an uncomfortably close or dangerous distance.Notice that this expression doesn’t necessarily have to be used for driving only.
4. To rubber neck. To drive slowly past the scene of an accident while turning your neck to see what happened.
5. To speed up. To accelerate.
6. To cut someone off. To pass in front of someone very closely and prevent them from moving ahead.
7. To sideswipe someone. To hit someone with the side edge of something.
8. To come up frombehind. To approach someone from behind. Notice that you can also say come up from the side, come up frombelow, etc.
9. Blind spot. A part of someone’s field of vision that is obstructed, so that things in this area cannot be seen.
10. To slamon the brakes. To press the brake pedal in a car forcefully and suddenly.
11. To nail someone. To hit or do damage to someone.
12. To pull over. To drive one’s car to the side of the road in order to stop.
13. To swap information. To exchange names, phone numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance company information, especially after a car accident.
14. Like a bat out of hell.Moving in a fast and almost crazy manner.
15. Hit and run. A car accident where the person responsible for the accident leaves the scene before the police arrive.
16. To take off. To leave quickly.
17. To be looking at. To be in a position to expect something.
18. To track someone down. To find someone by following clues.
19. To give someone a piece of your mind. To give someone your opinion about himor her or something he or she has done. Usually it is a negative and harshly critical opinion.
20. To lose sleep over something. To worry about something. To feel upset or guilty about something.
21. To take someone to the cleaners. To fight for economic compensation until the other person has no more money left.
22. To count your chickens before they hatch. To depend on a beneficial or positive future event as if it were certain, even though it may not happen.
23. To bark up the wrong tree. To be seeking something from the wrong source. To be asking for something froma source that cannot or will not provide it.
24. To be caught up in something. To be involved in something wrong, illegal, or unethical.
25. To total a car. To inflict damages that, if repaired,would cost more than the value of the car.
26. To sit tight. To wait, to be patient.
Source: Easy American Idioms